The Rise and Fall of Popular Music Hardcover – 26 Jan 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
However, having just put down the book, it struck me that there had been no mention of Frank Zappa (unless I missed it?).
I am no huge fan of Zappa (my tastes run to a rather simpler form of rock music) though many of my friends are, and I have sat through many hours of Zappa nights over the decades. But his music seems to cover range of styles from the hilariously satirical (e.g. Dancing Fool) to cerebral attempts to fuse rock with jazz or even classical forms of music. This would seem to place Zappa up there with many of the jazz names who have attempted more "serious" works over the years, and about whom Mr Clarke writes at some length.
I realize that Mr Clarke can't be expected to mention everybody in the long history of pop, but I'm just intrigued about why he should have missed out a towering rock force like Zappa - when other more dire West Coast rock bands of the Sixties rate marches in his history.
I also realise that this missive should is not so much a book review for Amazon as a topic that I would love to discuss with Mr Clarke, but I've been unable to find a way of commenting directly to you, Donald - despite checking out your very good website (www.donaldclarkemusicboc.com) - where, funnily enough, you include a comprehensive entry on Zappa's career. Obviously, Mr Clake is well aware of Zappa but apparently didn't think it worth mentioning him in book. I am intrigued.
How Lewis (email@example.com).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The author dwells a bit too much on the details of Jazz but his premise is well taken and he shows how and why pop music has become grunge, rap and muzak. He recognizes the originality in performers like the early Elvis and Hank Williams even though he regrets the decline of the real learned Jazz musicians. He shows how the corporate entities and listener surveys have destroyed a promising genre if it can be called that.
Interesting that the Internet seems to be allowingl real musicians to connect with the public directly without needing the middle corporate ground.
A main theme of the book appears to be that the further the music gets away from its roots, the less musical value it has. And then today too much music has just become product to sell with little musical value.
Sometimes a bit too opinionated, but mainly an excellent analysis of the of the fall of pop music.
book, because a lot of rock writers seem to want to revise history and try to tell us that there
was nothing worthwhile before the Beatles, or even before Elvis. Oh, come on! Mr. Clarke
rightly points out the things leading to the "fall" and it didn't start with Mitch Miller. The post war
disinterest on the part of the general public in Bop, probably set the stage for an increase
in Novelties, and don't forget the explosion in Broadway Cast albums on LP. shortly
thereafter. But the music on singles became increasingly banal around the mid-50's
while adults seemed to go more for LP packages and singles continued a downward
slide.(musically) as a vehicle for teen-age hits. By the 60's with guitar goups and such things got worse and as jazz writer Stanley
Dance put it in the mid 60's "The amateur musician with his unkempt voice and clumsy
rhythm has found a remarkably renumerative position in a di-it-yourself culture" How right
that was, and, as as someone put it, where did that lead to? Just tune in a top 40 radio station
an hear for yourself !