33 Revolutions Per Minute

33 Revolutions Per Minute

A History of Protest Songs, From Billie Holiday to Green Day

Book - 2011
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From one of the most prominent music critics writing today, a page-turning and wonderfully researched history of protest music in the twentieth century and beyond



Nowhere does pop music collide more dramatically with the wider world than in the protest song, which forces its way into the news and prompts conversations from Washington to Westminster. Rather than being merely a worthy adjunct to the business of pop, protest music is woven into its DNA. When you listen to Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Public Enemy, or the Clash, you are not sitting down to a dusty seminar; you are hearing pop music at its most thrillingly alive.

33 Revolutions Per Minute is the story of protest music told in 33 songs. An incisive history of a wide and shape-shifting genre, Dorian Lynskey's authoritative book takes us from the days of Billie Holliday crooning "Strange Fruit" before shocked audiences to Vietnam-era crowds voicing their resentment at the sounds of Bob Dylan to the fracas over the Dixie Chicks' comments against George W. Bush during the Iraq War.

For anyone who enjoyed Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise, Bob Dylan's Chronicles, or Simon Reynolds' Rip It Up and Start Again, 33 Revolutions Per Minute is an absorbing and moving portrait of a century when music was the people's truest voice.
Publisher: New York : Ecco, c2011.
ISBN: 9780061670152
Characteristics: xvi, 660 pages :,illustrations ;,23 cm.

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RemiRoussel Jan 26, 2016

Interesting book, made me discover some protest songs I didn't know.. ..but skipped a whole lot of popular and influential songs.

a
astahl
Oct 25, 2014

2 stars for being readable and well researched for the 60's and 70's. Lousy section on feminism and music, doesn't even mention Gwen Stephani's Just a Girl or Madonna's Papa Don't Preach. Concludes by saying audiences don't want to hear protest songs anymore. Guess he hasn't heard of Pussy Riot.

c
carolannbagan
May 10, 2013

a good book for those who want to know why a certain song was written . i'm glad they put billie holiday's "strange fruit " in there right off the top. it was a very dangeous song for its time.

debwalker May 28, 2011

Impressively researched, wide-ranging and beautifully written, 33 Revolutions Per Minute is nonetheless a rather odd book, since it’s appearing at a time when the protest song is hardly the most galvanizing or immediate mode of expression for contemporary pop musicians and fans, nor does there seem to be any major revival of interest in the protest songs of yesteryear. A music writer for The Guardian, Lynskey pretty much acknowledges the point in the epilogue: “I began this book intending to write a history of a still vital form of music. I finished it wondering if I had instead composed a eulogy.” Lack of timeliness aside, it’s still a compelling work of journalism, using 33 songs – Dylan’s Masters of War, Public Enemy’s Fight the Power and U2’s Pride (In the Name of Love) among them – to limn the idiom’s complex history.
Globe & Mail May 27 2011

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