Rockin' Out provides a comprehensive social history of popular music in the United States from the heyday of Tin Pan Alley to the current sounds of electronic dance music and teen pop, from the invention of the phonograph to the promise of the Internet. It offers an analysis and critique of the music itself and the conditions of its production and consumption. The book is organized chronologically and thematically around particular genres/styles of music and addresses such dimensions as race, class, gender, ethnicity, technology, copyright and the structure of the music industry as they affect the development of the music. The author examines the Tin Pan Alley era, mass media and the construction of race, the rise of rhythm and blues, the eruption of rock 'n' roll, the reaction to rock 'n' roll, the sixties, fragmentation of pop, the poles of pop, the eighties, youth culture and censorship, packaging pop for the new millennium and the future of music. For music fans and historians.
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Reebee Garofalo has taught at the University of Massachusetts Boston since 1978. He is the co-author of Rock 'n' Roll is Here to Pay (1977), editor of Rockin' the Boat (1992), and co-editor of Policing Pop (2003). He has written numerous articles and lectured internationally on a broad range of subjects relating to popular music and the music industry and serves on the editorial collective of the Journal of Popular Music Studies. As a fan, musician, and educator, he is immersed in music, particularly its use as a community resource and an educational tool.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
As I try to collapse the prefaces from the first two editions of Rockin' Out into a third, I find that most of the reasons I offered initially for writing the book are still true today. Popular music—playing it, listening to it, learning from it, teaching others what I know—has been one of the organizing principles of my life ever since I can remember. It energizes me, provides the soundtrack for significant moments in my life, and helps me to navigate the world around me. In the society at large, discussions of its significance can be found everywhere from family dinners and Saturday night parties to boardrooms and congressional chambers. There has also been an increasing interest in popular music courses on college and university campuses. The fact that popular music has been a source of pleasure for millions of people all over the world is reason enough for listening to it. But popular music is also a social and political indicator that mirrors and influences the society in which we live. This is the reason for studying it. Rockin' Out offers one way to do that.
In my view, popular music cannot be fully understood simply as a set of "musical" elements in the traditional sense, and then measured against some abstract aesthetic notion of quality. While it is always important to explore the specificities of the music itself in studying popular music, it is equally important to recognize that the musical text is as much a product of its social and political context as any individual's creativity or talent. Because the enslavement and subsequent oppression of African-Americans and resulting cultural interactions have had such a profound effect on the development of our popular music, my inclination is to view popular music first through the lens of race. Other crucial demographic variables include age, gender, and ethnicity. Technological advances and the political economy of the music industry have also been important in shaping the development of popular music. Finally, popular music invariably develops in relation to the prevailing political climate in a given era. These, then, are the themes that run through this book.
Because the notion of "popularity" has an obvious quantitative dimension, I attach a certain amount of importance to sales data. Accordingly, Rockin' Out is peppered with popularity chart listings and references to "gold" and "platinum" records—the sale of 500,000 and 1 million album units, respectively. At the same time it is important to note that commercially successful artists and records may or may not be the most influential or artistically important. Historical accounts, musical analyses, critical reviews, and audience reactions are important qualitative indicators that must also be factored into any discussion of popular music.
Rockin' Out now takes popular music history into the twenty-first century with commentary on everything from peer-to-peer file sharing networks and their implications for copyright to the crucial changes that have defined popular music culture in the aftermath of 9/11. Earlier parts of the book have been made more user friendly by converting a number of artist and song lists from the text into easy-to-understand tables that give the reader a graphic sense of historical patterns and preserve the narrative for more important analytic points. The addition of a song index made the second edition more useful as a source book.
The biggest changes in the third edition have been the inclusion of a compilation CD, which offers a sampling of the popular styles that dominated the twentieth century, and a foldout chart of "The Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music" that originally appeared (under a different title) in my first, co-authored book, Rock 'n' Roll Is Here to Pay in 1977. The original version of the chart has made recent appearances in Edward R. Tufte's elegant graphics text, Visual Explanations (1997), and in the Whitney Biennial 2004—the cutting edge contemporary art exhibit of the Whitney Museum—as part of an installation by Dave Muller. Included in Rockin' Out, third edition, is an updated version of the genealogy that has never before been published. Anyone interested in obtaining a poster-size version of the chart should go to www.reebee.net for more details.
Naturally, a book of the scope of Rockin' Out does not fall from the sky. In addition to original research, it draws on my own previous work and that of countless others. While encyclopedias, journal articles, and book-length studies have, of course, provided me with a wealth of secondary source material, discussions over the years with Bill Adler, William Barlow, lain Chambers, Jannette Dates, Murray Forman, Simon Frith, Donna Gaines, Andrew Goodwin, Herman Gray, Larry Grossberg, Charles Hamm, Dave Harker, Simon Jones, Steve Jones, Charlie Neil, George Lipsitz, Dick Lourie, Portia Maultsby, Susan McClary, Keith Negus, Richard Peterson, Tricia Rose, Danny Schechter, Larry Shore, Philip Tagg, Robert Walser, Peter Wicke, and many others too numerous to mention have been invaluable in shaping my own positions. Brad Martin worked as my research assistant for the first edition, contributing everything from footnote corrections to substantive commentary.
In preparation for the second edition, Craig Morrison offered challenging comments and a detailed review of the entire first edition. Students from the History of Rock 'n' Roll class I taught at Tufts University while on sabbatical contributed to the research for the second edition and included Ana Garnecho and Christina Lembo (teen pop), Lisa Wichter (women), Elise Podell (MP3), Matthew Baron (r&b), Mark Scholnick (rap), Laura Horstmann and Zach Berge (turntablism), Allie Schwartz and Alison Clarke (swing), and Suzanne Szwarc (Latin pop). Conversations with ICai Fikentscher, Murray Forman, and Deborah Pacini Hernandez helped me to better understand electronic dance music, contemporary hip hop, and Latin(o) popular music, respectively.
Marcus Breen gave the final chapter of the third edition a critical read. Dave Sanjek demonstrated over and over that he is one of the most knowledgeable and forthcoming researchers in the field, and also deserves special mention in his capacity as BMI archivist for helping to grace these pages with a treasure trove of photographs. The late Rick Dutka still occupies a special place in my heart and mind as someone whose knowledge of and love for popular music were as boundless as his political energy and activist spirit.
As to my own previous work, echoes of Rock 'n' Roll Is Here to Pay, the book with which I am most identified, can certainly be detected in Rockin' Out. In this instance, I owe a major debt of gratitude to senior author Steve Chapple whose pioneering contributions to popular music studies helped define the field and pushed me to formulate my own views. My chapter on the history of black popular music that appeared in Split Image, edited by Jannette Dates and William Barlow, informs the discussions of r&.b, soul, and rap that appear in these pages. An earlier version of the discussion of popular music and the civil rights movement was published in Radical America. More detailed versions of my research on mega-events have appeared in Re-Imaging America, edited by Mark O'Brien and Craig Little; Technoculture, edited by Constance Penley and Andrew Ross; and my own Rockin' the Boat. My research on censorship has been published in greater detail in the Journal of Popular Music Studies. It was originally funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, neither of which bears any responsibility for my opinions on the subject. My research for the chapter on Internet music in Policing Pop, edited by Martin Cloonan and me, provides the basis for the discussion of peer-to-peer file sharing networks in Rockin' Out.
Taking Rockin' Out to a third edition has been a very interesting journey. I owe Susannahe Brabant for bringing the book proposal to the attention of Bill Barke at Allyn and Bacon, who offered me a contract. The second edition of Rockin' Out was published by Prentice Hall; those corporate mergers I write about are not limited to the music industry. I have been pleased with my new home and relationship with my editor, Chris Johnson, and his assistant, Evette Dickerson. Chris has been patient enough to listen to a number of my brilliantly conceived ideas for making Rockin' Out better and more useful and has even implemented some of them and offered a few of his own. I look forward to a long and productive relationship with Prentice Hall that goes well beyond the third edition. I have been fortunate to have the same production team for all three editions of Rockin' Out, with Susan McNally at the helm and Denise Hoffman on Quark. Susan coordinates competing needs and schedules with a firm but gentle touch that adds a thoroughly enjoyable warmth and sense of humor to her competence and professionalism. Denise invariably comes up with page layouts and graphic devices that compliment the tone and voice of the book perfectly.
As for me, I am in my twenty-sixth year at the College of Public and Community Service at UMass Boston and I still wouldn't trade it. I have been blessed with good friends, interesting colleagues, and a loving family. Deborah Pacini Hernandez is not just my partner, but also a colleague whose knowledge of popular music has added measurably to my own. Since the beginning of this project she has offered perspective, insight, and criticism that were incredibly valuable and emotional support I could not have done without. Radha has the most eclectic appreciation of music of anyone I know. Tai, whose tastes run more to the cutting edge, is similarly broadminded and knowledgeable. Since the first edition, Radha has completed a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education, married Benny Benzan, and given birth to their first child, S...
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