100 Albums That Changed Popular Music: A Reference Guide

Overview

Whether on vinyl or in digital form, the album has become an integral part of our cultural history. 100 Albums That Changed Popular Music: A Reference Guide tells the stories behind the most groundbreaking, influential, and often controversial albums ever recorded. Narrative chapters in this chronologically organized volume describe how the albums reflected the political, social, and economic culture of the era. Individual entries discuss these albums histories, the inspiration behind their creation, and why they...

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Overview

Whether on vinyl or in digital form, the album has become an integral part of our cultural history. 100 Albums That Changed Popular Music: A Reference Guide tells the stories behind the most groundbreaking, influential, and often controversial albums ever recorded. Narrative chapters in this chronologically organized volume describe how the albums reflected the political, social, and economic culture of the era. Individual entries discuss these albums histories, the inspiration behind their creation, and why they continue to stand the test of time. Selected on the basis of their popular appeal, historical significance, and influence on later genres, the albums included represent a wide variety of genres, such as blues, jazz, rock, reggae, rockabilly, folk, soul, hip-hop, and country.

Among the featured are releases from the hard-blues explosion of the '60s, including Robert Johnson's King of the Delta Blues Singers, a landmark album whose songs were later covered by the likes of Cream, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones. Punk made its mark in the '70s with such albums as Patti Smith's Horses and the Clash's London Calling. In the '80s Michael Jackson's blockbuster LP, Thriller, not only topped the charts, it become the best-selling record of all time. Diversity defined the '90s, with the most influential albums ranging from Garth Brooks' No Fences, which made country one of the hottest musical genres of the decade, to Dr. Dre's debut, The Chronic, a multi-platinum smash hit that brought West Coast hip hop into the mainstream.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The best thing about any Top 100 list or Best Album Ever magazine story is the inevitable rash of arguments that will start over why, say, The Beatles' Revolver isn't included, or why more Stevie Wonder didn't make the grade….[a]uthor Chris Smith does a fine job of putting his 100 choices into historical context. The book is broken down chronologically; the oldest album dissected is the Anthology of American Folk Music from 1952, and the newest is 1999's Slim Shady LP by Eminem. Smith dedicates about three pages to each album, and he also includes sections on significant producers and albums that almost made the cut."

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The Salt Lake Tribune

"In his preface, Smith (music journalist and professor of cultural criticism, U. of British Colombia) emphasizes that the albums listed in this volume were chosen not for their status as classics or popular favorites, but for their impact on American music and popular culture (though not all the artists are American). The 100 albums that made the grade were all released after the advent of the 12 LP in 1948. Each entry contains a description of the album and its influence; as well as justification, in the form of critical responses, an examination of the scope of its influence, and the author's opinions, for its inclusion. Entries are organized chronologically into seven eras of significant change. This reference includes a timeline of recorded music, an appendix profiling ten important record producers and ten albums that almost made the list, and alphabetical and chronological indexes."

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Reference & Research Book News

"Smith knows this is a subjective process, and he does not expect everyone to agree with him. His criteria for inclusion are not simply commercial success or critical acclaim, but also the degree to which a recording inspired others to imitate it, follow the direction it led,or take up music themselves….this guide provides a though-provoking look at the development of the dominant art form of the last fifty years. It will serve as a useful selection or listening guide for wide range of audiences from high school to adult."

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Lawrence Looks at Books

"[A]n essential reference for any collection strong in popular music history."

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Midwest Book Review/Internet Bookwatch

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313338250
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/30/2006
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRIS SMITH is a Vancouver-based writer and photographer whose credits range from Rolling Stone, Billboard, and MTV to the University of Chicago Magazine and the Journal of Visual Anthropology. In addition to music and film journalism, he has worked as a combat correspondent, a festival producer, a travel writer, an anthropologist, a wildlife photographer, and a musician. He is the author of two volumes of the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History, (Greenwood, 2005) and currently teaches cultural criticism at the University of British Columbia.

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