record and artist covered, I examine - in non-technical speak - the
melody and arrangement, lyrics and the picture they and the artist vocal paint; the
recording, mixing and production (what does a producer do, anyway?), and every
piece of the puzzle that helps the record grab us by some portion of the anatomy, above
and/or below the waist, every time we hear it.
In addition, I look at factors including the
artists personality and image, timing of the original release, and how these and
marketing turned an already-great record into one of the songs that defines its time, the
ones we return to out of all the other big hits that came and went.
To my knowledge, no one has ever tried to put all
this together in straightforward language for general rock-lovers. There is a bit of more technical
musical and studio stuff here and there, as some songs and records are more sophisticated
But anyone who knows their Do, re, mis
from The Sound of Music, or reads Rolling Stone interviews
with artists and producers, is familiar with the most complex terms and concepts in the
book. If not, just skip ahead.
By the way, Berklee
Press went to the unheard of trouble and expense to obtain permission for us to
reproduce complete or partial lyrics for many of the
records discussed, from the Beatles thru Tracy Chapman.
Other larger and more famous publishers shivered at the thought of buying all those
rights, but I really thought they were necessary, and having them is a breakthrough for a
book about rock. For those of you who really care about lyrics,
this is a BIG benefit. And they are transcribed
as-sung, not cleaned up to fit or flatter the artists grown-up image.
There are also some fifty inteviews published when the records discussed came out (rather
than rosy hindsight ah, yes, we were all heroes then pieces by artists trying
to make sense or define their legacy). If I am at all typical at age 54, memory fails
concerning just how I created this sound, wrote that lyric or edited three takes together,
so in terms of examining exactly how the Police got that drum sound, or how
Tina revealed everything in that vocal, best rely on what they said then
and there when they did it, not here and now. All kinds of
soon-never-to-be-seen-again stuff from Rolling Stone, Melody Maker (U.K.), Cash
Box , Stereophile, Musician, High Fidelity, Modern Drummer, and record industry
trade mags like Mix, Studio Sound, Recording Engineer/Producer... are in
I.T.H., unvarnished and real.
Featuring the music of:
The Beach Boys
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
The Doobie Brothers
The Lovin' Spoonful
The Pointer Sisters
The Rolling Stones
Paul SimonSteely Dan & Donald Fagen
intro | inside | Berklee
Press | home