I Shot a Man in Reno: A History of Death by Murder, Suicide, Fire, Flood, Drugs, Disease, and General Misadventure, as Related in Popular Song (Paperback)
  • I Shot a Man in Reno: A History of Death by Murder, Suicide, Fire, Flood, Drugs, Disease, and General Misadventure, as Related in Popular Song (Paperback)
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I Shot a Man in Reno: A History of Death by Murder, Suicide, Fire, Flood, Drugs, Disease, and General Misadventure, as Related in Popular Song (Paperback)

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Paperback 240 Pages / Published: 15/10/2008
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"I Shot A Man In Reno" highlights the diversity of the audience that is touched by and attracted to music that embraces and acknowledges death, at the same time subverting the cliches.Ask the gangsta rap devotee. Ask the grizzled blues fanatic and the bearded folk fan. Ask the goth and the indie kid. Ask and they will all tell you the same thing: death and popular music have forever danced hand-in-hand in funereal waltz time. The pop charts and the majority of radio stations' playlists may conspire to convince anyone listening that the world spins on its axis to the tune of "I love you, you love me" and traditional matters of the heart. The rest of us know that we live in a world where red roses will one day become lilies and that death is the motor that drives the greatest and most exhilarating music of all.Drawing upon original and unique interviews with artists, such as Mick Jagger, Richard Thompson, Ice-T, Will Oldham and Neil Finn among many others, "I Shot a Man In Reno" explores how popular music deals with death, and how it documents the changing reality of what death means as one grows older. It's as transfixing as a train wreck, and you won't be able to put it down. As an epilogue, "I Shot A Man In Reno" presents the reader with the 50 greatest death songs of all time, complete with a brief rationale for each, acting as a primer for the morbidly curious listener.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9780826428578
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 299 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 14 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Compelling...Divided into chapters covering everything from the common teenage penchant for suicide songs to the evolution of murder ballads and gangsta rap, Thomson displays considerable knowledge of music past and present." - Publishers Weekly
"Through brilliant prose and exhaustive research, [Thomson] presents a potted cultural history which argues that songs about death reveal just as much about how we live... In addition to his own articulate and persuasive thoughts, Thomson's interviews with top table musos such as Paul McCartney, Nick Cave, Richard Thompson and Neil Finn result in one of the most informative and fulfilling music books you're ever likely to read. An essential volume for anyone interested in pop as an all-pervasive social force that soundtracks our lives right up to our last breath"Record Collector, December 2008
Title mention in an article written by the author in The Observer, November 2008
"Intriguing, intelligent analysis...Thomson's real strength is his understated empathy and common sense, most prominent in his excellent chapter on emo." - Time out, October 2008
"This is an interesting book, full of lists and little facts that make for some interesting conversations, but it's also thought-provoking... [Thomson] really knows how stuff... There's plenty here to keep you reading and reading" - Buzz, Autumn 2008
Mention -Book News, November 2008
Mention --Book News, November 2008
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Mention Book News, November 2008
Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4st1\: *{behavior: url(#ieooui) }/* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name: "Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow: yes;mso-style-parent: "";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0in;mso-para-margin-bottom: .0001pt;mso-pagination: widow-orphan;font-size:10.0pt;font-family: "Times New Roman";mso-ansi-language: #0400;mso-fareast-language: #0400;mso-bidi-language: #0400;}"The difference between a good movie and a greatmovie is effort and soul. The Soulof Screenwriting: On Writing, Dramatic Truth, and Knowing Yourself is aguide for improving one's screenplay by infusing the core of the story andits characters with the human voice and enthusiasm that takes a movie intolegendary status. Advising againstthe formulaic writing many screenwriters fall into, The Soul ofScreenwriting is motivating and highly recommended reading for anyaspiring screenwriter." -The Midwest BookR
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Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4/* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name: "Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow: yes;mso-style-parent: "";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0in;mso-para-margin-bottom: .0001pt;mso-pagination: widow-orphan;font-size:10.0pt;font-family: "Times New Roman";mso-ansi-language: #0400;mso-fareast-language: #0400;mso-bidi-language: #0400;}"Graeme Thomson's book is more than justcornucopia of the splendidly grim and myriad ways we speak of death inrhyming couplets backed with a catchy beat. It's a brain-teasing queryinto the strange, abstract place death occupies in our culture." -Eyeweekly
"Over the course of this thoughtful essay, Thomson... is a surefooted guide through the musical graveyard. His writing is never dry or academic, but he smartly puts each song into its sociological and psychological context. It's fascinating to see how concepts of death changed over the decades, as Thomson points out trends such as the explosion of death songs during the psychedelic era.... He makes excellent use of quotes from some A-list songwriters; he interviewed Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Will Oldham and Nick Cave, and he draws on other sources for remarks from other musicians..... At first, it may seem puzzling that songs on this grim topic have become hits and even popular standards, but Thomson persuasively shows that death very much belongs in pop music."Signal To Noise
"The long subtitle is a tad inaccurate. This isn't a history; it's a commentary. Damned good one, too, by a journalist who knows his stuff and struts it by spanning recorded death ditties from the English folk song "John Barleycorn," which covers its morbidity by "really" being about growing and preparing the ingredients of beer, to gangsta rap. Refreshingly, he refrains from rock-critic snideness in chapters focused on the teen death songs of the 1950s and 1960s, murder ballads, metaphysical trips to the other side from the high '60s, suicide songs, afterlife musings, gangsta's urban reclamation of the murder song, and mourning songs. He wisely sticks to the genuinely demotic song tradition, ignoring the so-called classic popular songs of Tin Pan Alley and the musical theater (the work of schooled composers), and primarily to the products of that tradition's commercial devolution since the rise of sound recording. Enthralling from the first page, he guarantees rereaders with a penultimate chapter on Europe's top 10 funeral songs and an appendix of his own, an annotated top 40 of death." Ray Olson, Booklist
"Rock songs...are as much about death as they are about love, argues Greame Thomson in his brilliant I Shot a Man In Reno." - ForeWord--Sanford Lakoff
It's evident from I Shot A Man in Reno that author Graeme Thomson possesses an undying obsession with songs of mortality. To pursue the subject through such terrain as murder ballads, gangsta rap and '50s teen schmaltz, and to make it a topic of conversation with musicians ranging from Ron Sexsmith to Ice-T, one almost has to. ...The book becomes increasingly compelling with each grim avenue it explores.Thomson's well-organized essays provocatively plumb everything from rock n' roll's self-destruction myth to funeral top 10s (really!), but the book is at its strongest when the author supports his own thoughts with those of his interviewees. While the casual, colloquial prose is far from deathless, better musical surveys are hard to find, and the results are positively life affirming. Paste Magazine--Sanford Lakoff
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"it's short and readable though intelligent and erudite" Reviewed in Classic Rock Magazine, 1 february 2009--Sanford Lakoff

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