Atomic Tunes: The Cold War in American and British Popular Music

Atomic Tunes: The Cold War in American and British Popular Music

by Tim Smolko, Joanna Smolko

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Overview

What is the soundtrack for a nuclear war?

During the Cold War, over 500 songs were written about nuclear weapons, fear of the Soviet Union, civil defense, bomb shelters, McCarthyism, uranium mining, the space race, espionage, the Berlin Wall, and glasnost. This music uncovers aspects of these world-changing events that documentaries and history books cannot. In Atomic Tunes, Tim and Joanna Smolko explore everything from the serious to the comical, the morbid to the crude, showing the widespread concern among musicians coping with the effect of communism on American society and the threat of a nuclear conflict of global proportions.

Atomic Tunes presents a musical history of the Cold War, analyzing the songs that capture the fear of those who lived under the shadow of Stalin, Sputnik, mushroom clouds, and missiles.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780253024466
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication date: 05/11/2021
Pages: 366
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tim Smolko holds master's degrees in Musicology and Library Science and is Monographs Original Cataloger at the University of Georgia. He is author of Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play: Inside Two Long Songs, which won the 2014 Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Recorded Rock Music from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Joanna Smolko holds a PhD in Musicology and is Adjunct Professor of Music at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. She has published journal articles and book chapters and was a contributing editor for the second edition of The Grove Dictionary of American Music. Tim and Joanna live in Athens, Georgia. They have 13-year-old twins Ian and Elanor.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Cold War History in Music and Lyrics
1. Folk: From Paul Robeson to Bob Dylan
2. Folk: Women's Voices
3. Country: The Conservative Stance
4. Novelty and Comedy Songs: The Cold War as a Big Joke
5. Early Rock and Other Styles: Rocking the Bomb
6. Mainstream Rock: Bowie, U2, Sting, Billy Joel, and Springsteen
7. Hard Rock and Heavy Metal: The Electric Guitar as the Bomb
8. Punk Rock: Three Chords and the Apocalypse
9. Electronic and New Wave: The Cold War in a Synthesizer
10. Wind of Change: The Fall of the Wall and the End of the Cold War
Conclusion
Bibliography, Discography, Videography
Index

What People are Saying About This

Russell Reising

In Atomic Tunes, Tim and Joanna Smolko have written a long-overdue analysis of Cold War popular music which combines insightful analysis of individual songs and popular musical genres expertly embedded within their political and historical contexts.  Their discussions of women's voices, of novelty songs, country and gospel music and other categories are balanced in a way that accommodates many different perspectives, both left wing and right.  If you lived through the Cold War or approach it from a historical and musicological perspective, the Smolkos, along with the songs they explore, provide what they call a 'visceral sense of what it was like to live through the Cold War.'  A very important work.

Russell Reising]]>

In Atomic Tunes, Tim and Joanna Smolko have written a long-overdue analysis of Cold War popular music which combines insightful analysis of individual songs and popular musical genres expertly embedded within their political and historical contexts.  Their discussions of women's voices, of novelty songs, country and gospel music and other categories are balanced in a way that accommodates many different perspectives, both left wing and right.  If you lived through the Cold War or approach it from a historical and musicological perspective, the Smolkos, along with the songs they explore, provide what they call a 'visceral sense of what it was like to live through the Cold War.'  A very important work.

Customer Reviews