Rockin' Out: Popular Music in the USA

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9780205137039: Rockin' Out: Popular Music in the USA

This book proceeds from the assumption that music is always a social indicator; that is, it tells us something about the world around us. It responds to, mirrors, and influences the society in which we live. This is the only book that covers the total range of US popular music in the 20th century, locates them in their social context, and provides an interdisciplinary analysis of their significance. This comprehensive social history is organized chronologically around themes and issues which explicate the connection between music and other social processes. These include the multicultural influences in US popular music, the impact of technological advances, the significance of class, race, gender, ethnicity, and region, the importance of political context, and the power of consumer preferences. This book is necessarily encyclopedic; still, it balances information with analysis. Divided into two sections, “Historical Background” and “The Contemporary Era,” the book begins with the invention of sound recording and the rise of Tin Pan Alley, and proceeds through discussions of blues, country, and rhythm and blues as historical background, then discusses rock and soul, punk and disco, rap and metal, and alternative music as well as all of the sub-genres and stylistic variants of these sounds.

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About the Author:

Reebee Garofalo has taught at the University of Massachusetts Boston since 1978.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

In some ways it is hard for me to believe that I am already doing a second edition of Rockin' Out. At the same time, I am thankful for the opportunity to tweak that handful of nagging blunders that occurred to me about five minutes after going to press with the first edition. It also allows me to correct an omission from the preface to the first edition—the acknowledgment of Brad Martin who worked as my research assistant, contributing everything from footnote corrections to substantive comments on the first edition.

Rockin' Out now takes popular music history into the twenty-first century with commentary on everything from Eminem's controversial performance at the 2001 Grammy Awards to the outcome of the Napster trial. Earlier parts of the book have also been made more user friendly by telling the story in a better nuanced way and converting a number of artist and song lists from the text into easy-to-understand tables, which give the reader a graphic sense of historical patterns and preserve the narrative for more important analytic points. The addition of a music index makes the second edition more useful as a source book. Of course, the major change in the second edition is a completely rewritten Chapter 11, "Alternative to What?: Packaging Pop in the Nineties," which includes new sections on electronic dance music, women in rock, teen pop, Latin(o) popular music, contemporary hip hop, and the future of music and the music industry in the digital age.

As with the first edition, I am deeply indebted to a number of people for their insight and comments. I particularly want to thank Craig Morrison, McGill University, for his challenging comments and detailed review of the entire first edition. There are also a number of reviewers who have field tested Rockin' Out, providing useful insights for this revision. These include: Shannon Dudley, University of Washington; Anahid Kassabian, Fordham University; Fred Maus, University of Virginia; Mark Springer, St. Cloud State University; and Robert Walser, UCLA. Some great conversations with Kai Fikenstscher, Murray Forman, and Deborah Pacini Hernandez helped me to better understand electronic dance music, contemporary hip hop, and Latin(o) popular music, respectively. A special thanks goes to Tai Hernandez for his critical reading of the last chapter. Finally, there is the cadre of students from the History of Rock `n' Roll class I taught at Tufts University while on sabbatical, who contributed to the research for the new material in the book: 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). Their work was useful in helping orient me to contemporary trends, and they were a joy to work with.

You may notice that Rockin' Out is now published by Prentice Hall; those corporate mergers I write about in the book are not limited to the music industry. I am pleased with my new home and my relationship with my new editor, Chris Johnson, and his assistant, Evette Dickerson. I am looking forward to a long and productive relationship with them. One of the reasons I'm so pleased is that they contracted the same production team I had for the first edition, with Susan McNally at the helm and Denise Hoffman on Quark. I also want to thank Tara L. Masih for the fine copyedit, and Katherine Stimson, who kept me awake nights marveling at the new subject and music indexes. As with the first edition, Dave Sanjek, archivist for BMI and a consummate scholar in his own right, gets major kudos for coming across with most of the new photographs.

As for me, I am in my twenty-third year at the College of Public and Community Service at UMass Boston, and I still wouldn't trade this job for any other. On the home front, my wife, Deborah Pacini Hernandez, got tenure (for the third time), our daughter, Radha, got married (and continues to teach in the Boston public schools), and our son, Tai, graduated from Art school with a degree in photography (and took a job at HMV where he passes on his musical knowledge and store discounts to us). On the more sorrowful side, my dad died at age 92, after living a long and full life. Now in her nineties, my mom continues to be a trooper, although she doesn't play much jazz piano anymore. On the whole, life is good, and like the beat, it goes on. I have been blessed with good friends, interesting colleagues, and a loving family; I dedicate the second edition to them and to the memory of my father. Reebee Garofalo
April, 2001

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