How the Beatles Destroyed Rock n Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music Hardcover – 27 Aug 2009
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Wald's argument is built through 16 chapters of well-researched and brilliantly argued historical contextualising. (Martin James, Times Higher Education)
Fascinating new book...This is one of those rare books one wishes were longer. (Charles Spencer, Sunday Telegraph)
One of the many pleasures of this meticulously researched, lucidly written, and sometimes startling book is that it makes you want to argue with it. (Charles Spencer, Sunday Telegraph)
The reader is left in suspense while Wald explores the preceding 80 years of popular music, from the earliest days of recorded sound, deftly navigating the evolving complexities of American race relations and the social and economic upheavals of the last century. It's a tour de force. (Jon Dennis, The Guardian)
Its both thrilling and provocative. (Terry Saunton, Record Collector)
Wald explores...80 years of popular music,...deftly navigating the evolving complexities of ...the last century. (John Dennis, The Guardian)
It's a tour de force. (John Dennis, The Guardian)
this appealing book...will be particularly useful to those interested in the intersection of popular music and social climate (M. Goldsmith, Choice)
Blasphemy? Maybe. A spirited and informed polemic? Definitely. (Brian Boyd, The Irish Independent)
About the Author
Elijah Wald is a musician, writer and historian, whose books include Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues; Narcocorrido, about the modern Mexican ballads of drug trafficking; The Mayor of MacDougal Street (with Dave Van Ronk), and Global Minstrels: Voices of World Music. He is currently teaching at UCLA, and contributing regular pieces to the Los Angeles Times.
Top customer reviews
His point about the Beatles focuses on their transition from rock'n'roll entertainers to selfconscious art rockers: he follows this by demonstrating how black and white American musics, separate yet mirror images (of sorts) across the 20th C, then shifted into very different arenas - where James Brown lead black US music in the early 70s Crosby Stills Nash lead white in the early 70s.
I'm simplifying his reading and arguments - this is a book to be read and deliberated upon - but do not be put off by the title: this is a book that I believe most serious music fans will find pleasure in perusing. Which is true of all Wald's books - Narcocorrido gives more information of Mexico's drug wars (only now being touched upon by the UK media) than any other text or medium I can think of; his book on Robert Johnson places that great artist firmly in the music making community he existed in (rather than glorifying him as some sold-his-soul-to-the-devil proto rock star that much writing on RJ does). While Guralnick's hagriographic treatises on dead pop legends and Marcus's pompous treatises on Dylanisms have got much attention over here across the last decade Elijah Wald has been oddly overlooked. Revision time: check this guy!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The best researched book of its kind.
The recent pop history (post 1970) gets a bit name drop intensive. And Wald's thematic exploration seems weaker for that period.
Still, the first chapters for a jazz and swing dance fan like myself were amazing, eye opening.
One negative to note related to the Kindle edition, the illustrations and photos included in the middle of the print edition are not available.
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