Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Rock Concert

An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There

by Marc Myers

A lively, entertaining, wide-ranging oral history of the golden age of the rock concert based on over ninety interviews with musicians, promoters, stagehands, and others who contributed to the huge cultural phenomenon that is live rock

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 320
  • Publication Date December 06, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5792-8
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $18.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 320
  • Publication Date November 09, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5791-1
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $30.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date November 09, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5793-5
  • US List Price $30.00

Decades after the rise of rock music in the 1950s, the rock concert retains its allure and its power as a unifying experience—and as an influential multi-billion-dollar industry. In Rock Concert, acclaimed interviewer Marc Myers sets out to uncover the history of this compelling phenomenon, weaving together ground-breaking accounts from the people who were there.

Myers combines the tales of icons like Joan Baez, Ian Anderson, Alice Cooper, Steve Miller, Roger Waters, and Angus Young with figures such as the disc jockeys who first began playing rock on the radio, like Alan Freed in Cleveland and New York; the audio engineers that developed new technologies to accommodate ever-growing rock audiences; music journalists, like Rolling Stone’s Cameron Crowe; and the promoters who organized it all, like Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock, to create a rounded and vivid account of live rock’s stratospheric rise.

Rock Concert provides a fascinating, immediate look at the evolution of rock ’n’ roll through the lens of live performances —spanning from the rise of R&B in the 1950s, through the hippie gatherings of the ’60s, to the growing arena tours of the ’70s and ’80s. Elvis Presley’s gyrating hips, the British Invasion that brought the Beatles in the ’60s, the Grateful Dead’s free-flowing jams, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall are just a few of the defining musical acts that drive this rich narrative. Featuring dozens of key players in the history of rock and filled with colorful anecdotes, Rock Concert will speak to anyone who has experienced the transcendence of live rock.

Praise for Rock Concert:

Rock Concert tracks the growth of rock-and-roll audiences across the United States from small, dynamic shows after World War II to the televised double-stadium spectacle of Live Aid.”—Washington Post

Rock Concert is a honest, introspective book about a business badly in need of people of Myers’s caliber to ensure that the history of the live music business is preserved in compelling works of history.”—Billboard

“This revealing, nicely crafted account of rock performers from Bill Haley and His Comets to Pink Floyd will appeal greatly to nostalgic rock fans.”—New York Journal of Books

“A rounded and vivid account of live rock’s stratospheric rise.”—Record Collector News

“The evolution of the rock concert over the fifty or so years the book covers is remarkable. Its role in people’s lives as a right of passage is undeniable.”—Music in SF

“Where the book really excels however, is Myer’s ability to understand what the key moments are and hone in on them.”—Atwood Magazine

“Told in a multitude of voices from people who did the work, sang the songs, catered to the stars, played the records, or knew somebody who did, this book brings back so many memories that you may be tempted to stand on your chair and hold your lighter aloft. Stories that tell a tale of evolution — both in music and in culture — are here, but author Marc Myers packs those tales with and between little-known anecdotes and trivial occurrences that concert-goers, DJs, fans, and music-lovers will relish. Your inner rebellious-teen will thank you for reading this book, and your real-life teenage music fan will like it, too. For both of you, Rock Concert will light up your eyes.”—Daily Jefferson County Union

“With his new book Rock Concert, veteran journalist Marc Myers has marshalled an army to tell the free-wheeling story of the growth of this entertainment staple. Like Legs McNeil’s punk history classic, Please Kill Me and Frank Mastropolo’s recent, Fillmore East: The Venue That Changed Rock History, Myers’ book is a well-ordered oral history weaving through decades of fascinating facts and anecdotes.”—NYS Music

“If your partner loves rock, gift them this book. Or, read it yourself and then impress them with your in-depth knowledge of the history of rock concerts.”—The Zoe Report

“‘You had to be there.’ This account of the rise and evolution of rock through the lens of live performances that brings in DJs, performers, and music journalists takes you there to supply the context and legacy.”—Globe and Mail

“Highly informative…from club gigs in the early 1950s to The Beatles in the early-mid 1960s; from Woodstock in 1969 to Live Aid in 1985; from branding to amplification/lighting; from media coverage to ticketing, Myers and many industry commentators expertly tick them off, one by one.”—Irish Times

“Though its scope and subject matter is wide, Rock Concert is one of the best books on music to come out recently, and its pure first-person, direct quote narrative is the ideal format to tell the story…. Every page offers a new revelation.”—Houston Press

“Entertaining. . . Myers’ book is not a simple hagiography of rock concerts; it’s a story of the development of the rock concert itself, from the 1950s to the 1980s. . . . Reading Myers’ anatomy of a rock concert (his earlier book is Anatomy of a Song) is bound to carry readers back to their memories of their favorite concerts and to encourage them to consider why those memories are so enduring.”—No Depression

“Live performances—and plenty of them—have gone a long way to boost rock ’n’ roll’s popularity over the decades. There are also an increasing number of books about rock stars past and present, but few to none have viewed rock’s burgeoning appeal exclusively through the lens of live performance. Rock Concert by music journalist and historian Marc Myers aims to fill that void and does so with considerable insight and aplomb…Music fans of any age and genre will find a lot of insightful information here. Whether it makes you long for rock ’n’ roll’s good old days—including Woodstock’s now historic mudslide—will depend on your own experiences and the memories Myers’ text arouses.”—Milwaukee Shepherd Express

“Myers deftly weaves a compelling narrative that documents decades of music and cultural history…This book places the live concert in context with the broader story of popular music; its insider perspectives have an immediacy that will appeal to a broad swath of music fans.”—Library Journal

“In Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There, music writer Marc Myers (Anatomy of a Song) gathers insights from nearly 100 people who have had something to do with making live rock happen over the years. Collectively, their observations tell the story of the rock concert—Angus Young’s shorts and all.”—Shelf Awareness

“Providing excellent context, [Myers has] assembled a narrative whose themes include politics, geography, economics, class, and race, as well as the music itself. And while he necessarily covers familiar territory—the Elvis phenomenon, Dylan plugging in, Woodstock, Altamont—he comes at those watershed episodes from fresh angles, as we hear throughout from promoters, fashion designers, roadies, photographers, and so on… The oral-history approach can be a kick when the voices are engaging, as they frequently are in Rock Concert.”—Air Mail

“Engrossing… Starting with the emergence of R&B in the late 1940s and ending with 1985’s Live Aid benefit, [Myers] vividly recreates what went on behind the scenes, onstage, and in the crowds with intimate accounts from the people who were there… Eminently entertaining, this is sure to delight rock fans of all persuasions.”—Publishers Weekly

“A multifaceted account of the rise of the rock show from the birth of the genre until Live Aid in 1985… A revealing, absorbing book for those who keep their old ticket stubs close at hand.”—Kirkus Reviews

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