Behind every hit song is a captivating story. Perhaps no one knows this better than renowned writer and music historian Marc Myers, who, in his new book, Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop, uncovers the fascinating backstories behind many legendary songs that changed the trajectory of music. From classic R&B staples like “Chapel of Love” by the Dixie Cups and psychedelic ruminations like “White Rabbit” by the Jefferson Airplane to rock ’n’ roll barn-burners like “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and anti-authoritarian anthems like “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd, these songs inspired a generation.
Based on his ongoing column for the Wall Street Journal, Anatomy of a Song includes candid interviews with several storied BMI songwriters, lifting the veil on the origins of their hit songs. 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. Whether it’s singer/songwriter John Kay explaining what the lyrics to Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” are really about or how Mark James’ “Suspicious Minds” (the single that restored Elvis’ career in 1969) almost didn’t happen, Anatomy of a Song is filled with surprises for music fans and aspiring songwriters alike.