What links Lead Belly, Lonnie Donegan and Black Betty? Whose gravestone inspired Phil Spector’s first hit? And for which song did Johnny Rotten replace the singer from Def Leppard?
The rich history of popular music is built on a foundation of classic songs. From Tin Pan Alley to the Brill Building, Bob Dylan to Kurt Cobain, and Joni Mitchell to Amy Winehouse, gifted songwriters have crafted a cherished body of music that has become part of our lives. Imagine the Fifties without the magical clamor of “Tutti Frutti” and “Hound Dog” the Seventies without the anthemic “Le Freak” and “Anarchy in the UK” or the Noughties without the Leftfield pop of “Toxic” or “Crazy”. This music mirrors the times, both reflecting society at large (“A Change is Gonna Come”, “The Message”) and mapping our own personal highs (“God Only Knows”) or lows (“Hurt”). And from ‘Saturday Night Fish Fry’ to Saturday Night Fever, it has helped us simply forget our problems.
1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Diepicks through nearly a century of music to bring you an inspiring selection of some of the greatest recordings ever made. Each entry in this wonderfully browsable book tells the story of a great song. Find out what inspired the songwriter, what makes the track so enduring, which songs it influenced in turn and which cover version to listen out for. You’ll also pick up a wealth of fascinating trivia along the way.