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Sound System

Sound System

The Political Power of Music

by Dave Randall

Series: Left Book Club

The story of one musician's journey to discover how music can be used as a political tool.

Musicians have often wanted to change the world. From underground innovators to pop icons many have believed in the political power of music. Rulers recognise it too. Music has been used to challenge the political and social order - and to prop up the status quo.

Sound System is the story of one musician's journey to discover what makes music so powerful. Dave Randall uses his insider's knowledge of the industry to shed light on the secrets of celebrity, commodification and culture.

This is a book of raves, riots and revolution. From the Glastonbury Festival to the Arab Spring, Pop Idol to Trinidadian Carnival, Randall finds political inspiration across the musical spectrum and poses the question: how can we make music serve the interests of the many, rather than the few?

Published in partnership with the Left Book Club.

Dave Randall is a musician and activist. He has toured the world playing guitar with Faithless, Dido, Sinead O'Connor and many others. He is the author of Sound System: The Political Power of Music (Pluto, 2017).

'Fascinating ... A deeply intelligent look at music and society and in particular pop's tempestuous relationship with commerce. Thought provoking, readable and clever stuff'

- Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music

'A thrilling trip through the dark corners and secret gardens of the music world! Dave Randall leaves no stone unturned and has produced a work of rare insight'

- Maxi Jazz, lead vocalist for Faithless

'What an imaginative idea, what a terrific, exciting book, weaving together the strands of music, politics and worldwide struggles'

- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

'This engaging, hugely readable book should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the state of the world - and in the essential, life-affirming role music can play in changing it for the better'

- Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music

'Logical and informed, synthesising the historical and the theoretical with a spirit of warmth and accessibility. We need more left wing writing like this. I give only a fraction of a shit about music, and I can't put this down'

- Season Butler

'A wide-ranging and punchy book'

- Dan Hancox, The National

'Very readable and highly enjoyable'

- Socialist Review

5 Stars!

- Songlines

'Ceaselessly fascinating and incredibly well researched, with a narrative voice that's simultaneously highly educated and humbly inviting'

- Pop Matters

'An outstanding book on many different levels'

- International Socialism Journal

Series Preface
1. Roots
2. Culture
3. Partying for Your Right to Fight
4. Getting Political
5. Unity Lost
6. A Short Musical History of Neoliberalism
7. Star Gazing
8. Their Music
9. My Turn
I0. Music of the Arab Revolutions
11. Rebel Music Manifesto
12. Conclusion

Published by Pluto Press in Mar 2017
Paperback ISBN: 9780745399300
eBook ISBN: 9781786800350

129mm x 198mm

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