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Schreiber, Brad

Music is Power

Popular Songs, Social Justice, and the Will to Change


    217,95 € / $250.00 / £197.50*

    eBook (PDF)
    Publication Date:
    November 2019
    Copyright year:
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    Aims and Scope

    Popular music has long been a powerful force for social change. Protest songs have served as anthems regarding war, racism, sexism, ecological destruction and so many other crucial issues.

    Music Is Power takes us on a guided tour through the past 100 years of politically-conscious music, from Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie to Green Day and NWA. Covering a wide variety of genres, including reggae, country, metal, psychedelia, rap, punk, folk and soul, Brad Schreiber demonstrates how musicians can take a variety of approaches— angry rallying cries, mournful elegies to the victims of injustice, or even humorous mockeries of authority—to fight for a fairer world. While shining a spotlight on Phil Ochs, Gil Scott-Heron, The Dead Kennedys and other seminal, politicized artists, he also gives readers a new appreciation of classic acts such as Lesley Gore, James Brown, and Black Sabbath, who overcame limitations in their industry to create politically potent music

    Music Is Power tells fascinating stories about the origins and the impact of dozens of world-changing songs, while revealing political context and the personal challenges of legendary artists from Bob Dylan to Bob Marley.


    252 pages
    5 color photographs, 13 B-W photographs

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    BRAD SCHREIBER is an award-winning author, journalist, and screenwriter. His previous books include Death in Paradise, Becoming Jimi Hendrix, and Revolution’s End. He has received fellowships and awards from the National Press Foundation, Edward Albee Foundation, International Book Awards, Independent Publisher Book Awards and Los Angeles Press Club.


    “Brad Schreiber understands both music and politics, as well as the jagged lines where they overlap and intersect. His clarity, intelligence and insight provide lasting rewards.”
    — Anthony DeCurtis, Grammy Award-winning journalist, Rolling Stone, author, Lou Reed: A Life

    “An inspiring tour through the history of making change with music, and an important call for retrieving music’s intrinsic ability to challenge power.”
    — Douglas Rushkoff, documentarian, professor, Media Theory and Digital Economics, CUNY/Queens, author, Team Human

    “A stirring survey of the sometimes sad, sometimes joyful, sometimes angry but ever hopeful music that is the soundtrack for America’s struggle to become a more fair and just society.”
    — Seth Rosenfeld, journalist, winner, George Polk Award, author, Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and

    "Afun read. It provides the old timer with a quick sail down the streams of memory and the younger reader with a useful and concise look at the music of the West that helped form the culture of today."
    — CounterPunch

    "Music Is Powercovers the socio-political history of important music, from Bob Dylan to hip-hop, including genres like punk, comedy, folk, psychedelia, R&B/soul and major musicals, and encourages listeners to respond to this powerful music with real world activism. It’s a timeless New Year’s gift!"
    — Planet Proctor

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