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The Seduction of a Rock And Roll Generation

inside the hitsauthorberklee press

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How does a song become more than words and music to represent or influence the voice of a generation? Inside the Hits dissects more than sixty of the most powerful and memorable hit songs since the birth of rock and roll to reveal the roots of their success.

"Reading Inside the Hits was like reliving some of the most memorable moments in rock and roll. A captivating read for industry professionals and fans alike."

Phil Ramone, Eight-Time Grammy Award Winning Music Producer


For each 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 artist’s 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 than others.

But anyone who knows their “Do, re, mi’s” 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 artist’s “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:

Frankie Avalon
The Beach Boys
The Beatles
Pat Benatar
Buffalo Springfield
The Byrds
Tracy Chapman
The Contours
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
The Doobie Brothers
The Doors
The Eagles
The Flamingos
Aretha Franklin
Herman's Hermits

Michael Jackson
The Kinks
The Knack
The Lovin' Spoonful
Robbie Nevil
Roy Orbison
The Pointer Sisters
The Police
Elvis Presley

The Rolling Stones
The Searchers
The Shirelles
Paul SimonSteely Dan & Donald Fagen
Ray Stevens
Donna Summer
The Temptations
The Troggs
Tina Turner
The Turtles
Dionne Warwick
Stevie Wonder
The Yardbirds
Paul Young
The Zombies

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