The History of Live Music in Britain, Volume I: 1950-1967: From Dance Hall to the 100 Club, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The History of Live Music in Britain, Volume I: 1950-1967

From Dance Hall to the 100 Club, 1st Edition

By Simon Frith, Matt Brennan, Martin Cloonan, Emma Webster


236 pages

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The social history of music in Britain since 1950 has long been the subject of nostalgic articles in newspapers and magazines, nostalgic programmes on radio and television and collective memories on music websites, but to date there has been no proper scholarly study. The three volumes of The History of Live Music in Britain address this gap, and do so from the unique perspective of the music promoter: the key theme is the changing nature of the live music industry. The books are focused upon popular music but cover all musical genres and the authors offer new insights into a variety of issues, including changes in musical fashions and tastes; the impact of developing technologies; the balance of power between live and recorded music businesses; the role of the state as regulator and promoter; the effects of demographic and other social changes on music culture; and the continuing importance of do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Drawing on archival research, a wide range of academic and non-academic secondary sources, participant observation and industry interviews, the books are likely to become landmark works within Popular Music Studies and broader cultural history.


'…This engagingly written, carefully documented study should interest scholars and students of popular music history and cultural history and might well provide fruitful avenues for further research…Highly recommended.' Choice '… absolutely fascinating… It is a magnificent read for anyone with a broad interest in the live music scene in Britain. Roll on the next volume and the one after.' Folk North West ’… this 'social history of music in Britain' written by a team of popular music scholars has a lot to offer to any 'certified' historian with an interest in post-war popular culture and music in particular’. Sehepunkte ’The four authors should be congratulated for achieving a near seamless synergy in terms of style and argument throughout this volume, especially given its breadth. Clear introductions and conclusions help to draw the multiple threads of each chapter together and the text is eminently readable. … This book sets a very high standard for future work and I await further instalments with interest’. Popular Music

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Getting back to business; Live music and the state; A snapshot of Bristol in October-November 1962; Being a musician; Do-it-yourself!; A snapshot of Glasgow in October-November 1962; Youth; The recording industry; A snapshot of Sheffield in October-November 1962; Venues, audience and promoters; The Rolling Stones, Richmond 1963; Bibliography; Index.

About the Authors

Simon Frith is Tovey Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh. His work is collected in Taking Popular Music Seriously (Ashgate 2007) and, with Simon Zagorski-Thomas, he edited The Art of Record Production (Ashgate 2012). He chairs the judges of the Mercury Music Prize and is a fellow of the British Academy. Matt Brennan is the Chancellor’s Fellow of Music at the University of Edinburgh. He specialises in popular music studies combining historical, sociological, and business perspectives. His work has previously appeared in the journals Popular Music, Popular Music History, and Jazz Research Journal. Martin Cloonan is Professor of Popular Music Politics at the University of Glasgow. His research interests cover all areas of music and politics including censorship, regulation and music policy. Previous books include Popular Music and The State in the UK (Ashgate, 2007) and Dark Side of The Tune: Popular Music and Violence (Ashgate, 2008). Emma Webster received her PhD from the University of Glasgow in November 2011; her thesis was concerned with live music promotion. Before returning to academia, she worked for a number of years in music and theatre in a variety of roles and genres including opera, ’world’ music, and acid techno.

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
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Rock