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History of pop music - any book recommendations?


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Old 26-03-2013, 10:54
IzzyS
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I've been listening to older music (well 'old' to me, mainly 70s-80s and a few 60s tracks) over the last while.

I thought it might be interesting to read a book about the history of modern/pop music or something similar. I looked on Amazon but some seem very expensive (out of print), or have reviews indicating the reader needs knowledge of different lesser known terminologies to make sense of it, which put me off.

I'd be interested in reading something fairly in depth (though preferably in paperback, then I might be able to take it on holiday with me next week ) but im not sure what to go with - any recommendations?.
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:22
mushymanrob
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sorry no, but i think theres a market opportunity!

ever thought of searching online? for a breif history i mean , not a book. the problem is that there is no one evolutory line. you can find out about rock, but that ignores pop, soul, dance, etc. i think that theres a need for a chronological skeleton that can be built on by people wanting to look further into a style. its important to understand the evolutions of differing styles in context to the age they were in.... and to understand the mood of the nations young at the time... a prime example of this is punk. looking back and judging it by todays values many would think 'wtf'? but in context and against the mood of a generation it spoke volumes.
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:23
Inkblot
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I've been listening to older music (well 'old' to me, mainly 70s-80s and a few 60s tracks) over the last while.

I thought it might be interesting to read a book about the history of modern/pop music or something similar. I looked on Amazon but some seem very expensive (out of print), or have reviews indicating the reader needs knowledge of different lesser known terminologies to make sense of it, which put me off.

I'd be interested in reading something fairly in depth (though preferably in paperback, then I might be able to take it on holiday with me next week ) but im not sure what to go with - any recommendations?.
If you're interested in the history of pop from its very earliest days in 19th century America, you could check out After The Ball by Ian Whitcomb. It was published in 1972, so not very up-to-date, but you can find very cheap copies on Amazon and also read the first few pages on "look inside". Whitcomb was a one hit wonder in the 1960s and went to work as a songwriter and author in the US and the book was considered one of the best of its kind when it was published.
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:56
IzzyS
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sorry no, but i think theres a market opportunity!

ever thought of searching online? for a breif history i mean , not a book. the problem is that there is no one evolutory line. you can find out about rock, but that ignores pop, soul, dance, etc. i think that theres a need for a chronological skeleton that can be built on by people wanting to look further into a style. its important to understand the evolutions of differing styles in context to the age they were in.... and to understand the mood of the nations young at the time... a prime example of this is punk. looking back and judging it by todays values many would think 'wtf'? but in context and against the mood of a generation it spoke volumes.
Yes, thats what im interested in, the link between music and culture and how certain styles became popular and died out etc. There have been numerous TV documentaries about specific times (the punk scene or 70s in general or the 60s in general - the culture and music scene at that time) but nothing really covering everything, as such (that im aware of). I've been looking for something to read anyway, so this came to mind since I haven't really read any books specifically about music and culture, I thought it'd be interesting.

There probably are some good websites I'd imagine, ill maybe take a closer look tonight, thanks.
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:58
IzzyS
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If you're interested in the history of pop from its very earliest days in 19th century America, you could check out After The Ball by Ian Whitcomb. It was published in 1972, so not very up-to-date, but you can find very cheap copies on Amazon and also read the first few pages on "look inside". Whitcomb was a one hit wonder in the 1960s and went to work as a songwriter and author in the US and the book was considered one of the best of its kind when it was published.
Thats maybe a bit too early but could still be interesting, thanks.

Thanks for the replies
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Old 26-03-2013, 12:30
Domestiques
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Faber book of pop.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Faber-Bo.../dp/0571179800

I read it in 95, its a weighty tome and obviously wont have anything post 95, but its a good read.
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Old 26-03-2013, 19:32
IzzyS
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Faber book of pop.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Faber-Bo.../dp/0571179800

I read it in 95, its a weighty tome and obviously wont have anything post 95, but its a good read.
That seems to have really bad reviews but the description sounds good?.
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Old 26-03-2013, 20:44
CLL Dodge
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The Orbis partwork "The History of Rock" 1982-1984 was fantastic.

Never found a single volume book to match it.
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Old 26-03-2013, 21:05
marcusgv
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I think 'Retromania' by Simon Reynolds is excellent, if a little negative, about modern pop music but he covers a lot of past genres.

I would also recommend Paul Morley's 'Words and Music' which is very cheap on Amazon, it's not a history but is extremely good in terms of how to write about pop music and deals with the pop music and culture link which is so important.

On the academic side there is Middleton`s 'Studying Popular Music' which is excellent in terms of detailed analysis of popular forms of music but is clearly an academic text.

I love the 33 and a 3rd series in which each volume is a detailed study of an individual album and there are some great ones there, check wikipedia for the list.
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Old 26-03-2013, 21:15
calico_pie
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Paul Morley is probably a bit marmite, but I really enjoyed his book Words and Music.

He can get a bit too pretentious at times, but he is a good writer, and some of the stuff about his early days at NME is pretty interesting.
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Old 27-03-2013, 00:32
rfonzo
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Faber book of pop.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Faber-Bo.../dp/0571179800

I read it in 95, its a weighty tome and obviously wont have anything post 95, but its a good read.
That seems to have really bad reviews but the description sounds good?.
I am surprised it has such bad reviews when it is supposed to be so definitive. Perhaps, people prefer to read about a specific genre of music as opposed to something that broad.
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Old 27-03-2013, 09:34
Domestiques
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Its a long hard read, but pretty definitive, its not something I would go back to but if you are looking for a history of pop, this is pretty much it in one book.
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Old 27-03-2013, 10:11
IzzyS
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I am surprised it has such bad reviews when it is supposed to be so definitive. Perhaps, people prefer to read about a specific genre of music as opposed to something that broad.
Its a long hard read, but pretty definitive, its not something I would go back to but if you are looking for a history of pop, this is pretty much it in one book.
Maybe. I've ordered a copy anyway, so I'll give it a go.

Thanks for the help
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