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The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs, by Greil Marcus

One of Our Finest Critics Gives Us an Altogether Original History of Rock 'n' Roll

NEW HAVEN, CT--(Marketwired - April 08, 2014) - On September 2, 2014 Yale University Press will proudly publish The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus. This is the first time that Yale University Press will publish Mr. Marcus, who is widely heralded as one of our premier critics on music and culture.

Unlike all previous versions of rock 'n' roll history, The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs omits almost every iconic performer and ignores the storied events and turning points that everyone knows. Instead, in a daring stroke, Greil Marcus selects ten songs recorded between 1956 and 2008, then proceeds to dramatize how each embodies rock 'n' roll as a thing in itself, in the story it tells, inhabits, and acts out -- a new language, something new under the sun.

"Transmission" by Joy Division. "All I Could Do Was Cry" by Etta James and then Beyoncé. "To Know Him Is to Love Him," first by the Teddy Bears and almost half a century later by Amy Winehouse. In Marcus's hands these and other songs tell the story of the music, which is, at bottom, the story of the desire for freedom in all its unruly and liberating glory.

Slipping the constraints of chronology, Marcus braids together past and present, holding up to the light the ways that these striking songs fall through time and circumstance, gaining momentum and meaning, astonishing us by upending our presumptions and prejudices. This book, by a founder of contemporary rock criticism -- and its most gifted and incisive exemplar -- is destined to be embraced as an enduring classic.

Greil Marcus is the author of numerous books, including Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music (1975), Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century (1989), and, most recently, The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years (2011). The first reviews editor at Rolling Stone magazine, Marcus has also written for Artforum, the New York Times, Salon, and many other publications. He has taught at Princeton, Minnesota, and NYU, and currently teaches at Berkeley and the New School in New York City. His column "Real Life Rock Top 10" appears regularly in The Believer. He divides his time between Oakland, CA and New York City.

The Songs:

  1. Shake Some Action (1976)
  1. Transmission (1979/2008/2010)
  1. In the Still of the Nite (1956/1959/2010)
  1. All I Could Do Was Cry (1960/2008/2013)
  1. Crying, Waiting, Hoping (1959/1969)
  1. Money (That's What I Want) (1959/1963)
  1. Money Changes Everything (1978/1983/2005/2008)
  1. This Magic Moment (1959/2007)
  1. Guitar Drag (2000/2006)
  1. To Know Him Is to Love Him (1958/2006)

Advance Praise for  The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs

"I first heard Elvis in early 1956 in a school corridor in Norfolk, England. I knew something profound had happened. Where was Greil Marcus back in those Dark Ages to explain to me what was going on? He knows everything and tells an electrifying story." -- Stephen Frears, director High Fidelity and Philomena

"A great essay begins with a theme and then makes it fly. Greil Marcus can make it soar. In The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs he does just that. He says of Amy Winehouse that she could unlock a song. Marcus unlocks rock 'n' roll history to find more than you ever thought might be there." -- Jenny Diski, author of The Sixties and What I Don't Know About Animals

"Another allusive, entertaining inquiry by veteran musicologist Marcus... [He] does what he does best: make us feel smarter about what we're putting into our ears." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Like Leslie Fiedler, Greil Marcus is a critic for the ages. There aren't many writers I've learned more from, nor many whose word for word and sentence for sentence writing I enjoy more. The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs is among his richest work, perhaps his most heartfelt. Like Mystery Train, it's something we will be learning from, that will give us new ways to think about the sounds that have filled the worlds around us and the worlds inside us, for years to come." -- Mikal Gilmore, author of Shot in the Heart and Stories Done: Writings on the 1960s and its Discontents

Praise for  Lipstick Traces

"Lipstick Traces has the energy of its obsessions, and it snares you in the manner of those intense, questing and often stoned sessions of intellectual debate you may have experienced in your college years. It was destined, in other words, to achieve cult status." -- Ben Brantley, New York Times

Praise for  Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music

"A classic... Full of passion and intellectual fervor." -- Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Title: The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs * Author: Greil Marcus

Price: $28.00 * ISBN: 978-0-300-18737-3 Cloth * eBook ISBN: 978-0-300-19030-4 Pages: 320 *

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

Yale University Press is a premier scholarly book publisher of art, architecture, business, economics, environmental studies, history, law, literature, philosophy, political science, psychology, reference, religion, science, and world languages titles.

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