Questlove collects the 500 songs that have changed not just popular music, but also the world
Questlove's Music Is History is an in-depth look into the 500 most influential songs in the history of music. Most famously known as a the drummer and joint frontman for the Grammy Award-winning band The Roots, Questlove is also an astute musicologist and voracious historian.
In this book, Questlove dives into musical history from every decade of twentieth century, choosing one essential track from each year. The author thoughtfully and insightfully unpacks each song's cultural significance by placing it in its historical context, discussing real world events that shaped both the song's creation and its lasting impact. Analyses of iconic classics like "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder include tangents into the histories of science, politics, and pop culture. Questlove moves fluidly from the personal to the political, from Curtis Mayfield to the history of Black representation in cinema to musings on the Nixon presidency. Complete with comprehensive playlists organized around personal, playful themes like "Songs That Got Shafted" or "Songs With a Part I Really Like Even Though I Don't Like the Whole Song," this book is so full of Questlove's essential recommendations that it feels like a conversation with the industry's coolest music obsessive.
Music Is History is a masterclass in music by a contemporary icon―a new American musical canon from one of music's most influential and unique voices.
"Questlove's in-depth, witty, creative, personal, and authoritative musical history will keep people reading, listening, questioning, and musing for many years to come."
"Music Is History is an entertaining, informative and far-reaching work, meticulously excavating American culture and history with the eye of a seasoned cratedigger."-- "The Washington Post"
"A palimpsestic, personal, and resonant journey with a living musical encyclopedia."-- "Kirkus"
"This inspired volume continues Questlove's thoughtful and thought-provoking work and is an enduring analysis of the effects of music on personal, political, and cultural histories."-- "Library Journal STARRED Review"
"This stimulating work is sure to attract deep thinkers and music theorists everywhere."-- "Publishers Weekly"
About the Author
Questlove is an American drummer, DJ, producer, designer, culinary entrepreneur, music educator, and bestselling author of Mixtape Potluck Cookbook (Abrams, 2019), Creative Quest (Ecco Press, 2018), and Mo' Meta Blues (Grand Central, 2013), among other titles. He is also the cofounder of The Roots and the bandleader for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He lives in New York.