How the Beatles destroyed rock 'n' roll : an alternative history of American popular music

by Wald, Elijah.

Format: Print Book 2009
Availability: Available at 4 Libraries 4 of 4 copies
Available (4)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction ML3477.W35 2009
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  ML3477.W35 2009
Cooper-Siegel Community Library Non-Fiction 781.64 WAL
Location  Cooper-Siegel Community Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  781.64 WAL
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 781.64 WALD
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  781.64 WALD
Shaler North Hills Library Non-Fiction 781.64 W
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  781.64 W
"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 otherstyles 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 andtechnologies--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, andinterviews--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 asdance 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.
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.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Wald contends that the Beatles, when they became a studio-bound band, split listening music away from dancing music, creating a bifurcation in pop music as a whole that limits cross-pollination and separates white and black music makers because the latter rarely achieve the financial security to stop playing live for dance-oriented fans. Adamant that he is writing history, not criticism, Wald avoids qualitative assessment as he chronicles popular music from the early 1900s to rap, making frequent comparisons between Paul Whiteman's band and the Beatles. Whiteman, though largely dismissed by critics today, was nearly as popular in his time as were the Beatles in theirs, but for Whiteman the technology to allow his band to stay active without live appearances didn't exist. Wald's quarrel isn't with the Beatles as much as with mainstream media and music-biz publicity that lionize certain musical influences so that the past looks simpler than it was and pop-music history is skewed toward particular artists and styles whose importance is fundamentally more mythic than real. And that's just Wald's main argument. Engrossing stuff.--Tribby, Mike Copyright 2009 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects Popular music -- United States -- History and criticism.
Publisher Oxford ; New York :Oxford University Press,2009
Language English
Description x, 323 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [281]-289) and index.
ISBN 9780195341546 (hardcover : alk. paper)
0195341546 (hardcover : alk. paper)
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