Music is considered by many to be the highest form of art and culture. Music is also considered by many to epitomise their values and tastes, as well as those of other people. Music is very often a product of its time both a reflection of the 'here and now' and a 'recaller' of memories. Meantime, music and youth are usually deemed to hold a special relationship with each other. Music is delivered and sold to youth audiences, and young people on the whole are fans of one music genre or another. Any attempt to study young people' srelationship to music, therefore, is immediately faced with a list of commonly held assumptions–and the above name but few–that need critical evaluation. I could wax lyrical about how my love of music has evolved since a very tender age. I will resist this temptation, however, because this book is partly motivated by a desire to appreciate the role of everyday music beyond those texts, artists and genres that are consumed for personal pleasure. Youth and music may represent a special relationship but young people–like everyone else–exhibit all kinds of different preferences that can frequently lead to pressure, conflict and division. Having said this, the research contained herein shows that different kinds of music and different kinds of young people retain a remarkable bond that has withstood the test of time since at least the early twentieth century (and probably earlier). And whilst not every young person is a music follower, I will argue that music retains a social and cultural force of identification and presentation in nearly all young people's lives, whether they like it or not.
What follows is an attempt to understand how music interacts with young people's everyday lives. In relation to a considerable and expanding body of previous research in this subject area, I will adopt an interactionist perspective to shed light on orthodox structuralist frameworks for conceptualising youth music cultures. Structuralist approaches to studying youth music cultures as macro social units or 'collective wholes' have