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Product Details

420 pages. 350+ photographs and illustrations.

NOW SHPPING.


Press Reviews

M Magazine "The striking lay out over the 420 pages and 350 fantastic photos of the hit makers only adds more colour to the stories, the characters and their behaviour – and ultimately the book’s appeal. If you’re into pop and rock history, then you can’t do without this..."

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Different Scene "The calibre of musicians and the infamy of the songs make this book a fascinating read and a must have for any music fans collection of music literature."

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MOJO "Buskin's ace-in-the-hole [is] that he offers an insight into the studio history of each song, via interviews not only with the artists concerned but also with producers and engineers."

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Classic Tracks

The real stories behind 68 seminal recordings


What really went on behind the doors of the world’s top studios while recording The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Nirvana and R.E.M.? How did producers and engineers deal with the legendary egos of Oasis and Paul Simon? Or the haunted perfectionism of Michael Jackson and Phil Spector? And how - between the drugs, the sex, the fights, the tears and the tantrums - did some of the most iconic tracks of our times ever get recorded?

In Classic Tracks, New York Times best-selling author Richard Buskin unearths the true stories behind 68 seminal recordings:

  • How John Lennon put his 15-month drink-and-drugs-fuelled ‘lost weekend’ on hold to nail his first U.S. solo No. 1.
  • Why The Sex Pistols were forced to hide out in the studio as police investigated complaints about them during a session for ‘God Save the Queen’.
  • How Donna Summer’s ‘Love to Love You Baby’ was extended to enhance the sex life of the record company’s president.
  • Why The Police required a referee as much as a producer during the fight-filled sessions for ‘Every Breath You Take’.
  • How two divorces and one very public intra-band breakup didn’t stop Fleetwood Mac from recording ‘Go Your Own Way’.
  • How The Rolling Stones completed their smash hit ‘Start Me Up’ – without spending any time together in the studio.


From rock to rap, pop to hip hop, soul to metal, punk to disco, and jazz to electronica, each chapter draws on original interviews and the recollections of artists, producers and engineers to tell the inside story of an era-defining recording, with in-depth information – including rare original studio photos, lyrics and track sheets – about the relevant recording techniques and creative processes.

Starting with Les Paul (1951) and closing with The xx (2009), via recordings by David Bowie, Miles Davis, The Doors, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Madonna, Metallica, The Pogues, Rihanna, The Who and many more, Classic Tracks offers rare insight into the mindsets and unique talents of the finest musical artists of the past six decades, and reveals how – often against the odds – some of the all-time best-selling, most influential records came into being.

Classic Tracks is a lavishly-printed 420 page full-colour book, with 350+ photos, illustrations and track sheets.

£26.90 £21.50

What's Inside

Insights from the world's most famous studios...

Including: The Record Plant (East, West and Sausalito), The Power Station, Abbey Road (EMI), Motown's Hitsville U.S.A., Gold Star, AIR (London and Montserrat), The Hit Factory, A&R Recording, Westlake, Criteria, CTS, Sarm (East and West), The Townhouse, Rockfield, Strawberry, Hansa Tonstudio, Pathé, Little Mountain Sound and many more.

...and the world's most exceptional engineers and producers

Including: Pete Bellotte, Bruce Botnick, Bill Bottrell, Ken Caillat, Mike Chapman, Roy Cicala, Bob Clearmountain, Jack Clement, Neil Dorfsman, Tom Dowd, Lamont Dozier, Gus Dudgeon, Mitch Easter, Roy Halee, Peter Henderson, Trevor Horn, Bob Johnston, Chris Kimsey, Eddie Kramer, Frank Laico, Laurie Latham, John Leckie, Larry Levine, Steve Lipson, Julian Mendelsohn, Owen Morris, Giorgio Moroder, Hugh Padgham, Les Paul, Sam Phillips, Bill Price, Flemming Rasmussen, Nile Rodgers, Martin Rushent, Ken Scott, Hank Shocklee, John Simon, Eric Stewart, Bill Szymczyk, Shel Talmy, Eric Thorngren, David Tickle, Butch Vig, Tony Visconti, Narada Michael Walden and Shelly Yakus.

in 68 classic chapters...

1. Les Paul & Mary Ford - 'How High the Moon' (1951)
2. Miles Davis - 'Round Midnight' (1957)
3. Jerry Lee Lewis - 'Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On' (1957)
4. ­ The Ronettes - 'Be My Baby' (1963)
5. ­ The Kinks - 'You Really Got Me' (1964)
6. Bob Dylan - 'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands' (1966)
7. The Four Tops - '(Reach Out) I'll Be There' (1966)
8. The Doors - 'Strange Days' (1967)
9. Jimi Hendrix - 'All Along the Watchtower' (1968)
10. The Beatles - 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' (1968)
11. The Band - 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' (1969)
12. Van Morrison - 'Moondance' (1970)
13. ­ Derek & the Dominos - 'Layla' (1970)
14. Marvin Gaye - 'What's Going On' (1971)
15. Don McLean - 'American Pie' (1971)
16. Bob Marley & the Wailers - 'I Shot the Sheriff' (1973)
17. Elton John - 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' (1973)
18. ­ Lynyrd Skynyrd - 'Sweet Home Alabama' (1974)
19. John Lennon - 'Whatever Gets You Thru the Night' (1974)
20. 10cc - 'I'm Not in Love' (1975)
21. Donna Summer - 'Love to Love You Baby' (1975)
22. The Sex Pistols - 'Anarchy in the UK' (1976)
23. Fleetwood Mac - 'Go Your Own Way' (1976)
24. Stevie Wonder - 'Pastime Paradise' (1976)
25. ­ The Eagles - 'Hotel California' (1977)
26. David Bowie - 'Heroes' (1977)
27. The Bee Gees - 'Stayin' Alive' (1977)
28. Kate Bush - 'Wuthering Heights' (1978)
29. Chic - 'Le Freak' (1978)
30. ­ The Who - 'Who Are You' (1978)
31. Blondie - 'Hanging on the Telephone' (1978)
32. ­ Ian Dury & the Blockheads - 'Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick' (1978)
33. Elvis Costello and the Attractions - 'Oliver's Army' (1979)
34. The Knack - 'My Sharona' (1979)
35. Supertramp - 'The Logical Song' (1979)
36. Devo - 'Whip It!' (1980)
37. R.E.M. - 'Radio Free Europe' (1981)
38. The Rolling Stones - 'Start Me Up' (1981)
39. The Human League - 'Don't You Want Me' (1981)
40. Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force - 'Planet Rock' (1982)
41. Madness - 'Our House' (1982)
42. The Police - 'Every Breath You Take' (1983)
43. Frankie Goes to Hollywood - 'Relax' (1983)
44. Depeche Mode - 'People Are People' (1984)
45. Tina Turner - 'What's Love Got to Do With It' (1984)
46. Bryan Adams - 'Run to You' (1984)
47. Bruce Springsteen - 'Born in the USA' (1984)
48. Madonna - 'Like a Virgin' (1984)
49. Dire Straits - 'Money for Nothing' (1985)
50. ­ Talking Heads - 'Road to Nowhere' (1985)
51. The Smiths - 'The Queen is Dead' (1986)
52. Paul Simon - 'You Can Call Me Al' (1986)
53. Whitney Houston - 'I Wanna Dance with Somebody' (1987)
54. The Pet Shop Boys - 'It's a Sin' (1987)
55. New Order - 'True Faith' (1987)
56. The Pogues - 'Fairytale of New York' (1987)
57. Public Enemy - 'Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos' (1988)
58. Pixies - 'Monkey Gone to Heaven' (1989)
59. Metallica - 'One' (1989)
60. The Stone Rose - 'Fools Gold' (1989)
61. Nirvana - 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' (1991)
62. Michael Jackson - 'Black or White' (1991)
63. Green Day - 'Basket Case' (1994)
64. Tricky - 'Black Steel' (1995)
65. Oasis - 'Wonderwall' (1995)
66. Justice - 'D.A.N.C.E.' (2007)
67. Rihanna - 'Umbrella' (2007)
68. The xx - 'Crystalised' (2009)