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The Pretenders: Brass in Pocket and My City Was Gone

My City Was Gone seems like a pretty good way to sum up 2012 for a lot of people.

Two sites offer opinions on what songs are the top ten for the band. One is a straight list and the second starts with an essay about Hynde and the band:

If there had never been such a thing as Chrissie Hynde someone would certainly have needed to invent her: The Ohio born singer-songwriter and frontwoman of the Pretenders emerged from the teeming hothouse of late 1970β€²s London like Athena cracked forcefully from the skull of Zeus. Hynde the writer and performer was fully formed and completely wonderful β€” a distinctly feminine (and feminist) counterpoint to the nearly overwhelming crush of alpha-male performers ranging from Elvis Costello to Joe Strummer to Nick Lowe to the still-looming presence of ex-Pistol John Lydon, beginning the first stages of rebuilding his caustic social critique as Public Image Limited. Continue Reading…

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.