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Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music

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Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music is a unique oral history. Here are the recollections of many of the giants of soul—Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Mary Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Screaming Jay Hawkins, and Wilson Pickett. These and other interviews, many of them exclusive, add up to a brilliant anecdotal portrait of the music and t Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music is a unique oral history. Here are the recollections of many of the giants of soul—Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Mary Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Screaming Jay Hawkins, and Wilson Pickett. These and other interviews, many of them exclusive, add up to a brilliant anecdotal portrait of the music and the life. Gerri Hirshey is the author of We Gotta Get Out of this Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock; she has also written for Rolling Stone and the New York Times.


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Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music is a unique oral history. Here are the recollections of many of the giants of soul—Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Mary Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Screaming Jay Hawkins, and Wilson Pickett. These and other interviews, many of them exclusive, add up to a brilliant anecdotal portrait of the music and t Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music is a unique oral history. Here are the recollections of many of the giants of soul—Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Mary Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Screaming Jay Hawkins, and Wilson Pickett. These and other interviews, many of them exclusive, add up to a brilliant anecdotal portrait of the music and the life. Gerri Hirshey is the author of We Gotta Get Out of this Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock; she has also written for Rolling Stone and the New York Times.

30 review for Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    The blues are my life's bedrock. I came to love soul through loving the blues. I came to love gospel through loving soul. The author tells some of the story in the words of the artists themselves. AND her writing is sublime. Read her description of Aretha Franklin doing sound checks and rehearsing with her band: "Ten feet from the epicenter, I felt the first note square in the solar plexus. It hummed through every membrane in the room, saturated the gouged acoustic baffling, rising higher, loude The blues are my life's bedrock. I came to love soul through loving the blues. I came to love gospel through loving soul. The author tells some of the story in the words of the artists themselves. AND her writing is sublime. Read her description of Aretha Franklin doing sound checks and rehearsing with her band: "Ten feet from the epicenter, I felt the first note square in the solar plexus. It hummed through every membrane in the room, saturated the gouged acoustic baffling, rising higher, louder, in a blue cloud of Kool smoke, echoing up the sooty airshaft, a Pentacostal crack in the dense, city night. 'Jesus God', the studio watchman whispered. 'Almighty Jesus God.'" Published way back in 1980-something, a few details are dated.....Michael Jackson was still alive for example. The history, the stories told in the voices of famous performers, like Aretha, and James Brown, Otis Reading, Sam Cooke, Martha Reeves, Diana Ross.....I could go on and on.......all add up to a great book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    David Bowie Book Club No 8 Witten in 1984, this is such an fascinating page turner. The author interviewed and spent time with the likes of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, James Brown, Isaac Hayes and Dianna Ross, to name but a few. The history of Motown (Berry Gordy), a common history of gospel singing among such big names from the South and the tragicly short-lived lives of others (Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Percy Sledge) constantly sent me off to YouTube to find out more and listen to a heap of wonderful David Bowie Book Club No 8 Witten in 1984, this is such an fascinating page turner. The author interviewed and spent time with the likes of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, James Brown, Isaac Hayes and Dianna Ross, to name but a few. The history of Motown (Berry Gordy), a common history of gospel singing among such big names from the South and the tragicly short-lived lives of others (Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Percy Sledge) constantly sent me off to YouTube to find out more and listen to a heap of wonderful tunes deeply entrenched in history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    James

    Really interesting & dense account of the birth & growth of soul music throughout the mid 20th century. A lot of first-hand interviews, stories & information. Some of the stories have to be read to be believed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Evans

    Do you like good music? Sweet Soul Music? The definitive guide to the personalities, stars and outrageous talent that went into creating the soundtrack for the second half of the 20th century and beyond. Gerri Hirshey interviewed all the still-living legends in the early 1980’s while most were still working hard on the circuit. The result is a unique insight into the mindsets and anxieties of such disparate musicians as Screaming Jay Hawkins, James Brown, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Ben E. King, Do you like good music? Sweet Soul Music? The definitive guide to the personalities, stars and outrageous talent that went into creating the soundtrack for the second half of the 20th century and beyond. Gerri Hirshey interviewed all the still-living legends in the early 1980’s while most were still working hard on the circuit. The result is a unique insight into the mindsets and anxieties of such disparate musicians as Screaming Jay Hawkins, James Brown, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Ben E. King, Wilson Pickett, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Martha Reeves, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, to name just a few. Atlantic Records, Motown and Stax all get full appraisals and there is additional detail about the unheralded session musicians who collaborated on some of the most iconic records ever made. Jerry Wexler and Steve Cropper add colour. Want to know how that hand-clapping intro to “Baby Love” was done? Well Motown weren’t going to pay 12 people $2.50 an hour to clap so they attached 12 pieces of wood together with wire and springs and jumped up and down on them. Daylight in upon magic. I’ve made a Spotify playlist of 234 of the songs mentioned with the same title as the book if you’re interested. I can’t imagine who wouldn’t be.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Craig Lindsey

    An oldie, but definitely a goodie.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Krokowski

    I have such respect for Gerri Hirshey: this book is full of great interviews with Soul artists, and Hirshey lets them tell the heartaches and highlights their own ways. Soul music is so wonderful when it's full of feeling, and many of the artists brilliantly turn pain into pleasure. The roster of geniuses she caught twenty or so years after the height of soul music's dominance is impressive: James Brown, Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin, Martha Reeves, and on and on. Riveted by this book! I have such respect for Gerri Hirshey: this book is full of great interviews with Soul artists, and Hirshey lets them tell the heartaches and highlights their own ways. Soul music is so wonderful when it's full of feeling, and many of the artists brilliantly turn pain into pleasure. The roster of geniuses she caught twenty or so years after the height of soul music's dominance is impressive: James Brown, Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin, Martha Reeves, and on and on. Riveted by this book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mauberley

    The anecdotal story of modern soul music as told in a series of portraits of some of its greatest practitioners. Sometimes the book reads as though it began as the story of Motown Records but the project was abandoned as access to Barry Gordy grew impossible to obtain. Nonetheless, the author's unabashed love of the music is one of her greatest strengths. Do you like soul music? Sweet soul music? This is a book for you. The anecdotal story of modern soul music as told in a series of portraits of some of its greatest practitioners. Sometimes the book reads as though it began as the story of Motown Records but the project was abandoned as access to Barry Gordy grew impossible to obtain. Nonetheless, the author's unabashed love of the music is one of her greatest strengths. Do you like soul music? Sweet soul music? This is a book for you.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    favorite

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Carter

    Pretty fine book of the behind the music stories of some of the greatest soul singers of our time

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Exhaustively researched and well written. A little out of date, but still incredibly engrossing. Loved it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    David Bowie’s Formative Reading List of 75 Favorite Books #19

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    I read this sometime before the 1990s picked up, at my grandparents' house, in this paperback edition, and loved it. Highly recommended. I read this sometime before the 1990s picked up, at my grandparents' house, in this paperback edition, and loved it. Highly recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kiki

  14. 4 out of 5

    Craig Pittman

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  16. 4 out of 5

    jennifer moore

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Sevier

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian Mansfield

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chambers Stevens

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janne

  22. 4 out of 5

    unredledders qp

  23. 4 out of 5

    Doug Hock

  24. 5 out of 5

    Edwin

  25. 4 out of 5

    Liam

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ljstubbs

  27. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Jacobi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Randy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cliff

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kim

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