Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres (Hardback)Kelefa Sanneh (author)
From his own adolescence, when his allegiance was to punk rock, to his work as one of the essential voices of our time on music and culture at the New York Times and the New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh has made a deep study of how our popular music unites and divides us. Distilling a career's worth of knowledge, Sanneh explores the tribes music forms, and how its genres, shape-shifting across the years, give us a way to track larger forces and concerns.
He debunks cherished myths, reappraises beloved heroes and upends familiar ideas of musical greatness, arguing that sometimes the best popular music isn't transcendent: it expresses our grudges as well as our hopes, and is motivated by greed as well as inspiration. Throughout, race is a powerful touchstone: just as there's always been a 'Black' audience and a 'white' audience (with some overlap) there is Black music and white music and a whole lot of expropriation.
This is a book to shock and awe the deepest music nerd, and at the same time to work as a heady gateway drug for the uninitiated.
Publisher: Canongate Books
Number of pages: 496
Weight: 742 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 43 mm
Kelefa Sanneh has achieved the impossible. Major Labels somehow manages to unspool everything you need to know about 50 years of music, but more impressively, he makes you care about all of it. Even the stuff you don't care about. It's funny, it's personal, and as a piece of writing the book borders on poetry -- DAVID LETTERMAN
An intellectually rigorous retelling of rock and pop history * * The Times, Best Books of the Year * *
The most wide-ranging music book of the year . . . elegantly written * * Herald, Music Books of the Year * *
Intriguing, controversial, personal . . . a unique and absorbing read * * Guardian * *
The book is immensely readable, and full of rich detail * * Independent * *
This is a long-haul read, yet charmingly conducted in that languid, laconic New Yorker style that makes such a mammoth undertaking even possible. Its kick is to sew into the stories some near hidden gems - and socking ones too -- ANNIE NIGHTINGALE
Sanneh's hospitable prose makes understanding this labyrinthine history feel like an adventure* * Guardian * *
Entertaining, diligent . . . His observations are always fresh and thought-provoking, and presented with clarity and wit * * MOJO * *
Inside this big, ambitious hybrid book was a smaller, more personal and altogether more compelling exploration of belonging and identity through music * * Observer * *
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