Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Only 12 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
American Popular Song: Th... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by RentU
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Fast shipping from Amazon! Qualifies for Prime Shipping and FREE standard shipping for orders over $35. Overnight, 2 day and International shipping available! Excellent Customer Service.. May not include supplements such as CD, access code or DVD.
Trade in your item
Get a $2.37
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950 Hardcover – April 27, 1990

4.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$75.00
$44.69 $15.84

2016 Book Awards
Browse award-winning titles. See all 2016 winners
$75.00 FREE Shipping. Only 12 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950
  • +
  • Classic American Popular Song: The Second Half-Century, 1950-2000
Total price: $125.00
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Remains today the best single examination of its subject."--The Washington Post Book World

"Provocative, informative, opinionated, and never dull" --Down Beat

"Wonderful" --The New York Times

"A joy to anyone who really cares about American popular music....An invaluable reference" --Max Morath

"A rewarding book, endowed with grace and wit" --Milton Babbitt

"Invaluable and pioneering" --Whitney Balliett, The New Yorker

"A singular book" --Studs Terkel

From the Back Cover

'The first serious and most valuable study of American popular music, the blood and bone of so much glorious jazz. The book is provocative, informative, opinionated, never dull.' -Down Beat
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (April 27, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195014456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195014457
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.3 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Yes, the man is opinionated, and one may argue with some of his more controversial and unsparing critiques. His analyses are grounded in a thorough understanding of music, and he does not retreat from criticizing the most popular. I think that the whole topic is perhaps more subjective than Wilder lets on, but at least he's forthright about his opinions, and provides hundreds of musical annotations to illustrate his views. I'll also agree with the reviewer who criticizes Wilder's view that post-50's popular music was written by "amateurs." Still, this is widely regarded as a must-have for the student of popular music, and it's an excellent, albeit somewhat technical critique of popular music's "golden age." Recommended!
2 Comments 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
ALEC WILDER himself a composer has written what is generally considered the bible of AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC.More than thirty years have gone by since the first édition of this book and it remains fresh.Like many i am proud to say that this book was really for me what i needed to start digging into the history of many songs before the rock era.From BERLIN and KERN to the often forgotten greats like DONALDSON and McHUGH they are all there and mister WILDER knows what he is talking about;he had talked to many writers and composers who were at the time of the first édition still with us.Personal opinions are of course a matter of taste;we are for example not obliged to believe everything he says.Most of the time mister WILDER is right:EXAMPLE:he believes that RICHARD RODGERS was perhaps the most gifted composer of his time.Few can really disagree with that.In fact,there is only one major problem with this book,if you don't read music it won't be too enjoyable for you,because there are many examples with sheet music to proves the points he wants to make.Everyone who has an interest in the history of AMERICAN popular music should buy that book.
1 Comment 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Lord knows there is a place for criticism in music. The problem is that too often the most ill-qualified, wrongest people practice it, and are rewarded with the bully pulpit of widely read publication and nice paychecks to boot. Alec Wilder is a "right" person, if ever there was one. He's no outsider or "wannabe". His insights on the procedures and content on the songwriting of his brethren come from his own long, hard struggle with the form. And he did it VERY well, giving his observations yet more credence. He has the courage of his convictions, putting a hard critical ear to the work of his peers, betters, "worsers"---whoever, while owning up to his prejudices and acknowledging that it is, after all, only his opinion. I'm glad he covered the people he did, and only disappointed and perplexed that he passed on Strayhorn (I suppose because his work was outside the theater/movie/pop song orbit of the others). I would have appreciated his insights. Such skill, courage, and honesty in criticism is at the very least a breath of fresh air.
Neither music lovers, nor especially fellow composers should take Wilder's words as the gospel, though, as I feel he'd be the first to implore. It's hard enough to compose and ignore the criticism in one's one head, let alone hear the muse over the strains of a duet. Another thing to consider in placing importance on even as eloquent and well-formed criticisms as these is Wilder's harrowing self-doubt about his OWN composing, and general worth (which comes through loud and clear in his autobiographical "Letters I Never Sent") And listeners should follow their own ears and hearts. Take Wilder's survey for what it is, very high quality opinion.
Read more ›
Comment 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this (kindle) book because I had heard it mentioned as the standard for American Popular Song. Mixed feelings here. The book is written by a highly respected composer and professional musician - and perhaps that's my problem. I love the American Songbook and have, I like to think, a good ear but this book is best enjoyed by people who read music. He talks about the great songs in highly technical terms and includes (when he has permission) portions of the sheet music as if to say, "See what I mean?". I would like to see a revised edition where he includes the lyrics (when he has permission) for those measures. (One of my favorite books is "Reading Lyrics" which makes no such technical demands.) I found myself skimming and skipping through pages about triplets, repeated notes and unexpected key changes. In summary: a must book for the musically competent.
1 Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I have had this book since it was originally published in 1972. I keep it because it is an insightful commentary on some of America's greatest composers, Rodgers, Kern, Gershwin, etc. I would have to agree with Mr. Wilder that Richard Rodgers' music represents "the highest degree of consistent excellence, inventiveness, and sophistication." And since Mr. Wilder is himself a fine composer, he should know. He supports his opinions with intelligent, knowledgeable analysis.
People seem to have a knee jerk reaction whenever the name "Gershwin" is mentioned, but I agree with Mr. Wilder's assessment that RICHARD RODGERS' music was the most CONSISTENTLY masterful in the history of musical theater. Rodgers' range was incredible from the playful jazziness of "Manhattan" and "Lady is a Tramp" to the sophistication of "If I Loved You" and the lesser known, "Do I Hear A Waltz". Rodgers was an astonishing talent. Rodgers even wrote the lyrics and music to the lovely musical "No Strings". I get so tired of only hearing about Gershwin's greatness. Rodgers was every bit as good, if not better than Gershwin. I think Rodgers gets penalized at times because not only was his music great, but it was very accessible and popular with everyday audiences. A part of Gershwin's music strikes me as somewhat pretentions as are some of the tunes in "Porgy and Bess" and "An American In Paris". Rodgers seems to touch a familiar cord with audiences young and old, from generation to generation. As I video store owner, I know that people were willing to pay $50 or more for an out of print edition of the video "Sound of Music". None of my other videos could fetch such a good price.
1 Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: popular music