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Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé Hardcover – July 14, 2014


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Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé + The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs + What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (July 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393242692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393242690
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Numerous albums and songs have used the word as their title, so it seems somehow appropriate that music journalist Stanley has chosen yeah to sum up the history of popular music, offering an immensely entertaining pop-music survey course. He is engagingly opinionated and often very, very funny. (He describes, for example, the members of the Turtles as looking like “three Pillsbury Doughboys, one in a bushy black fright wig,” while Simon & Garfunkel “looked like as much fun as their undertaker name suggested.”) His book traces a thread that connects pop music along a twentieth- and twenty-first-century continuum as he describes the musical contributions of, among others, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, ABBA, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna. For Stanley, pop is an eclectic and messy mix that includes rock, doo-wop, R&B, Motown, soul, glam, New Wave, disco, punk, grunge, hip-hop, house, techno, metal, and country. 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. --June Sawyers

Review

“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.” (Joshua Joy Kamensky - Los Angeles Review of Books)

“A landmark celebration, rumination and encapsulation of just about everything worth knowing—and arguing—about the pop landscape… A book for the ages.” (Matt Damsker - USA Today)

“Totally delicious…[full of] why-didn’t-I-think-of-that connections… We're incredibly lucky to have this detailed map.” (David Kirby - Wall Street Journal)

“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.” (James Reed - Boston Globe)

“[Stanley is] as clear-eyed about music as he is crazy in love with it.” (Mikael Wood - Los Angeles Times)

“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.” (Booklist, Starred review)

“[Stanley] provides an intriguing view of the shifting ground of pop music.” (Publishers Weekly)

“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.” (Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields)

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.” (Greg Milner, author of Perfecting Sound Forever)

“This book will be remembered and deserves to be.” (Robert Christgau - Barnes & Noble Review)

“Quixotic and kaleidoscopic, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! serves up erudite irreverence on every page. Like its sprawling subject, it invites everyone in for a listen.” (Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News)

“Tells the story of American and British pop music almost as engagingly as the songs themselves.” (Glenn Gamboa - Newsday)

“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.” (Ryan Little - Washington Post)

“[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.” (Sarah Larson - The New Yorker)

“{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.” (Bob Ruggiero - Houston Press)

“An ambitious undertaking… Stanley’s bold positions connect pop’s many dots in fresh and fascinating patterns.” (Christian Science Monitor)

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Customer Reviews

I have to admit that I found the first half of the book the most interesting, but that probably just reflects my musical tastes.
S Riaz
He connects eras and musical styles seamlessly, showing the links from earlier forms of music to pop music as well as the connections between different styles of pop.
Joel S. Frady
If you are an obsessive music nerd like me with pretty diverse or omnivorous tastes, then this book is absolutely essential reading.
Barrettbowie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
It is surely no coincidence that the title of this book comes from one of the most exuberant and joyful pop records ever made, because this is certainly written with boundless enthusiasm and a real love of music, which shines through. In five parts, the author takes you on the journey of popular music from 1952 until the early 1990's. The book begins with the first UK singles chart, the advent of the 45 and early rock 'n' roll. In the first part the author looks at the importance of skiffle, Larry Parnes and fledging British rock, Joe Meek, Phil Spector, the Brill Building and Elvis, among others.

Generally, each part of the book concentrates on a decade - the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and the start of the nineties. I have to admit that I found the first half of the book the most interesting, but that probably just reflects my musical tastes. However, whether you are a fan of the Beatles, Dylan, Motown, Glam Rock, Punk, Britpop or anything in between, they are all covered. Although the author obviously cannot give detailed biographies of every artist involved in popular music, he puts bands and styles of music in context and assesses their legacy. Also, despite the huge time period and amount of musical styles and bands covered, there is an abundance of interesting and funny stories, which bring each section to life. This is a book that you will be quoting from for some time if you read it and I cannot think of a better gift for a music lover. Considering the task that the author set himself, this is a magnificent achievement.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Campbell on January 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The charm of this book is its complete lack of snobbery. That the author can take as much joy from the Archies as from Hendrix.
The joy of the book is in the listening. Where Stanley almost beseeches us to check out, for one example amongst many, the Deep Soul tracks that he obviously worships.
And the reason that you should shell out the cash for this book is simple: The love of modern pop music.
A real and true treasure. Thank you Bob Stanley - your book is a diamond!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By daniel singer on October 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author, Bob Stanley, besides being part of one of the best bands of the last 20 years, Saint Etienne, has written one of the best books about pop music in the last 20 years. That the breadth of the subject covered is included in one volume is a triumph of his writing, organization and editing. This is a book you will keep going back to.
This is a history from Stanley's personal point of view, and there will be quibbling about his opinions and who he left out. Simon and Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, and Steely Dan are all sort of quickly dismissed, while he devotes 2 chapters to ABBA and the Bee Gees. Some artists are barely mentioned (Nyro and Drake). Mostly, he is right on. In brief comments, he lifts up both The Association and Slowdive, and says Morrissey is the best lyricist Great Britain has produced. Hurray.
All facets of pop music are covered in the book, from shoegazing to house, from British folk to Philly Soul. This is an incredible one-stop history and a real achievement. Great work, Bob.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Quiet Wyatt on November 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It comes as no surprise that one of the trio who have made 25 years' worth of fantastic music under the name Saint Etienne has turned out to be an adept chronicler of 60+ years of pop music. His record collection must be staggering. This is a long but breezy book, equally suited for reading start-to-finish or dipping in to selected eras at will. It's largely chronological, with side-trips to discuss genres, fads, and individual artists at appropriate points. I don't agree with every pronouncement Stanley makes about certain bands and artists, but I'm glad he makes them -- this is an *opinionated* stroll through pop history, not a dry timeline.

I especially appreciate the way he hops back and forth across the Atlantic as rock and pop have done over time; I've read many books with either British or American focuses, but never one that tried to make sense of how the balance has shifted between them like this one does. I also applaud Stanley for paying necessary attention to the role of disco / dance / techno music, which is so often ignored or posited as antithetical to rock music when it's a vital part of its DNA.

"Yeah Yeah Yeah" takes us from the birth of rock in the 1950s up to about the year 2000, where Stanley draws a line and claims that download culture is fundamentally different than the "Top of the Pops"/"American Bandstand" chart-driven era. I 60% agree with him and 40% think this line is a little arbitrary... but at 750 pages as it is, he had to stop writing somewhere! I look forward to Volume 2 ("Meh Meh Meh"?) when the dust settles on the forecast Death of the Music Industry (TM).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey Buckett on June 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stanley surprised me by being on top of the music and a perceptive social observer at once giving depth to the various changes in Pop over time. He holds the various threads together to give a cohesive theme while delighting with "by the way" notes at the end of chapters and personal opinions which I came to like. Above all he is an adept writer with an eye for metaphor which is at times wonderful - "it sounded like music trapped in a bottle for 20 years then released as gas". It's a great read.
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