Monday, May 23, 2016

NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - "Your Song Changed My Life"

"NPR's “All Songs Considered” host Bob Boilen on the songs that change our lives" PBS NewsHour 5/20/2016


SUMMARY:  Bob Boilen is known for being the host and creator of NPR's popular “All Songs Considered” podcast.  But Boilen is also a former musician -- his band was the first ever act to play D.C.'s famous 9:30 Club.  Boilen's new book, “Your Song Changed My Life,” recounts the history of modern music through the voices he has encountered, and he joins Jeffrey Brown at the 9:30 Club to share a few of them.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Many of you may know Bob Boilen as the host and creator of NPR's “All Songs Considered,” one of the most downloaded music podcasts.

At the popular 9:30 Club here in Washington, D.C., recently, Jeffrey Brown sat down with Boilen, whose own band was the first to play at that club 35 years ago.

His new book, “Your Song Changed My Life,” recounts the history of modern music through voices Boilen has encountered.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  Your book, “Your Song Changed My Life,” right, that's true.  I mean, a lot of people would say that, but why?  Have you figured out what it is that — about music that has that impact?

BOB BOILEN, Author, “Your Song Changed My Life”:  I think it's so visceral.

Music is so different than everything else.  It's not tangible.  You don't see it.  It hits you on a level that is deeper than what we do and see in everyday life.  I think it's pure emotion and tone, and a lyric.  Somebody saying a lyric that repeats over and over can be a call to action for somebody.

I tell stories of people whose lives were changed by a song, and often in those formative years, what some people call the reminiscence bump, where you're more likely to be susceptible to something, with hormones raging, or the first time you ever like heard somebody go, YAH!, you know, like, those things are impactful because they're firsts.  And…

JEFFREY BROWN:   You were looking for those moments from people.

BOB BOILEN:  Well, then it wasn't hard to find, either because so many musicians — there are 35 in my book, from — you know, you get Jimmy Page or a new artist like Hozier, or St. Vincent.

You get artists who became musicians because something like that happened to them, where they heard a song on the radio while they were 8 years old strapped to the back seat of a car.

Or, for Jimmy Page, he moved into a house that was empty and there was a guitar in that house, the only thing, right?
JEFFREY BROWN:  Did you see themes emerge when you’re talking to all these different musicians, anything that really stood out or surprised you?

BOB BOILEN:  Well, I think one thing is that parents (listen) you have a large influence on what your kids are going to like.

And for my generation, I was rebelling against my parents’ music.


BOB BOILEN:  But that’s not true anymore.  Most kids embrace their parents’ music.  Most kids look back with some sense of, I want to know more.

I’m curious what’s going to happen in the land of playlists.  Like, is your kid going to inherit your playlists?  Not likely.

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