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HIS 360 - Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Postwar U.S: Secondary sources - Books

How to find books

On this page, you will see only a very small selection of the books our library holds on the history of Rock n Roll. To find more, go to the library catalog and search for:

Rock n roll
Alternative rock music
Bass guitar music (Rock)
Guitar music (Rock)
Heavy metal (Music)
Motion pictures and rock music
Progressive rock music 
Rock music--analysis and appreciation 
Rock music--History and criticism
Rock music--England
Rockabilly music
Women rock musicians--Biography
the name of any artist

To browse books in the stacks, go to the MLs.

Search Centre Library's Catalog for Books, DVDs &  More

Print Books

Rock 'n' Roll

Rock 'n' Roll is an electrifying collision of the romantic and the revolutionary. It is 1968 and the world is ablaze with rebellion, accompanied by a sound track of the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Clutching his prized collection of rock albums, Jan, a Cambridge graduate student, returns to his homeland of Czechoslovakia just as Soviet tanks roll into Prague. When security forces tighten their grip on artistic expression, Jan is inexorably drawn toward a dangerous act of dissent. Back in England, Jan's volcanic mentor, Max, faces a war of his own as his free-spirited daughter and his cancer-stricken wife attempt to break through his walls of academic and emotional obstinacy. Over the next twenty years of love, espionage, chance, and loss, the extraordinary lives of Jan and Max spin and intersect until an unexpected reunion forces them to see what is truly worth the fight.

The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs

One of our finest critics gives us an altogether original history of rock 'n' roll Unlike all previous versions of rock 'n' roll history, this book omits almost every iconic performer and ignores the storied events and turning points that everyone knows. Instead, in a daring stroke, Greil Marcus selects ten songs recorded between 1956 and 2008, then proceeds to dramatize how each embodies rock 'n' roll as a thing in itself, in the story it tells, inhabits, and acts out--a new language, something new under the sun. "Transmission" by Joy Division. "All I Could Do Was Cry" by Etta James and then Beyoncé. "To Know Him Is to Love Him," first by the Teddy Bears and almost half a century later by Amy Winehouse. In Marcus's hands these and other songs tell the story of the music, which is, at bottom, the story of the desire for freedom in all its unruly and liberating glory. Slipping the constraints of chronology, Marcus braids together past and present, holding up to the light the ways that these striking songs fall through time and circumstance, gaining momentum and meaning, astonishing us by upending our presumptions and prejudices. This book, by a founder of contemporary rock criticism--and its most gifted and incisive practitioner--is destined to become an enduring classic.

The Chitlin Circuit

A definitive account of the birth of rock 'n' roll in black America, this book establishes the Chitlin' Circuit as a major force in American musical history. Combining terrific firsthand reporting with deep historical research, Preston Lauterbach uncovers characters like Chicago Defender columnist Walter Barnes, who pioneered the circuit in the 1930s, and larger-than-life promoters such as Denver Ferguson, the Indianapolis gambling chieftain who consolidated it in the 1940s. Charging from Memphis to Houston and now-obscure points in between, The Chitlin' Circuit brings us into the sweaty back rooms where such stars as James Brown, B. B. King, and Little Richard got their start. With his unforgettable portraits of unsung heroes including King Kolax, Sax Kari, and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lauterbach writes of a world of clubs and con men that has managed to avoid much examination despite its wealth of brash characters, intriguing plotlines, and vulgar glory, and gives us an excavation of an underground musical America.

The Sex Revolts

Blending music criticism, cultural studies, and gender theory, this analysis traces the precursors and prototypes for rock rebellion, examines the diverse forms of misogyny embedded in particular rock subcultures, evaluates gender, identity uncertainty and other themes, and examines female rockers

Sam Phillips: the Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll

From the author of the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley biography: Last Train to Memphis brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records. The music that he shaped in his tiny Memphis studio with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Ike Turner, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before. He brought forth a singular mix of black and white voices passionately proclaiming the vitality of the American vernacular tradition while at the same time declaring, once and for all, a new, integrated musical day. With extensive interviews and firsthand personal observations extending over a 25-year period with Phillips, along with wide-ranging interviews with nearly all the legendary Sun Records artists, Guralnick gives us an ardent, unrestrained portrait of an American original as compelling in his own right as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, or Thomas Edison.

Blue Monday

Rock 'n' roll defined the last half of the twentieth century, and while many think of Elvis Presley as the genre's driving force, the truth is that Fats Domino, whose records have sold more than 100 million copies, was the first to put it on the map with such hits as Ain't That a Shame" and "Blueberry Hill." InBlue Monday, acclaimed R&B scholar Rick Coleman draws on a multitude of new interviews with Fats Domino and many other early musical legends (among them Lloyd Price, the Clovers, Charles Brown, and members of Buddy Holly's group, the Crickets) to create a definitive biography of not just an extraordinary man but also a unique time and place: New Orleans at the birth of rock 'n' roll. Coleman's groundbreaking research makes for an immense cultural biography, the first to thoroughly explore the black roots of rock 'n' roll and its impact on civil rights inAmerica. A true music lovers' biography,Blue Monday, includes new revelations about the politics behind the music labels of the 1930s and 1940s, and provides a searing indictment of the great white myths of rock 'n' roll. Coleman also brings the African-American culture of New Orleans to life, and his narrative is passionate, compassionate, and authoritative.Blue Monday is the first biography to convey the full scope of Fats Domino's impact on the popular music of the twentieth century. "

Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock 'n' Roll

This smart, incisive biography traces Bruce Springsteen's evolution from a young artist who wasn't sure what he wanted to say to an acclaimed musician with a distinctive vision for a better society. Brilliantly analyzing and evoking Springsteen's output, Marc Dolan unveils the pulsing heart of his music: its deep personal, political, and cultural resonances, which enabled Springsteen to reflect on his experiences as well as the world around him. The book is now updated with a new chapter on The Promise, Wrecking Ball, and the 2012 tour.

Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll

Long before Elvis Presley entered Sam Phillips's Sun Records studio in 1954, rock 'n' roll was being performed and recorded by the likes of Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, the Clovers, the Dominoes, the Midnighters, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Wanda Jackson, and Johnny Ace. More than just a series of shrewd and evocative portraits of these and sixteen other performers, this book is also a paean to a forsaken time of relentless excess, sudden ruin, and fierce music. For this edition, the author has contributed a new listing of recent CD reissues. From 1945 to 1955, from Chinese hillbillies to Elvis's long-lost twin brother, here are the Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll.

E-books

All Shook Up

The birth of rock 'n roll ignited a firestorm of controversy--one critic called it "musical riots put to a switchblade beat"--but if it generated much sound and fury, what, if anything, did it signify?As Glenn Altschuler reveals in All Shook Up, the rise of rock 'n roll--and the outraged reception to it--in fact can tell us a lot about the values of the United States in the 1950s, a decade that saw a great struggle for the control of popular culture. Altschuler shows, in particular, how rock's "switchblade beat" opened up wide fissures in American society along the fault-lines of family, sexuality, and race. For instance, the birth of rock coincided with the Civil Rights movement and brought "race music" into many white homes for the first time. Elvis freely credited blacks with originating the music he sang and some of the great early rockers were African American, most notably, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. In addition, rock celebrated romance and sex, rattled the reticent by pushing sexuality into the public arena, and mocked deferred gratification and the obsession with work of men in gray flannel suits. And it delighted in the separate world of the teenager and deepened the divide between the generations, helping teenagers differentiate themselves from others. Altschuler includes vivid biographical sketches of the great rock 'n rollers, including Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly--plus their white-bread doppelgangers such as Pat Boone.Rock 'n roll seemed to be everywhere during the decade, exhilarating, influential, and an outrage to those Americans intent on wishing away all forms of dissent and conflict. As vibrant as the music itself, All Shook Up reveals how rock 'n roll challenged and changed American culture and laid the foundation for the social upheaval of the sixties.

Rock 'n' Roll Movies

Rock 'n' Roll Movies presents an eclectic look at the many manifestations of rock in motion pictures, from teen-oriented B-movies to Hollywood blockbusters to avant-garde meditations to reverent biopics to animated shorts to performance documentaries. Acclaimed film critic David Sterritt considers the diverse ways that filmmakers have regarded rock 'n' roll, some cynically cashing in on its popularity and others responding to the music as sincere fans, some depicting rock as harmless fun and others representing it as an open challenge to mainstream norms. 

How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll

"There are no definitive histories," writes Elijah Wald, in this provocative reassessment of American popular music, "because the past keeps looking different as the present changes." Earlier musical styles sound different to us today because we hear them through the musical filter of other styles that came after them, all the way through funk and hip hop.As its blasphemous title suggests, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll rejects the conventional pieties of mainstream jazz and rock history. Rather than concentrating on those traditionally favored styles, the book traces the evolution of popular music through developing tastes, trends and technologies--including the role of records, radio, jukeboxes and television --to give a fuller, more balanced account of the broad variety of music that captivated listeners over the course of the twentieth century. Wald revisits original sources--recordings, period articles, memoirs, and interviews--to highlight how music was actually heard and experienced over the years. And in a refreshing departure from more typical histories, he focuses on the world of working musicians and ordinary listeners rather than stars and specialists. He looks for example at the evolution of jazz as dance music, and rock 'n' roll through the eyes of the screaming, twisting teenage girls who made up the bulk of its early audience. Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and the Beatles are all here, but Wald also discusses less familiar names like Paul Whiteman, Guy Lombardo, Mitch Miller, Jo Stafford, Frankie Avalon, and the Shirelles, who in some cases were far more popular than those bright stars we all know today, and who more accurately represent the mainstream of their times.Written with verve and style, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll shakes up our staid notions of music history and helps us hear American popular music with new ears.

Record makers and breakers: voices of the independent rock 'n' roll pioneers

This volume is a history of the independent rock 'n' roll record industry from its raw regional beginnings in the 1940s with R & B and hillbilly music through its peak in the 1950s and decline in the 1960s. John Broven combines narrative history with extensive oral history material from numerous recording pioneers including Joe Bihari of Modern Records; Marshall Chess of Chess Records; Jerry Wexler, Ahmet Ertegun, and Miriam Bienstock of Atlantic Records; Sam Phillips of Sun Records; Art Rupe of Specialty Records; and many more

Before Elvis

An essential work for rock fans and scholars, Before Elvis: The Prehistory of Rock 'n' Roll surveys the origins of rock 'n' roll from the minstrel era to the emergence of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley. Unlike other histories of rock, Before Elvis offers a far broader and deeper analysis of the influences on rock music. Dispelling common misconceptions, it examines rock's origins in hokum songs and big-band boogies as well as Delta blues, detailing the embrace by white artists of African-American styles long before rock 'n' roll appeared. This unique study ranges far and wide, highlighting not only the contributions of obscure but key precursors like Hardrock Gunter and Sam Theard but also the influence of celebrity performers like Gene Autry and Ella Fitzgerald. Too often, rock historians treat the genesis of rock 'n' roll as a bolt from the blue, an overnight revolution provoked by the bland pop music that immediately preceded it and created through the white appropriation of music till then played only by and for black audiences. In Before Elvis, Birnbaum daringly argues a more complicated history of rock's evolution from a heady mix of ragtime, boogie-woogie, swing, country music, mainstream pop, and rhythm-and-blues--a melange that influenced one another along the way, from the absorption of blues and boogies into jazz and pop to the integration of country and Caribbean music into rhythm-and-blues. Written in an easy style, Before Elvis presents a bold argument about rock's origins and required reading for fans and scholars of rock 'n' roll history.

Crossroads

The blues revival of the early 1960s brought new life to a seminal genre of American music and inspired a vast new world of singers, songwriters, and rock bands. The Rolling Stones took their name from a Muddy Waters song; Led Zeppelin forged bluesy riffs into hard rock and heavy metal; and ZZ Top did superstar business with boogie rhythms copped from John Lee Hooker. Crossroads tells the myriad stories of the impact and enduring influence of the early-'60s blues revival: stories of the record collectors, folkies, beatniks, and pop culture academics; and of the lucky musicians who learned life-changing lessons from the rediscovered Depression-era bluesmen that found hipster renown by playing at coffeehouses, on college campuses, and at the Newport Folk Festival. The blues revival brought notice to these forgotten musicians, and none more so than Robert Johnson, who had his songs covered by Cream and the Rolling Stones, and who sold a million CDs sixty years after dying outside a Mississippi Delta roadhouse. Crossroads is the intersection of blues and rock 'n' roll, a vivid portrait of the fluidity of American folk culture that captures the voices of musicians, promoters, fans, and critics to tell this very American story of how the blues came to rest at the heart of popular music.

The Nicest Kids in Town

American Bandstand, one of the most popular television shows ever, broadcast from Philadelphia in the late fifties, a time when that city had become a battleground for civil rights. Counter to host Dick Clark's claims that he integrated American Bandstand, this book reveals how the first national television program directed at teens discriminated against black youth during its early years and how black teens and civil rights advocates protested this discrimination. Matthew F. Delmont brings together major themes in American history--civil rights, rock and roll, television, and the emergence of a youth culture--as he tells how white families around American Bandstand's studio mobilized to maintain all-white neighborhoods and how local school officials reinforced segregation long after Brown vs. Board of Education. The Nicest Kids in Town powerfully illustrates how national issues and history have their roots in local situations, and how nostalgic representations of the past, like the musical film Hairspray, based on the American Bandstand era, can work as impediments to progress in the present.

Baby Boomer Rock 'n' Roll Fans

Rock 'n' roll infuses the everyday life of the American adult, but for the first, complete generation of rock 'n' roll fans--baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964--it holds a special kind of value, playing a social personality-defining role that is unique to this group. Based on 18 years of sociological research and 52 years of rock 'n' roll fandom, Baby Boomer Rock 'n' Roll Fans: The Music Never Ends draws on data collected from participant observations and interviews with artists, fans, and producers to explore our aging rock culture through the filter of symbolic interactionist theory. As author Joseph Kotarba notes, the "purpose in writing this book is to describe sociologically the many ways people in our society who were raised on rock'n'roll music and its cultural baggage have continued to use the rock'n'roll idiom to make sense of, celebrate, and master everyday life--through adulthood and for the rest of their lives." Sociological concepts of the "self" are the key organizing feature of this book, as each chapter engages with sociological ideas to explain how baby boomers use popular music to explore, sculpt, fulfill, and ultimately make sense of who they are in different contexts. Kotarba looks at baby boomers as individuals and parents, as political actors and religious adherents, social beings and aging members of American society, detailing throughout how rock 'n' roll provides a groundwork for establishing and maintaining both private and public sense of self. Baby Boomer Rock 'n' Roll Fans will interest scholars and students of music and sociology and American popular culture.

Every Night's a Saturday Night

Born in Slaton, Texas, Bobby Keys has lived the kind of life that qualifies as a rock 'n' roll folktale. In his early teens, Keys bribed his way into Buddy Holly's garage band rehearsals. He took up the saxophone because it was the only instrument left unclaimed in the school band, and he convinced his grandfather to sign his guardianship over to Crickets drummer J.I. Allison so that he could go on tour as a teenager. Keys spent years on the road during the early days of rock 'n' roll with hitmakers like Bobby Vee and the various acts on Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars Tour, followed by decades as top touring and session sax man for the likes of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, George Harrison, John Lennon, and onto his gig with The Rolling Stone from 1970 onward. Every Night's a Saturday Night finds Keys setting down the many tales of an over-the-top rock 'n' roll life in his own inimitable voice. Augmented by exclusive contributions with famous friends like Keith Richards, Joe Crocker, and Jim Keltner, Every Night's a Saturday Night paints a unique picture of the coming-of-age of rock 'n' roll.