From renowned music journalist Marc Myers comes a lively, entertaining, wide-ranging oral history of the golden age of the rock concert based on over ninety interviews with musicians, promoters, stagehands, and others who contributed to the huge cultural phenomenon that is live rock.
ROCK CONCERT: The Oral History of a Rite of Passage
by Marc Myers
Grove Press, November 2021
Wall Street Journal contributing writer and acclaimed music journalist Marc Myers dives into the fascinating history of rock ‘n’ roll in ROCK CONCERT. Myers’s Anatomy of a Song received high praise: the New York Times Book Review raved that “each story is a pleasure to read and will deepen your listening experience.” Myers raises the bar in his enthralling new book, informed by riveting interviews with influential people from the raucous rock ‘n’ roll scene through the ages.
Decades after the rise of rock music in the 1950s, the rock concert retains its allure and its power as a unifying experience—and as an influential multi-billion-dollar industry. In ROCK CONCERT, acclaimed interviewer Marc Myers sets out to uncover the history of this compelling phenomenon, weaving together ground-breaking accounts from the people who were there.
Myers combines the tales of icons like Joan Baez, Ian Anderson, Alice Cooper, Steve Miller, Roger Waters, and Angus Young with figures such as the disc jockeys who first began playing rock on the radio, like Alan Freed in Cleveland and New York; the audio engineers that developed new technologies to accommodate ever-growing rock audiences; music journalists, like Rolling Stone’s Cameron Crowe; and the promoters who organized it all, like Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock, to create a rounded and vivid account of live rock’s stratospheric rise.
ROCK CONCERT provides a fascinating, immediate look at the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll through the lens of live performances — spanning from the rise of R&B in the 1950s, through the hippie gatherings of the ’60s, to the growing arena tours of the ’70s and ’80s. Elvis Presley’s gyrating hips, the British Invasion that brought the Beatles in the ’60s, the Grateful Dead’s free flowing jams, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall are just a few of the defining musical acts that drive this rich narrative. Featuring dozens of key players in the history of rock and filled with colorful anecdotes, ROCK CONCERT will speak to anyone who has experienced the transcendence of live rock.
Marc Myers is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, where he writes about rock, soul, and jazz, as well as the arts. He is the author of the critically acclaimed books Anatomy of a Song and Why Jazz Happened, and posts daily at JazzWax.com, winner of the 2015 Jazz Journalists Association’s award for Jazz Blog of the Year.