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

ISBN-10: 0195341546
ISBN-13: 9780195341546
Edition: 2009
Authors: Elijah Wald
List price: $24.95
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Description: "There are no definitive histories," writes Elijah Wald, in this provocative reassessment of American popular music, "because the past keeps looking different as the present changes." Earlier musical styles sound different to us today because we  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 6/1/2009
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Size: 6.75" wide x 9.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.694
Language: English

"There are no definitive histories," writes Elijah Wald, in this provocative reassessment of American popular music, "because the past keeps looking different as the present changes." Earlier musical styles sound different to us today because we hear them through the musical filter of other styles that came after them, all the way through funk and hiphop. As its blasphemous title suggests, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll rejects the conventional pieties of mainstream jazz and rock history. Rather than concentrating on those traditionally favored styles, the book 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. And 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 for example 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. Written with verve and style, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll shakes up our staid notions of music history and helps us hear American popular music with new ears.

Elijah Wald is a musician who teaches blues history at UCLA. His books include How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll, Global Minstrels, and Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Amateurs and Executants
The Ragtime Life
Everybody's Doin' It
Alexander's Got a Jazz Band Now
Cake Eaters and Hooch Drinkers
The King of Jazz
The Record, the Song, and the Radio
Sons of Whiteman
Swing That Music
Technology and Its Discontents
Walking Floors and Jumpin' Jive
Selling the American Ballad
Rock the Joint
Big Records for Adults
Teen Idyll
Twisting Girls Change the World
Say You Want a Revolution...
Epilogue: The Rock Blot and the Disco Diagram
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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