Anatomy of 55 More Songs: The Oral History of Top Hits that Changed Rock, Pop and Soul

Marc Myers's follow-up to Anatomy of a Song collects 55 additional oral histories of songs that are both beloved and iconic. Each of the profiled songs are arranged chronologically. Myers (Rock Concert) first places the song's impact within its genre and shares its importance to the artist or group who recorded it. For the second part of each oral history, Myers interviews musicians, composers, producers and others who tell the story of each song's development and creation. The songs profiled range in date from 1964 (Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By" and Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Streets") to 1996 (Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy").

Joan Jett recalls "Bad Reputation" being written in a rage when--after her first group, the Runaways, disbanded--record labels were wary of her bad-girl image. Blondie cofounders Debbie Harry and Chris Stein remember adding a rap to "Rapture" in 1980. "Rap was an anomaly then," Stein notes. "It hadn't become mainstream." Discussing the difference between performing the song "Truckin'" live and recording in a studio, the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir says: "This is one of the reasons why we famously didn't make good studio records. We played too goddamn loud in there." Myers's interviews offer a wealth of fun and illuminating anecdotes for songs, including The Band's "The Weight," T. Rex's "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," Elton John's "Rocket Man," Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly with His Song," The Spinners' "I'll Be Around" and The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations."

Audiophiles will love this tasty collection of oral histories of great songs, told by those who created them. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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