Download Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop Audiobook

Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop Audiobook, by Marc Myers Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Marc Myers Narrator: Jonathan Yen Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2016 ISBN: 9781681683157
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Part artist confessional, part musical analysis, Anatomy of a Song ranges from the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” to Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz” to R.E.M.‘s “Losing My Religion.”

After being discharged from the army in 1968, John Fogerty does a handstand and revises Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to come up with “Proud Mary.” Joni Mitchell remembers living in a cave on Crete with the “mean old daddy” who inspired her 1971 hit “Carey.” Elvis Costello talks about writing “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” in ten minutes on the train to Liverpool. Mick Jagger, Jimmy Cliff, Roger Waters, Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, and many other leading artists reveal for the first time the emotions, inspirations, and techniques behind their influential works.

Covering the history of rock, R&B, country, disco, soul, reggae, and pop, Anatomy of a Song is a love letter to the songs that have defined generations of listeners.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A winning look at the stories behind 45 pop, punk, folk, soul and country classics A smart, gracious book. His interviews yield some fascinating details.”

    Washington Post

  • "Reads like a dream karaoke playlist. Not a dud in sight.”

    Huffington Post

  • “A music lover’s dream book.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Oral histories are ideal audiobook material. Jonathan Yen energetically takes the listener on a journey into Myers’s list of 45 popular songs released between 1952 and 1991 that changed musical history. Yen has a verve and approachability that is reminiscent of Kasey Kasem counting down the hits. Radio play was everything! Each song is placed in its cultural and historical context, followed by interviews of key players. Yen makes it easy to make the transition from context to oral history, and he, thankfully, does not try to take on hundreds of accents. There are lots of fascinating factoids—Gladys Knight’s classic began as “Midnight Train to Houston”; Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz” was a poem. It’s the nature of the thing to wonder at the omissions of the Beatles, Springsteen, Queen, Dylan, and countless others.”


  • Amazon Best Book of the Month

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About the Author

Marc Myers is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, where he writes about rock, soul, and jazz, as well as the arts. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Why Jazz Happened and posts daily at, a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association’s award for Blog of the Year.

About the Narrator

Jonathan Yen is a commercial voice-over artist and Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. He was inspired by the Golden Age of Radio, and while the gold was gone by the time he got there, he has carried that inspiration through to commercial work, voice acting, and stage productions. From vintage Howard Fast science fiction to naturalist Paul Rosolie’s true adventures in the Amazon, he loves to tell a good story.