The Austin Chronicle

Music Gift Guide: Books

Saint Etienne bandleader connects the music history dots

Reviewed by Abby Johnston, December 5, 2014, Music

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé

by Bob Stanley
W.W. Norton, 624pp., $29.95

The prevailing sound of the moment has manifested in many forms throughout history, from the feel-good blasts of the Beach Boys to the scuzzed grunge of Nirvana. In Saint Etienne co-founder Bob Stanley's book, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Story of Pop Music From Bill Haley to Beyoncé, these at times disparate artists are viewed under the same uniting lens of pop. Over 600 pages, the English producer lovingly chronicles pop's evolution by using a simple working definition of the genre – what people were listening to at any moment in time. He leaves behind common identifiers for acts such as Led Zeppelin and views them simply through the pop microscope. You don't have to be a musical historian to appreciate Stanley's backtrack to early innovators through to modern giants, tracing Elvis and the Beatles into more recent additions of the Top 40 like Queen Bey herself. Much like his band's genre, Stanley's book is fast, rewarding, and easily digestible, written for the larger audience rather than pandering to musical snobbery.

Copyright © 2024 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.