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 asmusical, 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.