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Podcast Recommendation: A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs

For a long time my podcast listening has been almost exclusively nerdy tech podcasts mixed up with nerdy theology podcasts, with an occasional news or true crime mixed in to liven things up. Somehow I have almost entirely bypassed any that were music-related. (I did listen to a couple episodes of Song Exploder right after it debuted, but it just didn’t hook me.)

Somewhere along the line, Rob Weinert-Kendt on Twitter started linking to A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs by British host Andrew Hickey. It took me only a couple episodes and I was hooked.

The format of the podcast is one song per 30-ish minute episode, but each episode covers far more than just the titular song. Hickey provides background on the artist, the influences that formed that artist, stories about the creation of the song, and so on. You come away from the episode having learned a lot not just about a particular song but also about the developing music scene in the Americas (and, once you get in a ways, in Europe). He starts with the first inklings of what would become rock music as they emerged in the big band scene. (Episode 1: “Flying Home” by the Benny Goodman Sextet.)

500 episodes is a significant feat for any podcast, and setting out that goal in the title of your show seems rather ambitious, but I’m willing to bet that Mr. Hickey has all 500 songs charted out, and the moxie to see it through. He’s currently up through Episode 157 (“See Emily Play” by Pink Floyd), and is publishing a lot of bonus material for Patreon subscribers. I’m learning a lot as I go, so even if some interruption keeps the series from completion, it’s still been an excellent investment of time.

So, if you’re interested in rock music, A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs is highly recommended.

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