Understanding Popular Music

Understanding Popular Music

Understanding Popular Music

Understanding Popular Music

Synopsis

Understanding Popular Music is an introductory textbook for students which explores the history and meaning of rock and popular music. Roy Shuker's study encompasses every aspect of popular music, from the history of the record industry to the concept of the 'musician', from rock as cultural politics to MTV. Roy Shuker examines the music press; the impact of music videos; the workings of the industry, songs and genres; public performance; fans and subcultures, and the nature of the 'pop star'.* Case studies include contemporary icons such as Frank Zappa, Prince and Madonna* Includes full bibliography and song listings Includes annotated guide to the key texts discussed

Excerpt

Understanding Popular Music is situated in the general field of cultural studies. The term 'cultural studies' became current in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and was initially associated with its institutional base at England's Birmingham University: the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (BCCCS). There is no need here to reiterate the well-known history of the Centre, and discussions of the intellectual antecedents on which it built (see Johnson 1979; Hall 1981; Brantlinger 1990; Grossberg 1992). As Gray and McGuigan observe in their edited selection of key cultural studies readings: 'Since Hall mapped the field according to the distinction between the paradigms of "culturalism" and "structuralism", his own neoGramscian synthesis of "hegemony theory" and a series of "poststructural variants", the field has expanded and become more diverse than it was at the end of the 1970s' (Gray and McGuigan 1993: Introduction). This expansion partly reflected a developing interest in North America, Australia, and New Zealand in cultural studies, and the establishment of further institutional bases.

While there in no sense exists a cultural studies 'orthodoxy', there is now a general recognition that cultural studies embraces the analysis of institutions, texts, discourses, readings, and audiences, with these all best understood in their social, economic, and political context. The cultural studies 'project' is eloquently put by Grossberg: 'Popular culture is a significant and and effective part of the material reality of history, effectively shaping the possibilities of our existence. It is this challenge-to understand what it means to "live in popular culture"-that confronts contemporary cultural analysis' (Grossberg, 1992:69).

As a cultural studies text in search of such understanding, Understanding Popular Music is underpinned by several interrelated . . .

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