Wednesday, September 03, 2014

History of Pop

Might as well throw in my 2 cents on Bob Stanley's Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Story of Pop Music From Bill Haley to Beyonce. Clocking in at just under 600 pages, Stanley's definition of Pop music should appeal to those (like me) who applaud the Rock Hall for inducting many genres.  Stanley's definition of Pop music is all genres as long as you are in the "business" of selling it to a mass audience.

Like the title says, you get a history lesson that reads very quickly.  There's reasons to cheer on Stanley, who is also a member of the Brit band Saint Etienne.  A definitive chapter on the Bee Gees that is long overdue in any music book on that great group's place in history.  Also welcome appraisals of Hall & Oates,  the Turtles, a great chapter on pre-Beatles Pop (set in 1960), and other fine essays on Hip Hop and the Monkees.

There are some misses that with books like this all come down to personal taste. So, we disagree about Madonna, New Wave and even Huey Lewis. And there was a part of me hoping he was going to go all out and champion every guilty pleasure legend.  But it didn't happen.  But, if the Huey Lewis mention gives you pause, then you'll get an idea of how much is covered here.  I find the early chapters best, and think it loses steam as it reaches Beyonce, but Stanley gets credit. Not since Chuck Eddy's definitive Accidental Evolution of Rock 'n' Roll, has someone tried to cover so much, while trying to shine a positive critical light on those that rarely get much ink in Pop music history books.
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