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Listen to Pop!: Exploring a Musical Genre

Listen to Pop!: Exploring a Musical Genre

by James E. Perone


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Listen to Pop! discusses the evolution of pop music in America from the 1950s to the present, diving into its impact on American culture, particularly through its association with television, and its enduring legacy.

Listen to Pop!: Exploring a Musical Genre provides readers with an overview and a history of the pop music genre. The bulk of the book is devoted to analysis of 50 must-hear musical examples, which include artists, songs, and albums. Additionally, the book contains chapters that analyze the impact of pop music on American popular culture and the legacy of pop music, including how the music is used today in film and television soundtracks and in television commercials.

The book deals with all of the various subgenres of pop music from the 1950s to the present. The selection of material discussed reflects the artists, songs, and albums topping the pop music charts of the period, and while the volume examines these items individually, it also discusses how our definition of pop music has evolved over the decades. This combination of detailed examination of specific songs, albums, and artists and discussion of background, legacy, and impact distinguishes it from other books on the subject and make it a vital reference and interesting read for all readers and music aficionados.

  • Analyzes a diversity, stylistically and otherwise, of must-hear examples
  • Traces the evolution of pop music from the end of World War II to the present
  • Extensively discusses the interplay between popular music and television
  • Identifies certain formulas for success, such as the "oldies" chord progression through the 20th century to the present

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440863769
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/01/2018
Series: Exploring Musical Genres
Pages: 247
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

James E. Perone, PhD, is Margaret Morgan Ramsey professor in music and associate dean of the faculty at the University of Mount Union, Alliance, OH.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword ix

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

1 Background 1

2 Must-Hear Music 15


Adele 19

"Ain't That a Shame": Bringing R&B to Pop 23

Louis Armstrong in the 1960s 26

"At Last": A Ballad for All Time 30

Back to Black 33

The Backstreet Boys 39

The Beatles 41

Beyoncé 46

Justin Bieber 49

"Blueberry Hill": From Glenn Miller to Fats Domino 52

Blue-Eyed Soul: The Righteous Brothers and Hall & Oates 54

Bubblegum Pop 56

Glen Campbell and Country Pop 59

Mariah Carey 62

The Carpenters 66

Petula Clark 69

"Crazy" 72

Céline Dion 74

The Fame 77

"Gangnam Style" 82

"Georgia (on My Mind)" 84

The "Girl Groups" of the 1950s and 1960s and Their Legacy 86

"Hallelujah" 88

"Happy Together" 92

"I Will Always Love You" 95

Instrumental Hits 97

Michael Jackson 103

Like a Virgin 107

"Love Me Tender" and Other Pop Hits of Elvis Presley 112

The Lovin' Spoonful: "Do You Believe in Magic" and Other Hits 115

"MacArthur Park" 119

"Mack the Knife" 122

Barry Manilow: "I Write the Songs" and Songs He Actually Did Write 125

Motown 127

"On Broadway": Brill Building Songs That Keep Coming Back 129

Overexposed Earworms: "Macarena," "Who Let the Dogs Out," and "I'm Too Sexy" 132

The Piano Men: Elton John and Billy Joel 135

Purple Rain 140

Saturday Night Fever 145

Britney Spears 148

Taylor Swift 151

Tapestry 158

James Taylor 163

Television and Pop Music 166

"Theme from New York, New York" 170

"There's a Kind of Hush" and Other British Invasion Ballads 172

"Up, Up and Away" and Other Hits of the 5th Dimension 175

"We Are the World" 177

Stevie Wonder 180

3 Impact on Popular Culture 187

4 Legacy 199

New Versions of Old Hits 199

Jukebox Musicals 201

Sampling Existing Pop Recordings 203

Persistent Music 206

"Madison Avenue" and Pop Music 207

Hollywood and the Use of Pop Songs 210

Continuing Celebrity Status 212

Bibliography 215

Index 229

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