AND THE BEAT GOES ON: A History of Pop Music in America by Charles Boeckman

AND THE BEAT GOES ON: A History of Pop Music in America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Boeckman, a jazz clarinetist, blows a few desultory bars of the all-time hit parade numbers from ""Yankee Doodle"" to ""Let It Be"" in this feeble roundup of the many components of Pop. Vaudeville and blues, Stephen Foster and Johnny Cash, country n' western and the ""big band sound,"" folk music and rock -- all come out homogenized and diluted into a tasteless, colorless and odorless mainstream which is (what else?) ""in constant flux."" The musical milestones which Boeckman cites -- the birth of Tin Pan Alley in the 1880's, the invention of the phonograph, the advent of Elvis -- will be familiar to the average ten year-old. The news that old time religion influences country n' western is hardly revelatory and the claim that ""the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Bob Dylan all need the blues like a wounded hemophiliac needs constant blood transfusions"" is disconcerting only as metaphor. The attempt to get a sociological perspective on contemporary rock never gets beyond the truism that it reflects ""moral upheavals in American life"" and Boeckman almost blows his bland equanimity in pronouncing longhaired musicians ""a great unkempt, unwashed tribe"" who ""spring up like fungi in a damp cellar."" The beat here is more like a subliminal drone -- this won't make it into the charts.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
Publisher: Luce -- dist. by McKay