When Words Fail | Granta

When Words Fail

Ed Vulliamy

Can music make the world a better place? Can it really ‘belong’ to anyone? Can the magic, mystery and incertitude of music – of the human brain meeting or making sound – can it stop wars, rehabilitate the broken, unite, educate or inspire?

From Jimi Hendrix playing ‘Machine Gun’ at The Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 to the Bataclan under siege in 2015, Ed Vulliamy has lived the music, met the legends, and asked, when words fail, might we turn to music? There’s only one way to find out, and that is to listen

  • Published: 04/07/2019
  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781783783373
  • 130x20mm, 496 pages

Intriguing, deeply felt

Graeme Thompson, Mail on Sunday

An ambitious exploration of the soundtrack of Vulliamy's eventful life and how much music inspired him

Mark Brennock, Irish Times

Wise and wonderful

Church Times

The Author

Ed Vulliamy is the author of When Words Fail, Amexica and The War is Dead: Long Love The War. He has been an Observer journalist for 20 years and is the author of the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th anniversary liner notes.

More about the author →

Ed Vulliamy on Granta.com

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

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