to Kanye West, from Stephen Foster to Coldplay, The Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings covers the vast scope of its subject with virtually unprecedented breadth and depth. Approximately 1,000 key song recordings from 1889 to the present are explored in full, unveiling the stories behind the songs, the recordings, the performers, and the songwriters.
Beginning the journey in the era of Victorian parlor balladry, brass bands, and ragtime with the advent of the record industry, readers witness the birth of the blues and the dawn of jazz in the 1910s and the emergence of country music on record and the shift from acoustic to electrical recording in the 1920s. The odyssey continues through the Swing Era of the 1930s; rhythm & blues, bluegrass, and bebop in the 1940s; the rock & roll revolution of the 1950s; modern soul, the British invasion, and the folk-rock movement of the 1960s; and finally into the modern era through the musical streams of disco, punk, grunge, hip-hop, and contemporary dance-pop. Sullivan, however, also takes critical detours by extending the coverage to genres neglected in pop music histories, from ethnic and world music, the gospel recording of both black and white artists, and lesser-known traditional folk tunes that reach back hundreds of years.
This book is ideal for anyone who truly loves popular music in all of its glorious variety, and anyone wishing to learn more about the roots of virtually all the music we hear today. Popular music fans, as well as scholars of recording history and technology and students of the intersections between music and cultural history will all find this book to be informative and interesting.
Steve Sullivan is editor and owner of LDI Publications (starting as a reporter in 1985, becoming managing editor in 1989, and its owner since 1999), which publishes the Resort Development Law Reporter and the Digest of State Resort Development Regulations, and also serves as associate editor of the D.C. Real Estate Reporter. The seeds of this book were planted from 1983-86 when he researched and wrote Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music (cover author and editor Joel Whitburn contracted Sullivan under his Record Research, Inc.). He is the author of Va Va Voom (Rhino Books/General Publishing Group); Bombshells: Glamour Girls of a Lifetime (St. Martin’s Press); and Glamour Girls: The Illustrated Encyclopedia (St. Martin’s Press). Sullivan has provided secondary material for some of Joel Whitburn’s Billboard-chart books after 1986, most notably editions of the Pop Annual, as well as fresh research data for a contemplated new edition of Pop Memories.
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