Do you love music trivia? Are you interested in a wide range of genres? Do you have a sense of humour? Then this book by radio presenter and musician Mark Radcliffe is right up your street.
When Mark found himself at a crossroads in his own life, he started thinking about the crossroads in music too. In a fun and friendly style, this book dips into music history (mostly 20th century) and is also a memoir. You don’t have to be a fan of Mark to enjoy this book. I’d heard of him but couldn’t recall listening to his shows, although I must’ve done, back when I listened to the radio more.
The ‘crossroads’ in the book are the turning points in the history of popular music. Mark argues for these where there might be doubt, for example who the first punk band was or where rock ‘n’ roll began. He focuses on particular bands and singers, such as Elvis, Woody Guthrie, Nirvana, Sandy Denny, Kraftwerk, Donna Summer, Carole King, Bob Marley, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Donegan. It’s not a book you would turn to for a comprehensive history of music, as it’s necessarily selective and has a meandering style in and out of the decades, with amusing asides. The developments in music technology are very interesting and Mark describes them in an easy-to-read way.
Highly recommended if you’re a music nerd who likes to laugh.
First published by Canongate in 2019.