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Concept Albums [Kindle Edition]

Gareth Shute

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Book Description

This book is the first indepth, critical account of the concept album from its highest creative moments to its most pretentious, flailing abominations. This work rediscovers the pre-history of the form in folk and country music, before covering its rise to prominence during the era of psychedelia and prog. It goes on to cover some of the most successful albums in the history of popular music, including - The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Who’s Tommy, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. The lean years of the concept album are also discussed, especially the eighties when it was kept alive within heavy metal, before being subtly resurrected by the alternative and hip hop artists of the nineties. Now the concept album is back, with artists as varied as Green Day, Arcade Fire, Mastodon, and My Chemical Romance releasing conceptual work in the new millennium, as a way to keep the album format relevant in the digital era.

This book reveals the subtle currents that brought the concept album in and out of fashion, showing a new way to look at popular music over the last fifty years and unearthing some of the most ambitious and most bizarre musical projects ever conceived. Its time to delve into the world of the concept album…

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Product Description

About the Author

Gareth Shute is a music journalist who has published four books on music and the arts through Penguin/Random House, as well as writing regularly for Lonely Planet. He is also a musician and has toured internationally as a member of indie groups, the Ruby Suns and the Brunettes.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1809 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Investigations Publishing (25 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CJ4N2FA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #343,014 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please do your fact checking before publishing 30 Jan. 2015
By Paul Schulz - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't know if it was an editing issue or simple ignorance of the subject matter, but there are so many factual errors in this book that it makes it almost impossible to read through it. Just to cite a few examples:

1) In The Who's Tommy, Tommy's sight was restored
2) In the Quadrophrenia movie, it is obvious that Jimmy is alive and the scooter went over the cliff by itself
3) In the Tommy movie, Keith Moon's organ player is not a seperate charcter, but Uncle Ernie sdlightly cleaned up
4) In the The Kinks, Ray Davies is the older brother, not Dave (that error alone shows he has no idea of the dynamics of the band)
5) Dave Davies did "...write many of the bands early hits..."
6) Ray Davies did not back away from conceptual material immediately after Arthur, but followed it up with his commentary on the music industry with "Lola vs. the Powerman" much a concpt album under Mr. Shute's criteria as Arthur
7) In the Preservation Saga, Mr. Flash is not a simple money grubber. And his inner circle is not well treated if accept the "Mirror of Love" lyrics
8) In touching on The Kinks "Schoolboys in Disgrace", it is clearly stated in the notes that the protaginist is a young Mr. Flash, which ties it into the Preservation saga. How was that connection not commented on.
9) Regarding ELP, I believe "Pictures At An Exhbition" was released after Tarkus
10) Regadring Rick Wakeman, he did work on David Bowie's Hunky Dory, which was not Bowie's "next album" after "Space Oddity" (or whatever the original English title was). The follow-up was "The Man Who Sold The World".
11) Vangelis was identified as a possible replacement for Rick Wakeman after he left the band, not before Wakeman joined the band
12) Both Peter Gabriel and Roger Waters would be amused to find out that they had been kicked out of Genesis and Pink Floyd, as Gabriel is the one who left the band to pursue a solo career, while Waters assumed that Pink Floyd was defunct after "The Final Cut" and instead fought the other members about reactivating the name.

Anyway, you get the picture. After a certain point, resding the books devolves to a game of "Spot The Next Error". Mr. Shute does have a point to make, but it just gets lost in all the factual mistakes. Perhaps if there is an opportunity for a revised edition, Mr. Shute could go back and reedit the book and correct these errors. He has valid points about the integration of packaging, the dominance of a single voice in the creation of the concept album, etc. And he can do the appropriate research because I do recognize a number of the quotes he cites. Just please correct the bloopers.

You get the picture. The parade of errors is so long that instead of focusing on his thesis, the reading experience devolves to simply an exercise in finding his next f
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid enjoyable book, but lacking flair 6 Feb. 2015
By Tim Wilson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I wanted to write an essay about concept albums for a university course I was doing. I actually expected it to be an amazon short for this price, but instead found it was around the length of a short novel. It was a pretty enjoyable read, though the introduction and last chapter were the best bits and I must admit I skim-read some of the middle chapters (I'm not that interested in concept albums by hip hop or country artists or whatever). It's not the most amazing music book I've ever read, since it lacks the flair of Simon Reynolds or Lester Bangs, etc. Despite that, it sure beat a lot of the crap I'd seen online so provides decent coverage of the subject I would say.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid survey of old favourites and unfamiliar gems 12 Mar. 2015
By C. Mcdowall - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book interesting and thought-provoking. I have enjoyed concept albums over the years but it's rare that I've read more than the odd Wikipedia article to learn of their meaning and context. I learnt about several albums that are dear to my heart and discovered others that I am excited to hear for the first time. I enjoyed the writer's warm style and obvious interest and affection for these works.
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