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The People’s Songs: The Story of…
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The People’s Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records (original 2013; edition 2014)

by Stuart Maconie (Author)

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583457,189 (3.63)3
These are the songs that have been listened to, laughed to, loved to, and labored to, as well as downed tools and danced to. Covering the last seven decades, Stuart Maconie looks at the songs that have been the soundtracks for changing times, and have—just sometimes—changed the way listeners feel. Beginning with Vera Lynn’s "We’ll Meet Again," a song that reassured a nation parted from their loved ones by the turmoil of war, and culminating with the manic energy of "Bonkers," Dizzee Rascal’s anthem for the push and rush of the 21st century inner city, The People’s Songs takes a tour of the UK's pop music, and asks what it means to a Briton.The story of modern Britain is told chronologically over 50 chapters, through the records that listened to and loved during the dramatic and kaleidoscopic period from World War II to the present day. This is not a rock critique about the 50 greatest tracks ever recorded. Rather, it is a celebration of songs that tell us something about how Britons have felt about things in their lives down the eras—work, war, class, leisure, race, family, drugs, sex, patriotism, and more. In times of prosperity or poverty, this is the music that inspired haircuts and dance crazes, but also protest and social change. The companion to Stuart Maconie’s landmark Radio 2 series, The People’s Songs shows the power of "cheap" pop music,#65533; one of Britain’s greatest exports. These are the songs people have worked to and partied to, and grown up and grown old to—from "A Whiter Shade of Pale" to "Rehab," "She Loves You" to "Star Man," and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" to "Radio Ga Ga."… (more)
Member:spaceowl
Title:The People’s Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records
Authors:Stuart Maconie (Author)
Info:Ebury Press (2014), Edition: Illustrated, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:History, Social History, Pop Music, Postwar, British History

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The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records by Stuart Maconie (2013)

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Over the years, I've enjoyed Stuart Maconie's radio shows and, perhaps to a lesser extent, his other books. Not this one.
It is truly awful. The high concept is fairly flawed, but the execution is deplorable. Pompous and preposterous in the extreme, the repetitive narrative circles around a few themes and groups without making much sense. I will still look fondly on his other output, but I was glad this was over. As, I suspect, was he. ( )
  CraigGoodwin | Feb 9, 2024 |
Very well written, entertaining book, merging interesting stories of classic pop songs with the recent history of Britain. ( )
  PhilipKinsella | Jul 19, 2015 |
This is a most enjoyable book which I read from start to finish, even though I don't know many of the records discussed from the mid-eighties onwards. Details about the songs themselves vary from chapter to chapter: 5.15 by The Who, for instance gets very short shrift, whereas Maconie went into the making of The Specials' Ghost Town in some detail. However, the good points far outnumber the bad and The People's Songs is packed with useless bits of information which I found irresistible. Did you know, for instance, that Harry Secombe couldn't sing on the Ying Tong Song because he had a contract with Philips Records and The Goons had signed with Decca? Or that Black Sabbath's Tommy Iommi lost the tips of his fingers during his last afternoon at work, only returning because his mother didn't want him to finish early? There's lots more where this came from and the author's enthusiasm for most musical genres is infectious. An ideal gift for anyone who cares about popular music. ( )
  cappybear | Sep 24, 2013 |
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For Ian Callaghan and Lorna Skingley
And with thanks of course to Bob Shennan
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These are the songs that have been listened to, laughed to, loved to, and labored to, as well as downed tools and danced to. Covering the last seven decades, Stuart Maconie looks at the songs that have been the soundtracks for changing times, and have—just sometimes—changed the way listeners feel. Beginning with Vera Lynn’s "We’ll Meet Again," a song that reassured a nation parted from their loved ones by the turmoil of war, and culminating with the manic energy of "Bonkers," Dizzee Rascal’s anthem for the push and rush of the 21st century inner city, The People’s Songs takes a tour of the UK's pop music, and asks what it means to a Briton.The story of modern Britain is told chronologically over 50 chapters, through the records that listened to and loved during the dramatic and kaleidoscopic period from World War II to the present day. This is not a rock critique about the 50 greatest tracks ever recorded. Rather, it is a celebration of songs that tell us something about how Britons have felt about things in their lives down the eras—work, war, class, leisure, race, family, drugs, sex, patriotism, and more. In times of prosperity or poverty, this is the music that inspired haircuts and dance crazes, but also protest and social change. The companion to Stuart Maconie’s landmark Radio 2 series, The People’s Songs shows the power of "cheap" pop music,#65533; one of Britain’s greatest exports. These are the songs people have worked to and partied to, and grown up and grown old to—from "A Whiter Shade of Pale" to "Rehab," "She Loves You" to "Star Man," and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" to "Radio Ga Ga."

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