The hefty and striking coffee-table book is billed as an "illustrated timeline," a phrase that's both accurate and modest. The illustrations are extraordinary, handsomely laid out to tell their own stories, with many photos no one outside of archivists at the Missouri Historical Society has likely ever seen. Those stunning images, coupled with the witty and knowledgeable writing of co-authors Steve Pick (a veteran music writer and longtime KDHX DJ) and Amanda E. Doyle (writer of five previous books, including 100 Things to Do in St. Louis Before You Die and To the Top! A Gateway Arch Story), sprawl across 170-plus entries covering centuries of St. Louis music. Put plainly, it will change the way you think of this city and its culture.
"I knew almost everybody in the book," says Pick. "But to see them all in one place and follow this development over 100 years of recorded history is something else. The breadth just overwhelmed me. I knew these musicians as individuals, but I didn't think of them as part of a bigger St. Louis musical story."
Reedy Press, a St. Louis publisher with whom Doyle had previously worked, originally approached her to suggest the project in 2016. The book follows the model of Reedy's recently published Nashville Sound, but its soul derives from the depth of knowledge both Doyle and Pick bring to their subjects, whether they are covering legends like Grant Green and Tina Turner or scenes like the Way Out Club or the fanzines of the '80s.