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The Greatest Music Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from Music History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy (The Greatest Stories Never Told) Hardcover – June 7, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An effortless summer read for the music lover.” (Houston Chronicle)

“We picked up the book expecting to inflate our egos, reinforcing the myth that we know everything there is to know about music history. Short answer- we were wrong, very wrong.” (LA Weekly)

“A little book you won’t be able to put down.” (Florida Times-Union)

“History doesn’t have to be boring and author Rick Beyer proves it with this fun look at music.” (Rock Book Show)

“Full of tasty morsels…A delightful book to arm one for the next dull cocktail party.” (Chicago Tribune)

“History like you’ve never read it before…Amusing.” (The Tennessean)

“100 stories you haven’t heard will delight in knowing.…Lively, offbeat and surprising in quick-hit snippets.” (Denver Rocky Mountain News)

“Surprising…the essentials of fascinating stories are here.” (Dallas Morning News)

From the Back Cover

Did you know about:

  • The ballet that sparked a riot?
  • The rock star who became an astrophysicist?
  • The song that saved Wheaties?
  • The man killed by his own conducting?
  • The controversy behind "Mary Had a Little Lamb"?

Prepare to be astonished, bewildered, and stupefied by the tantalizing tidbits of music history collected here: amazing stories about jazz, classical, country, rock 'n' roll, hip-hop, show tunes, composers, band names, song lyrics, instruments, technology, controversies, and more.

Learn how the FBI spent years trying to decode the lyrics of one rock song. Discover how Watergate provided the inspiration for A Chorus Line. Find out how one megahit was born in a history class, while another was dashed off in a fit of anger at actor Robert De Niro. Meet the monk behind solfège, the aviation pioneer who created Muzak, and the prisoner who literally sang himself out of jail. Then there's the most important person in rock 'n' roll history—chances are you've never heard of him!

Continuing the successful Greatest Stories Never Told series, Rick Beyer has delivered another classic volume for history and music buffs alike.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Greatest Stories Never Told
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061626988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061626982
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alyce Reese on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Greatest Music Stories Never Told is a collection of interesting music stories and the intriguing histories of songs and musicians, both famous and obscure. Each mini-story is two pages long and is accompanied by art or photos pertaining to that topic. There are several ancient music anecdotes, but the rest of the book focuses on stories from the past four hundred years.

Do you remember that old radio show that Paul Harvey used to do - "The Rest of the Story?" These tales reminded me strongly of that show. Paul Harvey would tell a story about a mystery protagonist, and then would reveal that person's identity (usually someone famous) at the end of the tale. Not all of the stories in this book follow that format, but enough of them did that I couldn't help but think of his show.

I think that anyone with even a moderate interest in music would be entertained by these stories. You don't have to have a familiarity with composers or classical music to appreciate the eclectic and sometimes strange facts gathered in this book.

Here are some of my favorites:

The youngest Civil War soldier
The story behind the trapeze song
The inventor of the saxophone (and how controversial it was)
The last castrati (whose singing voice was recorded)
Songs and composers inspired by the devil
The FBI investigation of "Louie, Louie"
The story behind "Smoke on the Water"

There were a couple of stories (like the one about the youngest Civil War soldier) in which the musical element was tangential to the main story, but I appreciated their inclusion because they added variety and depth to the book.

The Greatest Music Stories Never Told is a lovely little gift book and makes for fun reading.
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Format: Hardcover
Rick Beyer and A&E offer up 100 TALES FROM MUSIC HISTORY TO ASTONISH, BEWILDER AND STUPEFY in this 2011 HarperCollins release. With musical tales ranging from 1400 BC to 2007, THE GREATEST MUSIC STORIES NEVER TOLD is an amusing, informative smorgasbord music fans and trivia buffs alike should enjoy.

As mentioned, the first 'Never Told' tale dates fom 1400 BC, featuring the world's oldest surviving song. The 2007 entry deals with Dr. Brian May, an English astrophysicist whose day job was playing lead guitar in Queen! In between those two are stories on the composer who conducted himself to death, the circumstances that resulted in 'Amazing Grace,' the song that saved the life of a President, the creation of 'Taps,' America's first jazz musician, the birthplace of country music, how the bazooka got its name, the coach who inspired a rock band, the relationship between brown M&M's and the rock group Van Halen, the first music video and so on.

In short, THE GREATEST MUSIC STORIES NEVER TOLD is a pleasing page-turner. It will educate you as it simultaneously entertains you. Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this to a couple of kids every day, and we all love this book. Did you know Ben Franklin played the guitar or that Bach wrote a cantata about coffee? How about that the Banjo was originally created in Africa? This is a fantastic book for adults and kids, alike.
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Format: Hardcover
I would highly suggest this book for the most avid of music fans as well as music history beginners. It will give the avid fans awesome new information to supplement what they already know, but it would give the beginner juicy tidbits of knowledge to drop while tlaking to an avid music fan! I couldnt stop turning the pages in this book by Rick Beyer, buy it for yourself or package it as an awesome gift! You will NOT be disappointed!!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is the latest in The Greatest Stories Never Told book series. It is filled with surprising stories about music and familiar (and not so familiar) historical figures. Each story is told on two pages and includes pertinent sketches and photos. I learned a lot from The Greatest Music Stories Never Told and think it would be the perfect gift for any music and trivia fan.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Greatest Music Stories Never Told" by Rick Beyer is a fascinating look at musical events and history. I gave this book to my niece, a music major, as a gift when she graduated from college.
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This book has been a real interesting read. Interesting facts about music history that more should learn about. I'd recommend this to anyone who listens to music of any genre.
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Great stories. Had the book first on Kindle and then had to get a hard copy so I could share it with my students.
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