The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Chuck Berry, James Brown are artists whose innovations changed the landscape of music for generations to come. But these names may rate only a blank stare from anyone under the age of 13. Robbie Robertson, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee; his son, Sebastian; and music managers Jim Guerinot and Jared Levine intend to remedy this lack of cultural knowledge. Their Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World (Tundra Books, Oct.) is geared to young readers and profiles 27 of the music world's most influential artists.
The genesis for the book, says editorial director Tara Walker, was "Robbie's son, Sebastian's observation from working with children that kids respond much more strongly to really good songs performed by exceptional artists than to typical children's music. As Robbie tells it, if you lay a little Marvin Gaye or the Beatles on kids, they light up."
Compiled like a kid-friendly playlist, the Legends lineup features originators, rebels, and risk-takers across diverse musical genres and provides short profiles and little-known facts about each musician and their respective musical era. It's filled with full-color illustrations—many by illustrators whose work has been featured in Rolling Stone—and includes two CDs of original songs by the musicians featured in the book.
And while its target audience may be young readers, Legends doesn't dodge the difficulties these recording artists faced and the very human foibles that sometimes led to their tragic end. "Robbie, Jim, Sebastian, and Jared have an incredible passion and reverence for music," says Walker. "Their intent with Legends, Icons & Rebels is to share that passion and their musical discoveries with kids, and introduce them to some of the greatest musicians of all time. The powerful and moving stories behind these musicians and the stunning artwork and design make this a truly universal book that will speak to all ages—kids, parents and grandparents."
Today , at the Downtown Stage at 10:30 a.m., Robbie and Sebastian Robertson will participate in an onstage interview with music journalist Alan Light. Immediately following there will be a poster signing at the Tundra Books/Random House of Canada booth (2856).