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Crossroads: In Search of the Moments that Changed Music

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Standing at the crossroads - the Mississippi crossroads of Robert Johnson and the devil's infamous meeting - Mark Radcliffe found himself facing his own personal crunch point. Aged sixty, he had just mourned the death of his father, only to be handed a diagnosis of mouth and throat cancer. This momentous time in his life, and being at the most famous junction in music histo Standing at the crossroads - the Mississippi crossroads of Robert Johnson and the devil's infamous meeting - Mark Radcliffe found himself facing his own personal crunch point. Aged sixty, he had just mourned the death of his father, only to be handed a diagnosis of mouth and throat cancer. This momentous time in his life, and being at the most famous junction in music history, led Radcliffe to think about the pivotal tracks in music and how the musicians who wrote and performed them - from Woodie Guthrie to Gloria Gaynor, Kurt Cobain to Bob Marley - had reached the crossroads that led to such epoch-changing music. In this warm, intimate account of music and its power to transform our lives, Radcliffe takes a personal journey through these touchstone tracks, looking at the story behind the records and his own experiences as he goes in search of these moments.


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Standing at the crossroads - the Mississippi crossroads of Robert Johnson and the devil's infamous meeting - Mark Radcliffe found himself facing his own personal crunch point. Aged sixty, he had just mourned the death of his father, only to be handed a diagnosis of mouth and throat cancer. This momentous time in his life, and being at the most famous junction in music histo Standing at the crossroads - the Mississippi crossroads of Robert Johnson and the devil's infamous meeting - Mark Radcliffe found himself facing his own personal crunch point. Aged sixty, he had just mourned the death of his father, only to be handed a diagnosis of mouth and throat cancer. This momentous time in his life, and being at the most famous junction in music history, led Radcliffe to think about the pivotal tracks in music and how the musicians who wrote and performed them - from Woodie Guthrie to Gloria Gaynor, Kurt Cobain to Bob Marley - had reached the crossroads that led to such epoch-changing music. In this warm, intimate account of music and its power to transform our lives, Radcliffe takes a personal journey through these touchstone tracks, looking at the story behind the records and his own experiences as he goes in search of these moments.

30 review for Crossroads: In Search of the Moments that Changed Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    I like Mark Radcliffe. He's an engaging radio presenter and that translates into his books This is the third of his books I've read and, like the others, this is an easy, entertaining and interesting read. Having hit age 60 and (successfully) undergone treatment for tongue and throat cancer, Mark Radcliffe felt he had reached a crossroads in his life. This realisation informs Crossroads: In Search of the Moments that Changed Music. Essentially an exploration into musicians at pivotal moments who I like Mark Radcliffe. He's an engaging radio presenter and that translates into his books This is the third of his books I've read and, like the others, this is an easy, entertaining and interesting read. Having hit age 60 and (successfully) undergone treatment for tongue and throat cancer, Mark Radcliffe felt he had reached a crossroads in his life. This realisation informs Crossroads: In Search of the Moments that Changed Music. Essentially an exploration into musicians at pivotal moments who changed their own trajectory but also changed the course of music history. A reasonably informed music fan will already be very familiar with Robert Johnson making a pact with Old Nick, or the other "seismic" moments detailed here and which include Elvis Presley at Sun Records, Jimi Hendrix, Kraftwerk, Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, the birth of house music, the death of disco, and plenty more. And there's the rub, unlike yer Paul Morleys, Jon Savages or David Hepworths - and despite being well written - Mark Radcliffe just offers up the stories, most of which you will probably know already. I enjoyed it but didn't learn much from reading it. That said, one thing I was suprised to discover is that Matt Bellamy of Muse’s father played guitar in Joe Meek's studio band. So, fine for an undemanding read but don't expect to discover much you didn't already know. Buy it anyway though as Mark Radcliffe is one of the good guys. 3/5

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    Loved this. I am not a massive music geek so a lot of this was new to me. All of the book was enjoyable, either because I was engaged in pleasurable nostalgia over something I remembered well (Nirvana), or because it told me stuff I didn't know about things I thought I was familiar with (the absolute insanity involved in recording 10cc's 'I'm Not In Love'), or because I knew nothing about it at all (quite a lot of the rest). I now have a list of new music to listen to. I listened to the audio ve Loved this. I am not a massive music geek so a lot of this was new to me. All of the book was enjoyable, either because I was engaged in pleasurable nostalgia over something I remembered well (Nirvana), or because it told me stuff I didn't know about things I thought I was familiar with (the absolute insanity involved in recording 10cc's 'I'm Not In Love'), or because I knew nothing about it at all (quite a lot of the rest). I now have a list of new music to listen to. I listened to the audio version, which was a delight, as Mark and Lard on Radio 1 were a fixture of my teens and early twenties. All the digressions and personal reminiscences added to the fun for me. Lovely.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    This is a hugely enjoyable read. Unpretentious music lovers enthusing about their specialist subject and intertwining it with social history is one of my favourite genres and this is a great example of it. Mark Radcliffe is as witty and engaging as you'd expect and I highly recommend the audiobook version. It's testament to how infectious his enthusiasm is that I wanted to listen to the music described after every chapter.

  4. 5 out of 5

    peppersocks

    Reflections and lessons learned: Jim Morrison is a bit of a pranny... A nice little meander through different genres of music that started in the 60s and 70s from icons, some of which are still performing today. Told in the usual expected engaging manner from Radcliffe, with a completely insightful comment about Birmingham and a nod to Wythenshawe hospital at the end. Also any excuse to HAVE to listen to Tapestry again...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diarmuid Fahy

    I enjoyed this very much. It's a personal account, so our musical tastes and opinions didn't always mesh but it has introduced me to a few more characters in music history so that's got to be good. The writing is light and entertaining, touching here and there on darker issues, as is to be expected with any book talking about The Blues. Interesting, entertaining and amusing in equal measure. Time to check out Mr Radcliffe's back-catalogue.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jonny Brick

    A quick tour of popular music with a personal touch (Mark wrote this having recovered from cancer). Meandering is a good way to describe his narrative voice, going hither and indeed thither and breaking off from tangents with other tangents. Lovely, all the same.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    An interesting and amusing piece of work, delivered in the authors trademark laconic style.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Witty and engaging look into musical events that changed the landscape.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dave Ross

    Hurrah for Mark & his return to good health I enjoyed this book, not as much as his others ergo the four star review. Don't be surprised that there are tangents , meanderings aplenty , but it's a unique wander through the music and icons of my youth, and remaining heroes. I have no desire to visit Graceland the view provided by Mark was sufficient, however, what we definitely agree on is Ziggy Stardust. Hurrah for Mark & his return to good health I enjoyed this book, not as much as his others ergo the four star review. Don't be surprised that there are tangents , meanderings aplenty , but it's a unique wander through the music and icons of my youth, and remaining heroes. I have no desire to visit Graceland the view provided by Mark was sufficient, however, what we definitely agree on is Ziggy Stardust.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Matt Whittingham

    One of my favourite radio broadcasters, this is a whistle stop tour though some of the key musical events of the 2oth Century, that signified a cultural or musicial inflexion point. It's written in Mark's upbeat affable style. It's a quick read / listen, I would have welcomed a bit more depth on some of the topcis, but it's an enjoyable read

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ipswichblade

    Another great book about music and life by Mark Ratcliffe

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve Gillway

    An enjoyable stroll around key musical moments for people on a certain demeanor in the company of a warm comforting fountain of what might be construed of as knowledge AKA Mr Radcliffe esq.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kez Hedges

    Absolutely loved it and will be reading again and again!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jim Hobson

    A cracking read full of humorous observations on pretty much the whole history of popular music.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Johnston

    Easy reading, there’s not much in here you don’t already know. One fact I learned though, gorgio Moroder wrote take my breath away, that Top Gun song and thinks it is his finest work.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Skord

    Excellent collection of essays on the coincidences that created the great moments of music.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gemma Carter

  20. 5 out of 5

    SarahK

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carl Graham

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nathan St Pierre

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Roper

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ciaran Kelly

  25. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  27. 4 out of 5

    Justine Harvey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mattbanner

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  30. 4 out of 5

    david jacks

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