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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
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“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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
There's just one thing: because the books are so similar, it's likely that one or two pieces will be repeated in another book. There are only so many stories surrounding the same topic, and I'm sure it depends on the subject matter. It's still okay. 85% of the pieces are specific to each book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting stories, not likely to be easily found elsewhere.Published 15 months ago by Dancing Man
Bought these for homeschool, but these are addicting to read so the whole family reads them on road trips nowPublished 17 months ago by Hawaii Mom
We thoroughly enjoyed the stories, the format and gave another copy as a gift to a music lover.An easy read.Published on November 21, 2013 by ARamspott
Great stories. Had the book first on Kindle and then had to get a hard copy so I could share it with my students.Published on October 17, 2013 by C. A. Cmiel
It was mildly entertaining but a bit thin on content especially when you consider the wealth of musical material over the years.Published on October 3, 2013 by Celia