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The Greatest Music Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from Music History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy

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RickBeyer, author of the highly successful History Channel series The Greatest Stories Never Told returns with new historic tales from the world of music—ennobling, entrancing and inevitably surprising stories of soaring genius, tantalizing scandal, nefarious intrigue, and, above all, unbridled passion for music.


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RickBeyer, author of the highly successful History Channel series The Greatest Stories Never Told returns with new historic tales from the world of music—ennobling, entrancing and inevitably surprising stories of soaring genius, tantalizing scandal, nefarious intrigue, and, above all, unbridled passion for music.

30 review for The Greatest Music Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from Music History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Edwina Callan

    I loved this book! Highlights for me: Dr. Brian May (Queen) is an astrophysicist. Killing Me Softly with His Song was written after seeing Don McLean in concert. Beethoven never heard his Ninth Symphony played, he had gone deaf before its premiere performance. The Theremin, an electronic instrument heard on the Beach Boys Good Vibrations and Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, was invented by the same Russian scientist that invented the KGB listening device (bug) found in the office of the U.S. Ambassa I loved this book! Highlights for me: Dr. Brian May (Queen) is an astrophysicist. Killing Me Softly with His Song was written after seeing Don McLean in concert. Beethoven never heard his Ninth Symphony played, he had gone deaf before its premiere performance. The Theremin, an electronic instrument heard on the Beach Boys Good Vibrations and Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, was invented by the same Russian scientist that invented the KGB listening device (bug) found in the office of the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1960. Van Halen's contract rider for their 1980s World Tour called for the band to be supplied with one tube of K-Y Jelly and forty-eight bath towels before each concert. There are so many more. You really should read this book!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thebruce1314

    Awesome. The stories are both enjoyable and informative and easy to read. The text and pictures are appealing to the eye and the subject matter covers musical interests from classical to rock. I am a sucker for useless tidbits of information, but I honestly think that anyone who has an interest in music or popular culture would enjoy this book. And I'm excited that I got a chance to read it even before publication date! Now, is there going to be an accompanying tv series? Because that is somethi Awesome. The stories are both enjoyable and informative and easy to read. The text and pictures are appealing to the eye and the subject matter covers musical interests from classical to rock. I am a sucker for useless tidbits of information, but I honestly think that anyone who has an interest in music or popular culture would enjoy this book. And I'm excited that I got a chance to read it even before publication date! Now, is there going to be an accompanying tv series? Because that is something I would love to see!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    You can read my review here You can read my review here

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Thomas

    * Women's' views on coffee 1674....lol * "Any music played on a saxophone (1845/1846) is immoral" - Rhonda Milliken, Police, 1925, Washington D.C. Too funny! * "Who wrote this...." Anonymous, 1924, Herald Review, Rite of Spring. I can finally laugh. I own the full score, watched the film of the making with the ballet, presented an assigned final class presentation, and watched a 2019 orchestral rendition on YouTube. My laughter is personal, not ignorant. Each movement sounds like the title. It is * Women's' views on coffee 1674....lol * "Any music played on a saxophone (1845/1846) is immoral" - Rhonda Milliken, Police, 1925, Washington D.C. Too funny! * "Who wrote this...." Anonymous, 1924, Herald Review, Rite of Spring. I can finally laugh. I own the full score, watched the film of the making with the ballet, presented an assigned final class presentation, and watched a 2019 orchestral rendition on YouTube. My laughter is personal, not ignorant. Each movement sounds like the title. It is like a dissonant ritual. The quote is funny and it is hilarious because it had to be anonymous due to a riot. This a very important piece of music. I did not think that anything that was happening within my life was funny.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Linda Edmonds cerullo

    A fun, quick read about well known songs, musicians and a few instruments as well. Each chapter is just a minute or two read and contains a good deal of information and background on special moments in music history.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris Sherwood

    Excellent read for anyone interested in music.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris Naish

    100 stories, succintly told. Some I'd never heard, while others were more familiar. Leans a little heavily on American history, specifically the 1700-1800's. Overall, a fun read with some surprises. 100 stories, succintly told. Some I'd never heard, while others were more familiar. Leans a little heavily on American history, specifically the 1700-1800's. Overall, a fun read with some surprises.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Summer Hurst

    Three and a half Tried to be brief but expansive, could have been more especially toward the genesis end felt like it was not about music any more or as much but interesting

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    So many fun facts and stories. And each one is a quick read. Especially enjoyed the tale of Selfridge and Orville Wright. I was surprised "The Day the Music Died" wasn't included. So many fun facts and stories. And each one is a quick read. Especially enjoyed the tale of Selfridge and Orville Wright. I was surprised "The Day the Music Died" wasn't included.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rod Stasick

    Already on page two, there was a mistake ("...plucking a string two times longer than another will play a note an octave higher.)," so, I was a bit apprehensive, but it's a fun book to hop around in. Already on page two, there was a mistake ("...plucking a string two times longer than another will play a note an octave higher.)," so, I was a bit apprehensive, but it's a fun book to hop around in.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    So much enjoyment in one small educational book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ming Terk

    Short, succinct snippets of musical anecdotes. It is short. Maybe that is why it is lacking details. An entertaining read for someone hunting for some musical trivia.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Price

    Another in Rick Beyer's Greatest Stories Never Told series, this book is comprised of 100 two page stories on music history trivia, ranging from the question of whether Nero really fiddled while Rome burned to vignettes on the Beatles and Broadway. Some of the stories have only a casual connection to music while others are much more in a music history tradition. The stories are entertaining and easily readable with photos included. I was disappointed, however, that more than half of the book tak Another in Rick Beyer's Greatest Stories Never Told series, this book is comprised of 100 two page stories on music history trivia, ranging from the question of whether Nero really fiddled while Rome burned to vignettes on the Beatles and Broadway. Some of the stories have only a casual connection to music while others are much more in a music history tradition. The stories are entertaining and easily readable with photos included. I was disappointed, however, that more than half of the book takes place in the 20th century or later; I was hoping for a more even division between classical and popular music as well. When Beyer compiled his previous volumes on stories from history, he included both a generic greatest stories of history as well as more specialized volumes on war stories and Presidential history stories. I wish he would do the same as far as music history.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica at Book Sake

    I was expecting this to be much different then what I actually received. The book looks at stories about music in a chronological order starting with 1400 B.C. Call me crazy but I don't really care much about stories that were never told back then. I was hoping for stories more in this century or at least from the beginning of pop music in the 50's-60's. Once the book gets to the 50's it really doesn't have much to it, and I think from 1997-2011 there are two stories, and they don't have anythin I was expecting this to be much different then what I actually received. The book looks at stories about music in a chronological order starting with 1400 B.C. Call me crazy but I don't really care much about stories that were never told back then. I was hoping for stories more in this century or at least from the beginning of pop music in the 50's-60's. Once the book gets to the 50's it really doesn't have much to it, and I think from 1997-2011 there are two stories, and they don't have anything to do with music that anyone really would be desperate to read about. This can go on the bottom shelf of a coffee table, and maybe a few people will browse through it, but other then that I wouldn't give it a second glance. Reviewed by Gabi for Book Sake. http://booksake.blogspot.com

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Another addition to the "Greatest ________ Stories Never Told" series. Though there were more than a few stories that I was already familiar with and a few that were a bit of a stretch in the importance in music history, it was an enjoyable book. The short stories in some cases did make me want to read more about the particular topic. It was also easy to pick-up and put-down with no loss of continuity. Also, for those who are unsure if they are interested in the subject matter, it is easy to pic Another addition to the "Greatest ________ Stories Never Told" series. Though there were more than a few stories that I was already familiar with and a few that were a bit of a stretch in the importance in music history, it was an enjoyable book. The short stories in some cases did make me want to read more about the particular topic. It was also easy to pick-up and put-down with no loss of continuity. Also, for those who are unsure if they are interested in the subject matter, it is easy to pick and chose which entries to read and for non-history experts, this book is a great introduction.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nick Popadich

    Heard about this on NPR . . . who knew that DeNiro's attitude was responsible for bringing about the Sinatra standard "New York, New York"? Rick Beyer knew, and he shares great tidbits of musical trivia in a year-by-year format. This book had me constantly interrupting my wife's TV viewing to share facts about how instruments were created, how popular lyrics came about, and how some of the greatest musical teams formed. I thought I knew a fair amount about music and pop culture, but Beyer had pl Heard about this on NPR . . . who knew that DeNiro's attitude was responsible for bringing about the Sinatra standard "New York, New York"? Rick Beyer knew, and he shares great tidbits of musical trivia in a year-by-year format. This book had me constantly interrupting my wife's TV viewing to share facts about how instruments were created, how popular lyrics came about, and how some of the greatest musical teams formed. I thought I knew a fair amount about music and pop culture, but Beyer had plenty to teach me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Cute little curt histories, pictures, drawings and trivia relating to popular songs of the past. Their origins, their first uses, their context changes and other quirky details. Enjoying all of them, I found some of them quite intriguing, especially upon context or purpose of the original composer. Especially Yankee Doodle Dandy and Bring Me Out to the Ball Game- because it is ironic that they are such icons of the locations of their use today when their origins held nearly opposite nuance.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Best stories: The one about Giuseppe Tartini selling his soul to the devil. Ben Franklin's armonica. (I really have to look that up on youtube!!) The sad one about Beethoven's Ninth Symphony Aldolphe Sax (I have to include him, as a sax player myself) Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von Meck. "Rhapsody in Blue" George Gershwin Stephen Sondheim and Oscar Hammerstein Best stories: The one about Giuseppe Tartini selling his soul to the devil. Ben Franklin's armonica. (I really have to look that up on youtube!!) The sad one about Beethoven's Ninth Symphony Aldolphe Sax (I have to include him, as a sax player myself) Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von Meck. "Rhapsody in Blue" George Gershwin Stephen Sondheim and Oscar Hammerstein

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mayda

    This delightful and informative book is one you will pick up again and again. Chock full of fascinating tidbits concerning songs and composers – as well as other people and things connected to music – you will discover dozens of entertaining facts as you read these seldom told stories. There is something for everyone in this liberally illustrated book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    Fascinating collection of 2-page entries providing little known information about events in music history. Arranged chronologically from 1400 BC through 2007, the author has compiled stories ranging all types of musical styles and topics.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paola Piliado

    I liked this one. Some of the stories were amazing. Some were not that interesting. I would say its a nice thing to lend or show but not the greatest music stories never told. A very deceiving title

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lynnette

    So fun! This being a book about musicians, there are a few stories that I wouldn't share with kids and some of the quotes contain profanities, but nothing so horrible that I wouldn't give it 5 stars. Is definitely worth reading :) So fun! This being a book about musicians, there are a few stories that I wouldn't share with kids and some of the quotes contain profanities, but nothing so horrible that I wouldn't give it 5 stars. Is definitely worth reading :)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    Just couldn't get into the book at the moment, may try to read it later. Just couldn't get into the book at the moment, may try to read it later.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Allishay

    Each story is told in 2 pages. Its a good one to pick up every so often.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I enjoyed the book. However, it's a book with lots of details -- which I do not remember very well. But it was still fun to read. I enjoyed the book. However, it's a book with lots of details -- which I do not remember very well. But it was still fun to read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Candy

    If you're looking for music industry gems, look elsewhere. This reads like a series of Paul Harvey "...and now you know the rest of the story" tidbits, but with no sense of a true reveal. If you're looking for music industry gems, look elsewhere. This reads like a series of Paul Harvey "...and now you know the rest of the story" tidbits, but with no sense of a true reveal.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    it was fun. a lot of stuff I was already aware of, but also some fun stories I had never heard.

  28. 4 out of 5

    R

    A fun, breezy, quick read. Amusing stories from music's history. A fun, breezy, quick read. Amusing stories from music's history.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    Eh. The stories either weren't that great or very familiar (the writing of Amazing Grace familiar). One to skip. Eh. The stories either weren't that great or very familiar (the writing of Amazing Grace familiar). One to skip.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Deke

    Cute, fun, some of it you already know but much of it you don't. Presented well, good airplane reading Cute, fun, some of it you already know but much of it you don't. Presented well, good airplane reading

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