Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyonce

( 3 )

Overview

An addictively readable, encyclopedic history of pop music in chapters as short and adrenaline-fueled as the best pop songs themselves.

A monumental work of musical history and a book as fun to argue with as to quote from, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is divided into sixty-five brief, chronological chapters about individual songs, bands, musical scenes, and styles from Bill Haley & the
Comets’s “Rock Around the ...

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Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé

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Overview

An addictively readable, encyclopedic history of pop music in chapters as short and adrenaline-fueled as the best pop songs themselves.

A monumental work of musical history and a book as fun to argue with as to quote from, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is divided into sixty-five brief, chronological chapters about individual songs, bands, musical scenes, and styles from Bill Haley & the
Comets’s “Rock Around the Clock” (1954) to Beyoncé’s first megahit, “Crazy in Love” (2003). Bob Stanley—music critic,
pop fan, and musician—recounts the progression of bands from the Beach Boys to the Pet Shop Boys to the Beastie Boys,
explores what connects doo-wop to the sock hop to hip hop,
and reveals how technological changes have affected pop production.

For anyone who has ever thrilled to the opening chord of the Beatles’s “A Hard Day’s Night” or the bubbly beginning of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Yeah! Yeah!
Yeah!
is a vital guide to the rich soundtrack of the second half of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/21/2014
For anyone who’s unfamiliar with the terrain of pop music, critic Stanley’s survey offers a solid introduction to many facets of popular music. While fans of musicians mentioned will not find much new, the author nevertheless provides an intriguing view of the shifting ground of pop music. Of the Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, for example, he writes: Buckingham’s guitar “felt like a continuation of the Macs that had gone before... they still felt like a walk beside a seashore on a windy day, collar pulled up against the spray.” Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “noise was the most commercially successful variant of garage punk.” Stanley covers every musical style that makes up pop music, including country and western, new wave, hip hop, and grunge, and he devotes individual chapters to groups and individuals—the Monkees, the Beach Boys, the Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna—that changed the shape of pop music. In the end, he observes, that “pop music doesn’t have the desirability it once had; it’s not as wantable.” (July)
Stephin Merritt
“Bob Stanley loves and finds surprising connections between a thousand kinds of pop. He makes me want to run to the nearest record store—and move in.”
David Kirby - Wall Street Journal
“Totally delicious…[full of] why-didn’t-I-think-of-that connections… We're incredibly lucky to have this detailed map.”
James Reed - Boston Globe
“Like War and Peace but with a beat… Endlessly readable… [Stanley's] passion and humor make Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! a delicious read even, or rather especially, when it upends your own views.”
Kirkus Reviews
2014-07-16
Exhaustive, exhausting history of pop music. Like so many popular histories that aim for comprehensiveness, this plodding assemblage staggers under its own weight. Even though he claims that "this book is not meant to be an encyclopedia," in trying to tell the story of pop, music journalist, DJ and Saint Etienne founding keyboard player Stanley gets so swamped in name-checking every band and song title that he loses the plot and characters. Instead of focusing at some intelligent length on key figures, genres, trends or shifts in tastes, he is more concerned with touching on everything than doing justice to anything. He's all about connecting the dots, usually patching them together with well-worn anecdotes or conventional wisdom. The book's real juice is in Stanley's scattered opinions, which range from the unusual to the obnoxious. His Brit-skewed viewpoint offers less-than-reverential takes on the Clash and Elvis Costello and stirring defenses of The Monkees, Sex Pistols and Abba, and he delivers a cogent and interesting history of the Bee Gees. Among his many questionable judgments: that "New Morning" (1970) is possibly Bob Dylan's best album or that Bob Marley's music was as "musically simplified as the Bay City Rollers." Stanley, however, does score the occasional apt phrase: Joy Division was "modern pop viewed through night vision goggles—grimy and murky." Abba's hits "sound like a music box carved from ice." The author also writes of the Smiths' "bedsit bookishness" and Belle and Sebastian's "librarian chic," and he correctly notes that "indie" has now "stretched out to become a meaningless catchall term." Unfortunately, all these scattered perceptions fly by in a hazy, numbing blur as Stanley hits the pedal on this breakneck trip through the past 60 years, and his tone becomes increasingly grating. Like the print version of an endless, time-filling BBC series—even the most interested readers will likely do a lot of fast-forwarding.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
“Quixotic and kaleidoscopic, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! serves up erudite irreverence on every page. Like its sprawling subject, it invites everyone in for a listen.”
Glenn Gamboa - Newsday
“Tells the story of American and British pop music almost as engagingly as the songs themselves.”
Ryan Little - Washington Post
“Zips through decades of dance tunes and teenage heartthrobs with an affectionate ebullience… As good ‘a story of pop music’ as a fan could hope for.”
Sarah Larson - The New Yorker
“[An] exuberant celebration of the silly and the sublime… [Stanley’s] writing delights and surprises, and his description of the music makes you want to dance to it.”
Bob Ruggiero - Houston Press
“{A] Roller-coaster ride through pop history… encourages readers to look deeper into offshoots of ‘pop’ and performers they might not be so familiar with.”
Christian Science Monitor
“An ambitious undertaking… Stanley’s bold positions connect pop’s many dots in fresh and fascinating patterns.”
Joshua Joy Kamensky - Los Angeles Review of Books
“Rich with musical history lived, worked, and felt, with dozens more chapters and digressions that pay pop its due…Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is smart, funny, surprisingly deep for just how broad it is, but, most of all, for stars and songs great and small, it is full of love.”
Greg Milner
“Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! ties together the disparate strands of pop’s shape-shifting history to create a vivid living document of the music of our lives.”
Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields
“Bob Stanley loves and finds surprising connections between a thousand kinds of pop. He makes me want to run to the nearest record store—and move in.”
Starred review Booklist
“An immensely entertaining pop-music survey course. [Stanley] is engagingly opinionated and often very, very funny… The assemblage of irresistible, bite-size histories of top-of-the-charts stars is joyful, smart, and addictive, just like the best pop songs, and a must for music fans everywhere.”
Mikael Wood - Los Angeles Times
“[Stanley is] as clear-eyed about music as he is crazy in love with it.”
Matt Damsker - USA Today
“A landmark celebration, rumination and encapsulation of just about everything worth knowing—and arguing—about the pop landscape… A book for the ages.”
Robert Christgau - Barnes & Noble Review
“This book will be remembered and deserves to be.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393242690
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/14/2014
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 128,029
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Stanley has worked as a music journalist, a DJ, and a record label owner and is the cofounder and keyboard player for the band Saint Etienne.
He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2014

    If you already know the main history of rock and pop then this f

    If you already know the main history of rock and pop then this fractured version is interesting reading.  The author certainly knows his stuff and brings a fresh, often irreverent viewpoint to the well-trodden field of music books.  

    The early part of the book is solid history and includes adept, if insufficient analysis.  But once he comes of age in the mid-70s when the Sex Pistols obviously captured his 12-year-old imagination, the book takes a decidedly Anglo-centric turn.  By the 80's and 90s, much of the discussion is about pop bands and alternative artists that ultimately left NO mark on music history.  No one outside cult followings listened to most of those referenced even when the bands were together.  And certainly no one listens to them now.

    Which is not to say this book doesn't have it's place.  He's obviously a fan of most of what he discusses and that shows through.  The main thing to understand is, if you want an alternative history of pop music, buy this.  If you are interested in the meaningful history of pop in the last half of the 20th century, look on.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 29, 2014

    Great book of pop history! You must own this book if you are a music fan.

    I first read the review at the Daily Beast. Waited and waited until it became available to us. The book is engrossing, interesting and informative. After 2 or 3 chapters of reading, I began to take write down the titles and artists of the songs the author mentioned. Some song that I used to listened. Some songs I never heard. I am a fast reader but it took me a good one week to finish the book and it was a very happy and fun week! Immediately i lent the book to a friend who is a amateur guitarist. I can't wait to hear his review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2015

    A must for music fans and a wonderful read.  Bob Stanley breaks

    A must for music fans and a wonderful read.  Bob Stanley breaks down 50 years of music into dozens of short chapters, each focusing on a different genre, giving backstories and illustrating how they all connect. Entertainingly written and highly opinionated.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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