The busiest, blandest voice in musicology sings its longest tune--repeating, updating, expanding, and piling together the contents of the Ewen shelf; listing and quoting and thumbnail-sketching with relentless chronological comprehensiveness. Work songs, war songs, pop songs, show songs, folk tunes, jazz tunes, blues tunes, rock tunes, who wrote'em, who sang 'em, who played 'em, who bought 'em. The accumulation of detail (want to know Little Richard's real name?) is overwhelming, but so is the failure to discriminate, analyze, give shape, draw conclusions, or respond emotionally--not to mention the unquestioning reliance on commercial success as the primary measure of significance. As you might suppose, the value of such a massive but unfocused history (a relatively unchanging but long-lived writer like Irving Berlin finds himself chopped up and distributed among three or four far-flung chapters) rests with its index. And Ewen's index, which resembles the phone directory for a medium-sized county, includes enough songs, films, musicals, composers, singers, musicians, TV shows, and hangers-on (60 entries beginning with ""Love"") to make this the inevitable first-place-to-look reference on popular music--even if you'll want to turn elsewhere for anything but the bare facts.