Friday, November 14, 2014

Oh Yeah?

I just read Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé by Bob Stanley, a British journalist who's been on the music beat for years.

The book, at around 600 pages, is a whirlwind tour of 60 years of popular music, starting with the early days of rock and roll.  And Stanley includes all genres--soul, country and western, heavy metal, reggae, dance--it's all pop music to him.  The writing is lively and he definitely has a love for this stuff.  There's also some insightful, if idiosyncratic, views.

If the book has a problem, it's inherent in the project--this is essentially a hit-and-run history of the music.  I recently read a 900+ page book about the Beatles that only takes us up to the end of 1962. It was one of the best things I ever read on the Beatles, or on popular music in general.  Meanwhile, Stanley deals with this seminal band mostly in one short chapter.  And only the biggest acts get a chapter.  Most major artists get a page or two.  Some aren't even mentioned.

If you're well-versed in the subject, perhaps there's not that much new here, but if you want an overview, it's a pretty good job.

PS  My computer gave "Beyoncé" the accent without my doing anything.

web page hit counter