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The Rise and Fall of Popular Music: A Narrative History from the Renaissance to Rock 'n' Roll Paperback – Jun 15 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 620 pages
  • Publisher: Vhps Trade (June 15 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312142005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312142001
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,682,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on Jan. 17 1999
Format: Paperback
The premise of this book was largely in editorial fashion. I accept this as his perogative however his views were often weakly supported and as a result unfounded. For example he lunches into a discussion about the racial struggles in the music industry. At the end of this section on rap music the reader only comes away with the taste of prejudism in her mouth (and I don't even advocate ganster rap music). The two stars I gave in the rating above were for the presentation of a comprehensive history which I respect. This book is required for a class of mine at the University of Toronto but the material is much too slanted for use as an introduction to the history of popular music. Therefore if you already have a good knowledge in this area and are intersted in new perspectives then this would be the book for you. Otherwise, I would reccomend you read something else first.
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Format: Paperback
This is not a bad overview of American popular music. Mr. Clarke is clearly a jazz fan who regards the days of Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, et al. as the high point from which we have declined, and sees the present state of commercial popular music as a "culture of musical impoverishment." The career of A&R man Mitch Miller, the evil genius whose venality and lack of taste was a landmark in adult pop's precipitous decline in the 1950s, is touchingly portrayed. I think Clarke's conclusions are correct; however, this is a matter of taste to some degree. Many will think differently, no doubt. Read it anyway, along with Will Friedwald's history of Jazz Singing.
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By "jazzyjack" on Jan. 19 2002
Format: Paperback
I particularly liked the start of this book that gave the origins of popular music from Europe.
The author dwells a bit too much on the details of Jazz but his premise is well taken and he shows how and why pop music has become grunge, rap and muzak. He recognizes the originality in performers like the early Elvis and Hank Williams even though he regrets the decline of the real learned Jazz musicians. He shows how the corporate entities and listener surveys have destroyed a promising genre if it can be called that.
Interesting that the Internet seems to be allowingl real musicians to connect with the public directly without needing the middle corporate ground.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book going back to the origins of popular music forms, going through jazz and blues and getting to today's pop music.
A main theme of the book appears to be that the further the music gets away from its roots, the less musical value it has. And then today too much music has just become product to sell with little musical value.
Sometimes a bit too opinionated, but mainly an excellent analysis of the of the fall of pop music.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Decline and Fall from Prez to Poop Feb. 1 2000
By S. Dougherty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is not a bad overview of American popular music. Mr. Clarke is clearly a jazz fan who regards the days of Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, et al. as the high point from which we have declined, and sees the present state of commercial popular music as a "culture of musical impoverishment." The career of A&R man Mitch Miller, the evil genius whose venality and lack of taste was a landmark in adult pop's precipitous decline in the 1950s, is touchingly portrayed. I think Clarke's conclusions are correct; however, this is a matter of taste to some degree. Many will think differently, no doubt. Read it anyway, along with Will Friedwald's history of Jazz Singing.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good Survey Jan. 19 2002
By "jazzyjack" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I particularly liked the start of this book that gave the origins of popular music from Europe.
The author dwells a bit too much on the details of Jazz but his premise is well taken and he shows how and why pop music has become grunge, rap and muzak. He recognizes the originality in performers like the early Elvis and Hank Williams even though he regrets the decline of the real learned Jazz musicians. He shows how the corporate entities and listener surveys have destroyed a promising genre if it can be called that.
Interesting that the Internet seems to be allowingl real musicians to connect with the public directly without needing the middle corporate ground.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
From Art to Product Feb. 13 2002
By Bernie Koenig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book going back to the origins of popular music forms, going through jazz and blues and getting to today's pop music.
A main theme of the book appears to be that the further the music gets away from its roots, the less musical value it has. And then today too much music has just become product to sell with little musical value.
Sometimes a bit too opinionated, but mainly an excellent analysis of the of the fall of pop music.
Rise and Fall is right ! Nov. 19 2014
By Big Band Leader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Having been a big band leader and professional musician until recently, I must applaud this
book, because a lot of rock writers seem to want to revise history and try to tell us that there
was nothing worthwhile before the Beatles, or even before Elvis. Oh, come on! Mr. Clarke
rightly points out the things leading to the "fall" and it didn't start with Mitch Miller. The post war
disinterest on the part of the general public in Bop, probably set the stage for an increase
in Novelties, and don't forget the explosion in Broadway Cast albums on LP. shortly
thereafter. But the music on singles became increasingly banal around the mid-50's
while adults seemed to go more for LP packages and singles continued a downward
slide.(musically) as a vehicle for teen-age hits. By the 60's with guitar goups and such things got worse and as jazz writer Stanley
Dance put it in the mid 60's "The amateur musician with his unkempt voice and clumsy
rhythm has found a remarkably renumerative position in a di-it-yourself culture" How right
that was, and, as as someone put it, where did that lead to? Just tune in a top 40 radio station
an hear for yourself !
Fascinating Rhythm Aug. 27 2013
By Mollytjm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of American music, especially jazz and blues. It's fascinating, well written and researched and a good read.


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