360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story by Dave Marsh

360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story

By Dave Marsh

  • Release Date: 2012-10-01
  • Genre: Music
Score: 3.5
From 87 Ratings
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Dave Marsh’s Legends and Legacy represents a condensed history of Columbia Records at its best. Its relationship to Sean Wilentz’s book, 360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story, is complementary, but not parallel. Sean’s book is the objective story, and mine, the subjective one. This groundbreaking eBook contains 90 second sound samples of all 263 tracks.

Marsh chronicles the history of the label with 263 of the most important recordings over the past 125 years.  Steve Barnett conceived “a collection of the best, not necessarily the biggest.” Thus, some big hits are absent while many relative obscurities are present. Yet, we hope, the fundamental artistic achievement of Columbia as a company is represented in every area: classical, rock, jazz, blues, Broadway, country, dance, soul and R&B, gospel, spoken word. 

Another restriction, this one more arbitrary, is that no performer has more than three selections. The goal in making those multiple selections is to express the artist’s development or, in the case of, say, Duke Ellington or Bob Dylan, the multiple facets of the artist’s work. There are ten performers who, for one reason or another, we felt needed three selections to accurately represent them. The emphasis is on performer—the main credited artistic presence in the music. There are at least four songs written by Dylan, his own three plus one by the Byrds, and Benny Goodman and Leonard Bernstein are represented five times each because of work in various collaborative projects.  

Another choice was to use the range of music that Columbia purchased from other companies, including OKeh and the American Recording Company, up through the acquisition of ARC in 1939.

Because the goal is historical, we didn’t divide the material by genre. Columbia was never a chamber music label or a pop vocalist label, or a country, disco, rap, Broadway, rock, blues, R&B, or swing company. It released all of these kinds of music (and a few more) as they presented themselves to be done. So we offer you Columbia in 1956, as the home of honky tonk (Johnny Horton, Ray Price), pop (Doris Day), jazz (Duke Ellington, Errol Garner), show tunes (My Fair Lady), orchestral (Isaac Stern with the Philadelphia Orchestra), and orchestral theatrical music (Candide), plus Guy Mitchell, whose “Singing the Blues” might be claimed as pop, rock, or country. There is no greater tribute to Columbia imaginable than the excellence within all these musical categories.

One of the marvels of digitization is that you can easily program the collection to take you to all the jazz tracks or all the blues or show tunes, if that’s your preference. For musical omnivores, which is a category inclusive of everybody involved in creating the collection, it’s more fun to think of “Better Git It in Your Soul” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” being recorded just two weeks apart.

However you choose to listen, we hope that Legends and Legacy adds to your appreciation of what treasures reside in Columbia’s archives, and adds to your appreciation of the historical story woven by 360 Sound. If you have a tenth the fun I did in compiling it, you’ll rejoice in these riches and hit repeat when it’s over.   –Dave Marsh

What's New in Version 1.0.1
- widget performance improvements


  • Records won’t play

    By Mikel7jj
    On IPHONE 8 11.2.1 the Records won’t play anyone else have this problem?
  • Won't play.

    By SummerUintah
    The app played for a long time. Months ago it stopped. I don't know if it has anything to do with the new iOS on my iPad. Wasn't it made for iOS 10.3.3? I bought the app. A waste of money if it wont work.
  • Don't bother

    By normthedog
    Don't bother to buy this book unless you haven't updated your IOS since 2012. The music samples don't work with the modern updates, as others on here have testified. Sorry folks.
  • Doesn’t work on iOS & Mac

    By Jukie2
    360 Sound was a great iBook but it doesn’t anymore on new iOS and macOS now. Turntable feature doesn’t work on new OS’s and devices. Please fix it for new devices.
  • Fascinating text and sampling

    By nimbleland
    I grew up listening to Columbia Records, but I had no idea that the history went back as far as 1916. The accompanying text is short and full of info and insight. Each music sample run 90 seconds, but that allows you to experience the music as it was in that moment. I even own some of the songs: Art Tatum and Louis Armstrong. I have not reached the 1940s yet, but I am really enjoy this journey through time and music I want to add a few things here. I have read and listened to everything, but the best thing is that every decade is represented by the player of the times. Yes, we start with the oldest player, but not the coiled version that Edison started it with. Then we move on to the player of LP. When you reach the 1950, you start seeing 45 singles. The LP continues until we reach the CD and finally the iTunes version. You only get 90 seconds, but this should entice you to find the full version. Once more if you are having difficulty, talk to iTunes Support or if you have the time, go to a Apple Store and talk to a Genius. For anyone who is into this music, it's worth the extra effort. But let me be clear. I am using an iPhone 5 to watch and listen. There may be real reasons you are having trouble downloading this free book. You should go into your account and Report A Problem. If you have the OS and/or the iOS to play this, all these trouble reports can be solved by contacting iTunes.
  • Very Cool

    By Drumser
    There’s a lot to skip if you want to focus on a specific type of music, e.g. jazz, but having the description right there with the music is a great idea, and good education / background. Yeah the turntable gets to be a bit hokey after a while, but that’s kind of a minor complaint. I’d recommend to any music or history buff.
  • Stuck in Cyberspace

    By SteveinSoCal
    As per numerous comments. This book does not download to ibooks and the only way to remove the empty shell from ibooks is to delete ibooks from the iPad and resinstall. Tried redownloading but no success. So actuaklly I can't tell you if the book is any good or not... luckily it was free, but currently even that is over priced.
  • Thoroughly Enjoyable

    By LFKoolK
    This is a great trip through music history. If you love music, this is a must read and listen. Every page/story reveals a new treasure to be enjoyed. I would really like to see more music history published in this fashion.
  • Fantastic

    By Rejo544
    I never write reviews, but I had to as this is one of the most amazing things I have yet to discover on my iPad. Tons of songs, with their history, that play as if on an old fashioned turntable. It's a big book and it takes over an hour to download, but worth the wait. If you love all kinds of music, you will love this.
  • Download is stuck

    By Jacki Marie
    I started to download this, but it's stuck. The status says downloading, but nothing is happening. I can't delete it either. Anyone know what to do?