Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Anatomy of 55 More Songs

The Oral History of Top Hits That Changed Rock, Pop and Soul

by Marc Myers

Following his 2016 smash hit Anatomy of a Song, acclaimed music journalist Marc Myers collects fifty-five new oral histories of iconic songs from his popular Wall Street Journal column

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 416
  • Publication Date December 05, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6126-0
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $18.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 384
  • Publication Date December 06, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6020-1
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date December 06, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6021-8
  • US List Price $27.00

Songs that sell the most copies become hits, but some of those hits become something more—iconic recordings that not only inspire a generation but also change the direction of music. In Anatomy of 55 More Songs, based on his column for the Wall Street Journal, music journalist and historian Marc Myers tells the story behind fifty-five rock, pop, R&B, country, and soul-gospel hits through intimate interviews with the artists who wrote and recorded them.

Part oral history, part musical analysis, Anatomy of 55 More Songs ranges from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” to Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By,” The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” and Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.” Bernie Taupin recalls how he wrote the lyrics to Elton John’s “Rocket Man;” Joan Jett remembers channeling her rage against how she had been unfairly labeled and treated as a female rocker into “Bad Reputation;” and Ozzy Osbourne, Elvis Costello, Bob Weir, Sheryl Crow, Alice Cooper, Roberta Flack, John Mellencamp, Keith Richards, Carly Simon, and many others reveal the emotions and technique behind their major works.

Through an absorbing chronological, song-by-song analysis of the most memorable post-war hits, Anatomy of 55 More Songs provides a sweeping look at the evolution of pop music between 1964 and today. This book will change how you listen to music and evaluate the artists who create it.

Praise for Anatomy of 55 More Songs:

“Entertaining tidbits and insights infuse the second volume of Marc Myers’s eclectic array of musical hits, with singers, composers, lyricists, and producers delving into the backstories of some of the most recognizable, impactful songs of the 20th century… One of the real joys here is in the way that those interviewed are so expressive and generous with their unalloyed admiration for fellow artists… ‘Anatomy’ is an enjoyable musical interlude — you inevitably sing the songs in your head as you read these stories. It would also, by the way, make one hell of a mixtape.”—Daneet Steffens, Boston Globe

“Highly, entertainingly readable.”—L. Kent Wolgamott, Lincoln Journal Star

“Myers has a knack for capturing the artistry of songwriting and easily shows why these tracks are ‘iconic but not tired.’ This melodic collection will strike a chord with music fans.”—Publishers Weekly

“Extending his well-received Anatomy of a Song to a second volume of entries culled mostly from his Wall Street Journal column, Myers says he looks for iconic ‘but not tired’ hits, tunes that influenced pop music, and songs ‘with corners that long puzzled readers,’ like, say, the mentor Kenny Rogers envisions when singing ‘The Gambler’: Ray Charles.… These songs are still shared by billions worldwide, and Myers adds important context by interviewing and extensively quoting the principal artists, composers, and producers.”—Booklist

Anatomy of 55 More Songs is a fantastic addition to any music lover’s library.”—Glide Magazine

“Insightful… Myers blends research and personal interviews with artists, songwriters, arrangers, producers, and others to create an appealing mix of pop music classics… Each entry begins with a crisp black-and-white photo of the song’s artist, and, like an album’s liner notes, pieces that provide context and the backstory for each selected song. Pop-music fans of a certain age will enjoy this collection and might even use it as a playlist.”—Library Journal

Wall Street Journal arts writer Myers continues his explorations of the kind of popular music that turns from melody to earworm… Myers does a fine job of getting behind the hits…The narrative contains plenty of joy, discontentment… and even newfound respect.… With snippets of business, creativity, techno-wizardry, and raw emotion, a pleasure for music fans.”—Kirkus Reviews

“These are engaging narratives that are dressed up with offbeat trivia that will make you the star conversationalist of any cocktail party.”—Sal Cataldi, NYSmusic.com

Praise for Marc Myers and Anatomy of a Song:

“In these pieces… songwriters and performers speak in their own voices… Because of Myers’s skill as an interviewer, their pride and enthusiasm come blasting through. Each story is a pleasure to read and will deepen your listening experience… Myers bears down hard on these songs and the artists rise to the standards he sets.”—New York Times Book Review

“A first-rate playlist… A rich history of both the music industry and the baby boomer era.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Marc Myers’s Anatomy of a Song [is] 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

“[A] splendid volume.”—Guardian

“A music lover’s dream book.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

Anatomy of a Song… reads like a dream karaoke playlist. Not a dud in sight.”—Huffington Post

“Who would’ve ever guessed the inspiration behind Gladys Knight’s soul-stirring ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ was ‘70s pinup queen Farrah Fawcett? That’s just one of the fascinating song histories revealed in the new book Anatomy of a Song.”—New York Post

“The short, sharp chapters breeze by like a particularly well-curated jukebox… Fast, fun and informative.”—Houston Press

“The most revealing and entertaining compilation of short stories on popular music we have seen this decade.”—Goldmine

Anatomy of A Song… gets the lowdown on about forty years of hits straight from the artists’ mouths… It’s always cool to hear how the musical sausage gets made, especially when it’s made by geniuses in the field. But Myers also does an outstanding job of unearthing the moments of humor and heartbreak that accompanied the creation of these songs.”—American Songwriter

“Myers… uncovers the fascinating backstories behind many legendary songs that changed the trajectory of music… Culling together anecdotal revelations about happy accidents, deliberately vague lyrical choices and unexpected lapses of confidence, the book manages to both demystify and humanize so many of its iconic subjects… Filled with surprises for music fans and aspiring songwriters alike.”—BMI Music

“Who doesn’t like to listen to musicians tell their stories about the genesis of a song? Or to hear them laugh at the deep meaning that listeners often invest in it when for them it was, well, just a song about a breakup? Myers’ book has something for everyone”—No Depression

“The critical ability of Marc Myers shows in his selection of topics and his persistence in hunting down the right people to talk about their songs. But his talent as a writer shows in his willingness to get out of the way and let them talk about their songs… Myers pushes his subjects to recollect what had really happened that day in the studio, that moment when the song first came to mind, that instant when the radio began to play it.”—Washington Free Beacon

“Countless fun facts dot Anatomy of a Song.”—Billboard

“Myers’ book succeeds as a collection because he reveals the paradox of popular music: the magical change that transpires once the personal becomes public… Perhaps the greatest gift of Anatomy of a Song is its range… This is a book that encourages you to go back into your record collection, to the hits you think you remember well.”—Las Vegas Weekly

“Myers’… work is archival. It is important. It is illuminating.”—Under the Radar

“A detailed look at 45 iconic popular songs… This will entice general readers and music lovers alike. In his introduction, Myers calls the book an ‘oral history jukebox’ and popular-music fans everywhere will want to be ready with a pocketful of dimes.”—Booklist

“A compelling compendium of behind-the-scenes shop talk that will excite even the most casual music geek.”—Bookreporter

“A cultural history of the elusive hit single, focused on artists’ recollections and studio alchemy… The book’s strength lies in thoughtful, wry reflections from artists including Elvis Costello, Jimmy Cliff, Stevie Wonder, Booker T. Jones, Dr. John, and Debbie Harry. An entertaining record of the soundtrack of the baby boomer era.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Music fans will enjoy the behind-the-songs stories.”—Publishers Weekly