Marc Myers Defines 45 Hit Songs That Transcend Time

Steve Adubato sits down with music journalist, Marc Myers, to discuss his new book, “Anatomy of a Song,” about the 45 hit songs that resonate, define good and bad memories and transcend time. Myers reveals the surprising backstories of the iconic hits from the 50s to the 90s, as told to him by the artists themselves.

2/7/17 #2015






"Hi, I'm Steve Adubato. More importantly, welcome to One on One at the Tisch WNET Studio here in the heart of Lincoln Center. It is our honor to welcome Marc Myers, who is the author of a book called Anatomy of a Song. You are a very talented music journalist. You've been doing this for how long? Since 2010. Hmm. Love music? Love it. Always have? Live and breathe it. Because? Because it just takes you to a different place. It wakes up the poetry inside of you, and you can just feel the heartbeat of the artist who recorded it, if the music's good. The premise of this book... you analyzed 45 hit singles from the 1950s to the '90s? 1952 to 1991. Okay. Get right into some of them? Yeah. We were talking about this before we got on the air. I told you one of the songs I was listening to a lot recently was Stevie Wonder's Love's in Need of Love Today. That makes it on the list? Oh yeah. And there's a Stevie Wonder story? Huge. Go. Stevie Wonder, when he wrote the song, he doesn't write traditionally, obviously, because of the lack of sight. So he has to feel his way through a song, and he often would be staying in hotels, he'll play his Fender Rhodes, and he'll hum. He'll just hum the lyrics along. And when he finally gets the sound of what he likes, then he'll start adding words. But when I was interviewing him, he wanted to illustrate it for me. But when I asked him a question, the line went dead. And I was terrified that I had asked him the wrong question, he was gonna end the interview. And I was waiting... waiting and waiting and all of a sudden, he says, "Can you hear me?" And I said, "Yeah Stevie, I can hear you." And he literally plays the harpejji, this instrument he has that's a combination guitar/piano. Hmm. And he sang the entire song to illustrate a point of how he feels his way through a lyric. What was your reaction when he did that? My teeth were in the back of my hand to keep myself from asking any other question. As soon as I heard him singing, I said to myself, "Do not ask a question!" "Do not ask a question!" It was hair raising to hear him, not singing and performing, but singing to merely illustrate his art. How about this one? Rod Stewart, Maggie May, makes the list, but there's also a Rod Stewart story? Rod Stewart was just..."