Listen to Pop!
Exploring a Musical Genre
by James E. Perone
September 2018, 247pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6376-9
$61, 51€, A88
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6377-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Louis Armstrong’s well-known recording of “What a Wonderful World” was not a smash hit until it was featured on the soundtrack of the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam.

Listen to Pop! discusses the evolution of pop music in America from the 1950s to the present, diving into its impact on American culture, particularly through its association with television, and its enduring legacy.

Listen to Pop!: Exploring a Musical Genre provides readers with an overview and a history of the pop music genre. The bulk of the book is devoted to analysis of 50 must-hear musical examples, which include artists, songs, and albums. Additionally, the book contains chapters that analyze the impact of pop music on American popular culture and the legacy of pop music, including how the music is used today in film and television soundtracks and in television commercials.

The book deals with all of the various subgenres of pop music from the 1950s to the present. The selection of material discussed reflects the artists, songs, and albums topping the pop music charts of the period, and while the volume examines these items individually, it also discusses how our definition of pop music has evolved over the decades. This combination of detailed examination of specific songs, albums, and artists and discussion of background, legacy, and impact distinguishes it from other books on the subject and make it a vital reference and interesting read for all readers and music aficionados.


  • Analyzes a diversity, stylistically and otherwise, of must-hear examples
  • Traces the evolution of pop music from the end of World War II to the present
  • Extensively discusses the interplay between popular music and television
  • Identifies certain formulas for success, such as the "oldies" chord progression through the 20th century to the present
James E. Perone, PhD, is Margaret Morgan Ramsey professor in music and associate dean of the faculty at the University of Mount Union, Alliance, OH. He is author of numerous Greenwood and Praeger titles, including The Words and Music of James Taylor, Smash Hits: The 100 Songs That Defined America, The Words and Music of Taylor Swift, and The Words and Music of Elvis Costello.


"Although the series is avowedly for serious music fans and casual listeners, the present title is also appropriate for those interested in American popular culture in general...Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers."—Choice, April 1, 2019

"Overall, this book provides basic information on the pop genre and its background, and would be welcome in any high school or undergraduate library for introductory research."—ARBA, December 6, 2018

Exploring Musical Genres

Each book in this genre-and performance group-based collection provides the reader with background information on a specific musical genre, critical analyses of significant examples from the genre, and a discography and analysis of must-hear examples. Although written by scholars, the series is for the lay reader and general music fan.
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