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33 Revolutions Per Minute Paperback – 3 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571241344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571241347
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'This rabble-rousing romp through politically motivated pop music is a delight.' -- Arthur House, Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year >>
'Extensive ... enormous but readable.' --Will Hodgkinson, The Times Books of the Year

'Lynskey s ability to link history, culture, politics and music makes the argument not just for the potency of protest but the need for music journalism. The stories he tells are as epoch-shaping as the songs themselves.' -- NME, Book of the Year
'A panoramic view of music, politics and social history that s wonderfully well-written, informative and often surprisingly funny.' -- Uncut
'A scrupulously researched, elegantly written and highly absorbing account of the intersection of politics and music.' - Independent
'Magnificent.' --Wire

Book Description

An astounding history of protest music, told through 33 momentous songs.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ashen Glow on 12 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a vast and meticulously researched book which is accessible enough to sustain interest through many periods and styles of music in search of protest songs on a wide range of issues. It is both good music criticism and fascinating social history. The reader's pleasure is further enhanced by the opportunity to read whilst listening to the songs in question and make one's own judgement on their impact. There is perhaps over-sensitivity to potential criticism about which songs have been "left out" by the inclusion of sprawling appendices and lists of other worthy songs. The writer could have more confidence to stick to the chosen 33 songs, all of which merit their place in a general survey, including an interesting turn away from Britain and the US in the middle. Having said that, one of the joys of such a book will be the pub debate about what should be in it: where, for example, is "Gimme Shelter"?!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N Fitz York on 9 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dorian has produced a very well researched and well written book covering the history of protest songs from Billie Holiday and Woody Gutherie in the US, through disco (yes, not what I would have thought of as a hotbed of the protest song), rap, punk (including the wonderful Crass) and much more.

The sections that cover my personal music tastes (such as the chapter that looks at The Clash, particularly comparing them to the Sex Pistols) are of more immediate interest in some ways but the whole concept is very well conceived and conveyed in writing which, to my mind, stands above much of what I've read in non-fiction recently.

I didn't give it five stars only because there are times where it is perhaps a little too much like a history text book with very detailed dates on who did what on which day which demonstrates a thorough approach to research and a knowledge and understanding of the subject matter (which is partly what you're paying for) but can impact on the readability.

Overall, however, it's a great social history. There is a common thread through all the artists featured, despite the huge disparity in musical styles, which pulls the whole thing together into what is a great read for anyone with an interest in music.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By NewHouse on 15 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
They say don't build your hopes don't they - having seen this talked up by Lynskey's fellow journalists I bought the hype, and the book, and as with the equally lauded Rob Young's 'Electric Eden' and Alex Ross's 'The Rest Is Noise', found the content erring on the cut and pastey papier mache side of things. It's curious to find a book so long which deals so lightly with its subject - perhaps the author tried to cut the cake too many ways in order to agree with the snappy title. I'd read much of the stuff on Strange Fruit before in David Margolick's brilliant book on the song, and overall Lynskey's book reads like 33 newspaper columns stitched together. Which, as he is a newspaper writer, it may well be, for all I know. So, a coherent book on this very important subject still needs to be written, and I'll be browsing more closely before buying the next tome championed in the press.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Monk on 11 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's hard to believe that no-one seems to have attempted a history of protest songs before, but it's pretty safe to say that no-one need bother now, as it's impossible to imagine that anyone will do it better that Dorian Lynskey does it here. It's a huge book, but crammed to bursting with fascinating stuff.

The book starts with Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit", about the lynching of black men in the Southern states, moves through "This Land Is Your Land" and "We Shall Overcome" and on to the work of Dylan, Lennon, Stevie Wonder, The Clash, Billy Bragg etc, right up to Green Day, and not just looking at one particular song, but the performer's body of work.

Most of all, Lynskey provides a very astute social commentary of the circumstances that produced the songs of those times. It's not so much a wallow in nostalgia as a hard-nosed reminder of the way things really were back then.

And along the way there's a thousand little nuggets for your enjoyment. Did you know, for instance, that Chic's Nile Rogers used to be in the Black Panthers? Or that Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five were bitterly opposed to releasing "The Message", much preferring a song called "Dumb Love"?

Alas, it also feels a little like an elegy. There's nothing out there now to be mentioned in the same breath as the songs discussed in this book. These songs may not have changed the world but they surely gave a focus to people who were working for a cause. This has gone now and it's impossible to imagine it coming back to any great extent and we're much the poorer for it. And, hey, one or two, like Special AKA's "Nelson Mandela" actually did change the world.

One small caveat.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By minifig on 4 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
33 Revolutions Per Minute is an excellent and fascinating insight into the 20th/21st Century history of the protest song, taking you from Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit all the way to Billie Armstrong's American Idiot. As well as being meticulously researched, including a wide range of exclusive interviews, it's beautifully written. And, as with all the best music journalism, along the way you're bound to be introduced to some new music that had passed you by, and to reminded of some great stuff that you knew already. If the subject even vaguely interests you, go and read it.
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