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Radiohead: The Stories Behind Every Song (Stories Behind the Songs) [Hardcover]

James Doheny
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
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Book Description

13 Sep 2012 Stories Behind the Songs
With their complex haunting soundscapes and raw, soul-searching lyrics, Radiohead are the natural heirs to Pink Floyd, Nirvana, U2, The Clash and REM as the "thinking person's" rock band of our time. Similarly maintaining an "underground" reputation at the very heart of the mainstream they combine many of the signature musical and lyrical qualities of their forbears in a thoroughly contemporary way. 2010 saw their departure from the established form of being 'tied' to a label and releasing records, and this combined with their Glastonbury 2011 performance and popularity, cemented their reputation as visionary musicians and performers. This book tells the fascinating story of their songs, which draw upon a multitude of diverse influences, from classical music and jazz to electronica and grunge...and beyond.

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Radiohead: The Stories Behind Every Song (Stories Behind the Songs) + "Radiohead" - Welcome to the Machine: "Ok Computer" and the Death of the Classic Album + "Radiohead" and Philosophy (Popular Culture and Philosophy) (Popular Culture & Philosophy)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Carlton Books Ltd (13 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847329942
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847329943
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

James Doheny is a writer, musicologist and music industry consultant based in London. Originally trained in composition at The Royal Academy of Music, James has worked as a journalist for publications and broadcasters including The Times, Wired and the BBC and as a commentator on the areas of music, the music industry and digital culture for many others including the Guardian, Time Out and MTV. He has also worked extensively within the music industry, providing marketing and management consultancy to major (Universal, Sony, Warner, EMI) and independent (Warp, Mute, PIAS) record labels, working with artists such as Brian Eno, The Aphex Twin, Sigur Ros, King Crimson, Philip Glass and Ludovico Einaudi.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aesthetic and Informative 29 Sep 2002
In a nutshell: 'Karma Police' is at times a deeply analytical book about Radiohead's present canon of recorded material (spanning five albums, all current b-sides and the recent Live LP; 'I Might Be Wrong').
It contains a variety of superb colour photographs which display all manner of hair-styles from lead singer Thom Yorke, and which also elegantly capture the history of the band. From early days as struggling group 'On a Friday', to global superstars after reaching commercial and critical acclaim with their third album 'OK Computer'; under the changed name of 'Radiohead'.
'Karma Police' also has a succinct biography to guide unfamiliar readers through the band's history, along with a detailed explanation behind every album track Radiohead have recorded so far (however: b-sides and the Live LP are designated significantly less attention). Although perhaps slightly unsatisfying regarding biographical detail in the introductions for each album, for a book about the songs themselves - it sets the scene very well. Paving the way for more information to come.
The song analysis considers the influences Radiohead were exposed to (REM, Pixies, U2) as well as giving insight into individual inspiration of the artists for each song.
Combined with the fact that the book is heavily saturated with high quality pictures of a group who are perhaps the musically most experimental and innovative band in the world today - surely this is reason enough to buy the book?
However; I personally did have some difficulty with Doheny's reviews of each track. I found that sometimes he strayed from the designated project title of 'stories behind' and would walk down the path of scientific analysis of musical structure a little too deeply.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, If A Tad Pretentious 9 Jan 2004
If you're a Radiohead fan, odds are you'll either own this or some other Radiohead book - they are quite simply the most complete band musically of at least the last 15 years, maybe longer.
Basically, this book gives you a few pages of analysis on each song from their first five albums, Pablo Honey through to Amnesiac. You have lyrical analysis, which can be said to be destroying the magic of the songs, but Thom Yorke's lyrics have never been known for clarity, rather alacrity is closer to the mark. And as for the music, well there is much to discuss there, and this book makes the most of it.
Sometimes it misses the point by going too far and straying into uber-pretentiousness, but most of the time it's informative. My only other grumble is while the album tracks are analysed in depth, often giving new insight into tracks, B-Sides and the I Might Be Wrong live album are rather glossed over. Worth the asking price, though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By James
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's worth me posting this review to clarify that the current version of the book DOES actually contain sections on every Radiohead album to date (Pablo Honey - The King of Limbs). Since the review below titled "Brilliant book - essential for Radiohead fans!" was posted, this book has been updated. It actually contains an even greater level of detail towards In Rainbows than it does for most of the other albums, even including analysis of each of the songs on the bonus disc.

The book as a whole contains a good mix of both anecdotal discussion, and lyrical and musical analysis of each Radiohead song. The beginning of the book contains a biographical section about the bands formation and early years, and every album has its own 3 or 4 page intro discussing the creation and reception of the album as a whole. Some reviews say that Doheny strays too close to pretentious detailed musical analysis, but even as an amateur I could mostly follow his identification of precise musical features and time signatures. He also does an excellent job of identifying the musical influences behind certain songs, sometimes oblique influences (REM and Pixies are very common early influences), but othertimes requiring some informed speculation (mainly for the more nebulous output of the second half of Radiohead's career). There are also a few colour pictures of interest scattered throughout the book.

A drawback that some fans of the band will find reading this book is that he occasionally neglects to mention some well-known aspects to the songs influences' or construction - but for a more casual fan this will not be a problem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book - essential for Radiohead fans! 16 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the depth of analysis in this book. It's well laid out and is printed on good stock. It charts the band up to the end of Amnesiac/ the I might be wrong recordings though - so anyone hoping for Hail To The Thief, In rainbows, KOL songs will be disappointed. Hopefully he will one day do a follow up to this great book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 2 Dec 2012
By Martijn
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
All I ever wanted to know about Radiohead songs! I can't recommend this book enough. A must-have for all Radiohead fans!
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