Don't Stop the Music by Justin Lewis

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1958 Johnny Cash plays the first of many concerts at San Quentin State Prison, California. It had become traditional for the prison to stage a New Year’s Day musician’s union extravaganza for the 4,000 inmates, and it just so happened that Cash was touring the west coast of the US when he and his band were asked at short notice to appear on a bill also featuring dancers and a 17-piece jazz ensemble. He accepted, although his bass guitarist Marshall Grant is forbidden from bringing in a toy pistol (a standard prop in their stage act).

In the captive audience is 20-year-old Merle Haggard, serving a 15-year sentence for petty crimes. ‘He had the right attitude,’ Haggard later recalled. ‘He chewed gum, looked arrogant and flipped the bird to the guards.’

With entries for every day of the year, ranging from mini-essays to pithy and engaging sentences, Don’t Stop the Music is a novel musical companion – a way of charting your year through the notable and trivial events in the lives and careers of pop stars and recording artists.

Whether it be the day your favourite album was released; the time your least favourite rocker went to see your favourite disco diva in concert; when that K-Pop star released their first single; or Serge Gainsbourg last outraged a TV audience, there are surprising or informative events from the history of popular music for every single day of the year. And Justin Lewis can put them all at your fingertips.