How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll An Alternative History of American Popular Music

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-10-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Overthrowing the conventional pieties of mainstream jazz and rock history, Elijah Wald traces the evolution of popular music through developing tastes, trends and technologies--including the role of records, radio, jukeboxes and television--to give a fuller, more balanced account of the broad variety of music that captivated listeners over the course of the twentieth century. Wald revisits original sources--recordings, period articles, memoirs, and interviews--to highlight how music was actually heard and experienced over the years. In a refreshing departure from more typical histories, he focuses on the world of working musicians and ordinary listeners rather than stars and specialists. He looks at the evolution of jazz as dance music, and rock 'n' roll through the eyes of the screaming, twisting teenage girls who made up the bulk of its early audience. Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and the Beatles are all here, but Wald also discusses less familiar names like Paul Whiteman, Guy Lombardo, Mitch Miller, Jo Stafford, Frankie Avalon, and the Shirelles, who in some cases were far more popular than those bright stars we all know today, and who more accurately represent the mainstream of their times. "Wald's book is suave, soulful, ebullient and will blow out your speakers." --Tom Waits "Wald is a meticulous researcher, a graceful writer and a committed contrarian.... An impressive accomplishment." --Peter Keepnews,New York Times Book Review "One of those rare books that aims to upend received wisdom and actually succeeds." --Kirkus Reviews "It is as an alternative, corrective history of American music that Wald's book is invaluable. It forces us to see that only by studying the good with the bad--and by seeing that the good and bad can't be pulled apart--can we truly grasp the greatness of our cultural legacy." --Malcolm Jones,Newsweek "Wald wears his scholarship lightly, but his ideas and insights are substantial.... The attention-grabbing title, for all its counterintuitive appeal, gives scant indication of the book's ambitions and achievements." --David Suisman,The Sixties

Author Biography

Elijah Wald is a musicians, writer and historian, whose books include Escaping the Delta:Robert Johnson and the invention of the Blues Narcocorrida about the modern Mexican ballads of drug trafficking and global Ministers : Voices of World Musics. He has taught music history at UCLA and written for a variety of newspaper and magazines.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Amateurs and Executantsp. 13
The Ragtime Lifep. 25
Everybody's Doin' Itp. 36
Alexander's Got a Jazz Band Nowp. 49
Cake Eaters and Hooch Drinkersp. 60
The King of Jazzp. 71
The Record, the Song, and the Radiop. 84
Sons of Whitemanp. 97
Swing That Musicp. 111
Technology and Its Discontentsp. 126
Walking Floors and Jumpin' Jivep. 138
SellingtheAmericanBalladp. 150
Rock the Jointp. 166
BigRecordsforAdultsp. 184
Teen Idyllp. 199
Twisting Girls Change the Worldp. 213
Say You Want a Revolutionp. 230
Epilogue: The Rock Blot and the Disco Diagramp. 248
Notesp. 255
Bibliographyp. 281
Indexp. 291
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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