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The United States has produced some of the most influential and admired musicians and performers of the 20th century. Musical genres such as the blues, jazz, and rock and roll originated in this country and are now loved throughout the world, while American composers, singers, producers, and songwriters-from Aaron Copland to Miles Davis, from Leadbelly to Elvis Presley, from Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin-have contributed significantly to the musical landscape in other genres, such as folk and classical music. The American Popular Music books are essential resources for the study and appreciation of the key personalities, recordings, performances, instruments, and styles of music that make up popular music in America, enhanced by dozens of photographs, a glossary, a discography of recommended listening, and a chronology.

Born out of the field hollers, work songs, and spirituals sung by African-American slaves and tenant farmers as they were forced to work in the fields of the South, blues music often speaks of oppression, sadness, and love, topics that transcend racial and ethnic boundaries. Early musicians such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and W. C. Handy established the standards of the genre, with the hit songs "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" and "Memphis Blues," respectively. Their affecting lyrics would later serve as inspiration for future blues performers such as Muddy Waters, Leadbelly, and John Lee Hooker. The blues would become the foundation of nearly every form of American music created in the 20th century, especially jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and hip-hop. Its influence on American music and other artistic forms of expression has been astounding, and blues remains a popular category of music today.

About the Author:
Dick Weissman is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon and the University of Denver

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This seven-volume set (the eighth volume, consisting of a comprehensive index, comes only with the purchase of the complete set) on major musical branches is aimed at high school readers. Boasting contributors with some impressive credentials, it promises to be an ideal research tool. But the 300-500 A-to-Z entries in each volume tend to be cute and overly general (e.g., the definition of scat singing begins, "Bim, bop, bam, and dwee dooda ya. A vocal style in which the singer uses nonsense syllables to improvise on a melody"), and the bibliographies are a bit spotty. The major problem, however, is the number of factual errors and discrepancies found in several of the volumes. For example, Hoffmann's (library science, Sam Houston State Univ.) Rhythm & Blues lists the wrong birth year and city for Stevie Wonder as well as the wrong release year for his Songs in the Key of Life album; Weissman's (The Music Business) Blues mysteriously has Jimi Hendrix (who died in 1970) living until 1976; and Hill's Classical states that composer Howard Hanson's best-known work is his "Symphony No. 3 (the `Romantic')." True, but the `Romantic' subtitle belongs to his Symphony No. 2. The Country, Rock & Roll, and Folk volumes fare better. Each of the seven volumes includes approximately 50 black-and-white photographs, some general bibliographic information, a chronology, and a glossary of technical terms; all the volumes are well indexed, though not all contain fairly extensive, annotated discographies that would be useful. Bottom Line Despite its potential and some fascinating entries, the number of factual errors for even well-known figures makes this set less than suitable as a research tool. Since the volumes are available separately, Carlin's (Southern Exposure) Folk is recommended for high school libraries.-James E. Perone, Mount Union Coll., Alliance, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816053100
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/2005
  • Series: American Popular Music Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword     vii
Preface     xi
Introduction     xv
A-to-Z Entries     1
Appendixes     255
Glossary of Music Terms     269
Further Reading and Research     277
Editorial Board of Advisers     281
Index     283
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