Other Voices: Hidden Histories of Liverpool's Popular Music Scenes, 1930s-1970s: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Other Voices: Hidden Histories of Liverpool's Popular Music Scenes, 1930s-1970s

1st Edition

By Michael Brocken


268 pages

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At times it appears that a whole industry exists to perpetuate the myth of origin of the Beatles. There certainly exists a popular music (or perhaps 'rock') origin myth concerning this group and the city of Liverpool and this draws in devotees, as if on a pilgrimage, to Liverpool itself. Once 'within' the city, local businesses exist primarily to escort these pilgrims around several almost iconic spaces and places associated with the group. At times it all almost seems 'spiritual'. One might argue however that, like any function myth, the music history of the Liverpool in which the Beatles grew and then departed is not fully represented. Beatles historians and businessmen-alike have seized upon myriad musical experiences and reworked them into a discourse that homogenizes not only the diverse collective articulations that initially put them into place, but also the receptive practices of those travellers willing to listen to a somewhat linear, exclusive narrative. Other Voices therefore exists as a history of the disparate and now partially hidden musical strands that contributed to Liverpool's musical countenance. It is also a critique of Beatles-related institutionalized popular music mythology. Via a critical historical investigation of several thus far partially hidden popular music activities in pre- and post-Second World War Liverpool, Michael Brocken reveals different yet intrinsic musical and socio-cultural processes from within the city of Liverpool. By addressing such 'scenes' as those involving dance bands, traditional jazz, folk music, country and western, and rhythm and blues, together with a consideration of partially hidden key places and individuals, and Liverpool's first 'real' record label, an assemblage of 'other voices' bears witness to an 'other', seldom discussed, Liverpool. By doing so, Brocken - born and raised in Liverpool - asks questions about not only the historicity of the Beatles-Liverpool narrative, but also about the absence o


’Brocken offers a palpable sense of the cultural and geographical landscape of the city across five decades, and shows that popular music scenes are always more than the sum of their historical accounts as laid out in the annals of halls of fame and museums dedicated to star performers … (he) ably uncovers the complexities and heterogeneous nature of the musical worlds he describes… The success of Other Voices lies in Brocken's ability to research and present these histories, discourses and cultural spaces in such a rich and detailed way. It is an important contribution to the study and understanding of popular music.’ Times Higher Education 'Other Voices is a valuable addition to the academic literature on popular music history. Its rich and detailed analyses of Liverpool's varied music scenes across five decades highlights the limitations of viewing such histories in a linear, reductive fashion.' Popular Music

About the Author

Michael Brocken is Senior Lecturer in Popular Music Studies in the School of Music at Liverpool Hope University, UK.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General