Below is a selection of reference books (both print and digital) that you may find useful for finding background information in popular music studies:
The Encyclopedia of Popular MusicFirst published in 1992, The Encyclopedia of Popular Music is the largest project ever undertaken for the subject. This authoritative biographical encyclopedia of rock, pop, and jazz artists covers popular music from 1900 to the present, including folk, blues, world music, rock, heavy metal, techno, reggae, and hip hop. Edited and largely written by Colin Larkin, it is exhaustive, meticulous, authoritative - and incredibly fun to read. Critically lauded in its previous three editions, the Fourth Edition will not disappoint fans seeking authoritative and reliable information about popular music from around the world. Expanded to ten volumes, the new edition contains 6,000 new entries, and extensive revisions and updates throughout, yielding 50% more material than the 1998 Third Edition. In addition to thousands of biographical entries, this A-Z reference also includes entries covering popular music genres, trends, styles, record lables, venues, and festivals. Key dates, biographies, and further reading are provided for artists covered, along with complete discographies that include record labels, release dates, and a 5-star album rating system. From Grateful Dead to The Killers, from Whitesnake to White Stripes, from R.E.M. to Blink-182, from The Jazz Singer to Jerry Springer - The Opera, and from Bye Bye Birdie to Rent, The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Fourth Edition has something informative and clever to say about everyone's favorite band.
Understanding Popular Music CultureThis extensively revised and expanded fifth edition of Understanding Popular Music Culture provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the production, distribution, consumption and meaning of popular music, and the debates that surround popular culture and popular music. Reflecting the continued proliferation of popular music studies, the new music industry in a digital age, and the emergence of new stars, this new edition has been reorganized and extensively updated throughout, making for a more coherent and sequenced coverage of the field. These updates include: two new chapters entitled 'The Real Thing': Authenticity, covers and the canon and 'Time Will Pass You By': Histories and popular memory new case studies on artists including The Rolling Stones, Lorde, One Direction and Taylor Swift further examples of musical texts, genres, and performers throughout including additional coverage of Electronic Dance Music expanded coverage on the importance of the back catalogue and the box set; reality television and the music biopic greater attention to the role and impact of the internet and digital developments in relation to production, dissemination, mediation and consumption; including the role of social network sites and streaming services each chapter now has its own set of expanded references to facilitate further investigation. Additional resources for students and teachers can also be found on the companion website (www.routledge.com/cw/shuker), which includes additional case studies, links to relevant websites and a discography of popular music metagenres.
Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song RecordingsFrom John Philip Sousa to Green Day, from Scott Joplin to Kanye West, from Stephen Foster to Coldplay, The Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volumes 1 and 2 covers the vast scope of its subject with virtually unprecedented breadth and depth. Approximately 1,000 key song recordings from 1889 to the present are explored in full, unveiling the stories behind the songs, the recordings, the performers, and the songwriters. Beginning the journey in the era of Victorian parlor balladry, brass bands, and ragtime with the advent of the record industry, readers witness the birth of the blues and the dawn of jazz in the 1910s and the emergence of country music on record and the shift from acoustic to electrical recording in the 1920s. The odyssey continues through the Swing Era of the 1930s; rhythm & blues, bluegrass, and bebop in the 1940s; the rock & roll revolution of the 1950s; modern soul, the British invasion, and the folk-rock movement of the 1960s; and finally into the modern era through the musical streams of disco, punk, grunge, hip-hop, and contemporary dance-pop. Sullivan, however, also takes critical detours by extending the coverage to genres neglected in pop music histories, from ethnic and world music, the gospel recording of both black and white artists, and lesser-known traditional folk tunes that reach back hundreds of years. This book is ideal for anyone who truly loves popular music in all of its glorious variety, and anyone wishing to learn more about the roots of virtually all the music we hear today. Popular music fans, as well as scholars of recording history and technology and students of the intersections between music and cultural history will all find this book to be informative and interesting.
Publication Date: 2013
Encyclopedia of Indie RockInside this engaging volume readers will find over 150 entries on the singers and songwriters, producers, labels, and icons who have shaped the genre from the humble beginnings of lo-fi homemade records in the 1960s through the history of seasoned veterans who mastered the fine art of staying afloat despite every obstacle that the cutthroat industry threw at them. This work also includes a timeline; a resource guide, which includes recommended books and articles, Web sites, and festivals; and indices in both the front and back of the book to make navigation very user-friendly.
Publication Date: 2008
Encyclopedia of Punk Music and CultureAlthough its origins and definition are hotly debated among scholars and fans alike, punk rock music has an ever-evolving but always loyal fan base. The British punk movement is thought to have begun in the mid-1970s with bands such as the Clash and the Sex Pistols, and the American punk movement in the early 1970s with bands such as the Ramones, Patti Smith, and Television playing at CBGB's in New York City's Lower East Side. The punk subculture continues to evolve today, with new bands, fashions, politics and zines embodying the spirit of its founders while also influencing mainstream culture. This inclusive encyclopedia chronicles the history and development of punk, including sub-movements such as Hardcore, Post-punk, Queercore, and Emo, to provide readers with an extensive overview of the music, fashion, films, and philosophies behind it. Entries for musicians include a discography for those wanting to start, or develop, their music collections. Entries include: Advertising; Anarchy; David Bowie; CBGB's; The Clash; Movement; Drugs; Flyers; Gender and punk; Hardcore; London; The Ramones; Johnny Rotten; Malcom McLaren: The Sex Pistols; Sid Vicious; Straight Edge and Vivienne Westwood.
Publication Date: 2006
Caribbean Popular MusicReggae music is more than just steel drum bands on white sand beaches. Its history is rich with culture and evolution, helping to tell the story of Jamaica's past. Due to its depth and extensive coverage, this book is the most complete and up to date encyclopedia about reggae, mento, ska, rocksteady, and dancehall music on the market today. Ideal for reggae lovers and college students studying music, this encyclopedia is comprehensive for high school students and non-music students as well. From Bob Marley to Wayne Wonder, this easy to use encyclopedia contains over 700 entries. Indices in both the front and back of the book make navigating through entries extremely user-friendly. Entries cover singers and songwriters, producers, record labels, and different styles of music that evolved from reggae. Moskowitz truly captures the history and evolution of Jamaican music in this extensive, illuminating encyclopedia, while all the while making it accessible to both high school and college students.
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Sources: Online Databases
We also have reference databases which you may find useful:
African American Music ReferenceIncludes full text from major reference works, personal narratives from oral histories and interviews, manuscripts, songsheets, lyrics, discography data, and other text sources.