Simon Frith has been one of the most important figures in the emergence and subsequent development of popular music studies. From his earliest academic publication, The Sociology of Rock (1978), through to his recent work on the live music industry in the UK, in his desire to ’take popular music seriously’ he has probably been cited more than any other author in the field. Uniquely, he has combined this work with a lengthy career as a music critic for leading publications on both sides of the Atlantic. The contributions to this volume of essays and memoirs seek to honour Frith’s achievements, but they are not merely ’about Frith’. Rather, they are important interventions by leading scholars in the field, including Robert Christgau, Antoine Hennion, Peter J. Martin and Philip Tagg. The focus on ’sociology and industry’ and ’aesthetics and values’ reflect major themes in Frith’s own work, which can also be found within popular music studies more generally. As such the volume will become an essential resource for those working in popular music studies, as well as in musicology, sociology and cultural and media studies.
"The scope of Frith’s work necessitated a collection that covered a wide range of topics and the choices made by the editors reflect this range adequately. (…) this book is a good addition to popular music studies."
- Martin Lussier, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
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.