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360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story — Launch News

360 Sound is now appearing in its various forms and beginning to receive major press notice.

The New York Times last week ran a wonderful preview of the book, with some background on how it came to be, here

In Los Angeles, the Grammy Museum has mounted a major exhibition, also entitled 360 Sound, bringing the book to life with interactive features and relics from Columbia’s history. Some of the latter, especially, are amazing: Kid Ory fans will be delighted.

A preview of the show in the L.A. Weekly, which hails SW as “America’s hippest historian,” appears here.

The exhibition opens today, November 7, with a special press reception, and will be on display into 2013.

Much more to come soon.

Columbia Records: New SW book be to published October 30

Yesterday, Columbia Records announced

the publication in October of SW’s new book,

360 Sound.

Advance order Amazon, B&N


July 30, 2012, New York, NY – Columbia Records will celebrate its 125th anniversary with the release of a book titled 360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story on the great American record label and its role in initiating recorded music, cultivating great artists, and igniting cultural change. Written by Pulitzer Prize-and Grammy nominated author and historian Sean Wilentz, the book provides a journey through Columbia Records’ storied past and its contributions to entertainment from the invention of commercial recording through the present day.

360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story, published by Chronicle Books, will be released on October 30th. It begins in the late 1880’s, when Columbia, under the leadership of Edward Easton, seized upon the phonographic inventions of Thomas Edison and others to offer the public the first commercial musical recordings. The book goes on the explore the rich stories of how Columbia’s artists and producers have redefined American music and performance over the past 125 years, at once reflecting and shaping changes in the wider culture.

Simultaneously, Columbia Records will release a deluxe package, which will include, in addition to a hard cover copy of the Wilentz book, a separate book, written by Dave Marsh, entitled 360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story: Legends and Legacy. Marsh has culled from Columbia’s vaults a collection of 263 songs and tracks of the greatest historical, as well as musical, significance, and his book offers his thoughts on each selection. The package also includes a beautifully crafted drive with all 263 recordings.

360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story will also be available as an e-book through multiple platforms.

Columbia’s list of major performers, past and present, is unsurpassed and includes much of the most important, and beloved music in all genres, including pop, rock, country, show tunes, classical, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and blues. Artists recorded by Columbia and its subsidiaries have included Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis, Leonard Bernstein, Johnny Cash, Beyonce, Adele, Billy Joel, Al Jolson, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Robert Johnson, Bing Crosby, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett, Simon and Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, Neil Diamond, Aerosmith, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Yo-Yo Ma, LL Cool J, James Taylor, Philip Glass, Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill, Dixie Chicks, John Mayer, Jack White, and more.

360 Sound includes 300 rare and intimate photographs from the Columbia archives and sidebar discussions of crucial developments and performers written by eminent music historians Dave Marsh and Colin Escott. The book offers a virtual history of the music industry from its infancy, tracing Columbia’s pivotal technological as well as business innovations, not least its invention of the LP. It also reflects on the connection between Columbia’s artists and music and sweeping cultural and political changes, from the emergence of mass commercial culture to the rise of the civil rights movement and beyond.

The release of 360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story will be celebrated with a launch event in New York on Oct. 30th. Additionally there will be an interactive exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. An event is set for November 7th at the Museum on opening day.

360 Sound author Sean Wilentz is one of the nation’s most prominent historians. His books and commentary on music, politics, and the arts have received numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination, and his writing on music has been nominated for a Grammy Award. He is currently the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University.

Dave Marsh has written more than 20 books on rock and popular music. He has written extensively for publications including Rolling Stone and Playboy. Since 2004, he has hosted a two hour weekly show on XM/Sirius Radio.

Chimes of Freedom on Los Angeles Radio, Wednesday, 2/15

SW will be appearing on two Los Angeles radio shows on Wednesday, February 15, to discuss, among other things, the new Amnesty International release, Chimes of Freedom.

With Cynthia Fox, KLOS, 3:15 p.m


With Jon Wiener, KPFK, 4:00 p.m.


In connection with the Bob Dylan Examiner’s Christmas Gift Guide, SW has given a brief interview about Bob Dylan in America here.


Amnesty International today announced the impending release, on January 24, of an extraordinary 4-CD set of Bob Dylan songs performed by some of today’s greatest recording artists. The collection honors the fiftieth anniversary of AI’s formation — which happened to coincide with the young Bob Dylan’s arrival on the New York folk scene. The eclectic collection includes performances by Joan Baez (“Seven Curses”), Elvis Costello (“License to Kill”), KNAAN (“With God on Our Side”), Mark Knopfler (“Restless Farewell”), Diana Krall (“Simple Twist of Fate”), Ziggy Marley (“Blowin’ in the Wind”), My Chemical Romance (“Desolation Row”), and Pete Seeger (“Forever Young”) — 80 artists in all, performing 73 songs in new releases. SW, with great  pleasure, contributed the liner notes. Details and complete track list here.

SW at KGB, Tuesday, November 15

Sean Wilentz and some good friends will be reading, performing, and hanging out at the KGB Bar at 85 E. 4th Street, NYC, this Tuesday, November 15. The festivities start at 7.

BOB DYLAN IN AMERICA: Author’s Readings in October

To help celebrate the paperback publication of Bob Dylan in America, Sean Wilentz will be making two appearances in October, reading from and discussing the book. Further readings in November to be announced soon.


92YTRIBECA LECTURE HALL, 200 Hudson Street
Tuesday, October 11
12 PM
Tickets available for $18.00 here


FIRST PARISH CHURCH, 1446 Massachusetts Avenue
Thursday, October 27
Entrance free


The paperback edition of Bob Dylan in America will be officially published by Anchor Books on Tuesday, October 4.
It can be pre-ordered here and here.

Bob Dylan in America Paperback Edition

Anchor Books will publish the paperback edition of Bob Dylan in America next month.
Stay tuned for announcements of readings and public events in New York and Cambridge.

BD Birthday Celebration in LA, Grammy Museum, May 24, 7:30 p.m.

Forever Young: Celebrating Bob Dylan’s 70th Birthday
Presented by The GRAMMY Museum

Tuesday, May 24, 2011; 7:30pm

Forever YoungHis accolades include a GRAMMY award, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, as well as inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Few artists can come close to achieving the musical and historical prominence of Bob Dylan. To commemorate Dylan’s 70th birthday, we invite you to join us for a special screening of Murray Lerner’s documentary, The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965. Described by the New York Times as “a remarkably pure and powerful documentary,” the film captures the musical genius of a young Bob Dylan and the controversy that surrounded him. After the screening, acclaimed writer and Rolling Stone contributing editor Mikal Gilmore, and Princeton professor and distinguished historian Sean Wilentz will discuss the film, Dylan’s career, and the importance of the evening’s occasion. Gilmore’s numerous outstanding works include some of the most revealing interviews Bob Dylan has ever given. Critics from the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and the Los Angeles Times praise Wilentz and his book, Bob Dylan in America, for uncovering Dylan’s art as never before. Gilmore and Wilentz will take audience questions and be available to sign copies of their books.

Doors open at 7:00pm. Admission is FREE; reservations required. Members receive priority seating. To reserve your seats, please call 213.765.6800 or e-mail programs@grammymuseum.org.