"A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs"

Giving My Bones to the Western LandsPodcasts have become an outlet for the chattering classes. Very few have any content worth listening to. But there are brilliant exceptions. A good friend introduced me to "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs" created and hosted by Andrew Hickey. The floodgates opened, not to be closed again. Andrew Hickey presents a history of rock music from 1938 to 1999, looking at five hundred songs that shaped the genre. The project started in 2018 and will take nearly ten years. This is "slow podding" at its finest without mannerism. Andrew Hickey reads his manuscript in a monotone voice, only interrupted by short music clips under the (non-existent) 30 second "fair use" rule. The, to say the least, fact-filled episodes are truffled with dry british humour and quirky understatements. However, the source criticism is razor sharp and the myth-busting is brutal. Andrew Hickey is tackling this enormous task with a broad approach with references to economy, history, philosophy and psychology. In some episodes, I get the feeling that this time he has derailed, but he always manages to get back on track and connecting the dots. And there are a lot of dots to connect. The podcasts contains more names than a novel by Tolstoy. So far I have listened to seven episodes*). The episodes vary in length. Some episodes are about 40 minutes. No. 165, devoted to "Dark Star," by the Grateful Dead, is 4 hours and 36 minutes. The podcasts are highly educational and equally addictive. Andrew Hickey goes above and beyond and leaves no stone left unturned. He gives you the facts and the context, but always leaves something for you to think about. The episodes ends in the same way: "If you have enjoyed the show and feel it's worth reviewing, please do leave a review wherever you get your podcasts, but more importantly, tell just one person that you like this podcast. Word of mouth, more than any other form of promotion, is how creative works gets noticed and sustain themselves." Now, I have told you. 

Episode 170: “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison, 1h 40min
Episode 169: “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother and the Holding Company, 2h 05min
Episode 167: “The Weight” by The Band, 1h 56min
Episode 165: “Dark Star” by the Grateful Dead, 4h 36min
Episode 158: “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, 1h 22min
Episode 130: “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan, 57min
Episode 53: “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, 40 min

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