Mark Radcliffe tells the story of the 10 songs which have earned the most money in the history of popular music, and reveals for the first time how much these three minute masterpieces have earned for the people who wrote them.
Radcliffe charts the origins of each great song and celebrates the work of some of the greatest songwriters of the last century; people who helped to change the face of popular music for ever. And he discovers how some phenomenally successful songs were composed in minutes, while others took weeks of painstaking work.
The songs themselves span many decades and musical styles; post war ballads, rock ‘n roll classics and pop standards. Some tell of loss and pain, while others celebrate love and togetherness. But what makes these songs more successful than any others? It’s a question Radcliffe sets out to answer.
He discovers that behind every song lies another story; the story of the music business, copyright and royalties. Radcliffe reveals how deals between songwriters and the music business have made some people very wealthy indeed, and left others fighting for their share in court. And he speculates on what the future might hold as copyright comes under threat from all sides. He asks whether we have seen the last of the multi-million pound song or can a global hit today become one of richest songs of the future?