Looking for an "anthropological" history of rock/pop music elements and trends.

While driving on a long trip yesterday, I started thinking about how certain little stylistic trends have been born into popular music - or more realistically, how much I don’t know about where such things came from! I’ve done a ton of music reading, but most of it has been on the cultural/aesthetic critic side - you know, all the classic Lester Bangs/Greil Marcus type stuff. I’m looking for something that actually picks apart the main techniques, signature riffs or motifs, vocal styles, etc. throughout rock (and by extension, pop) history.

For example, an old Montrose song came on the radio with Sammy Hagar singing, and I started laughing and thinking about how terrible that whole style of singing is - just that wailing, Robert Plant-derived howl. Then I started thinking back to Robert Plant…where did that very particular style of “rock singing” come from? It’s now the norm for “hard rock vocals,” but where did Plant get it from? And so on. I’m looking for a book that picks apart those things.

Any ideas?

Not a singing style, but it’s been important in live pop/rock music: in 1979 Kate Bush and her touring sound engineer designed and invented the first wireless microphone/ headset so she could sing and dance at the same time without needing to hold a microphone in her hand.

Jeez - there are COUNTLESS sources for this type of information. I have to help my son with his homework right now (I am online while he is running to his backpack to get his assignment for his computer homework).

It isn’t a book, but the DVD set The History of Rock and Roll, which was produced by Quincy Jones, is a great place to start.

Gotta run, but let me think about specific books - I have read so freakin’ many rock books that they all run together after a while…

I feel like an old fart for saying this, but…does “rock journalism” even exist any more? As a teen in the 1970s, I was an avid reader of Creem, Crawdaddy and Trouser Press, and to a lesser extent Rolling Stone, Circus and Spin with occasional delving into the UK press of Sounds, NME and Melody Maker.

I know Spin still exists in some form, and Rolling Stone is ok for Politics, but is anyone still writing about rock as a serious art form these days? As opposed to writing profiles of bands.

“Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read.” - Frank Zappa

It’s moved online - check out pitchfork.com and a ton of other sites that have WAY TOO much to say about a lot of bands that haven’t quite captured our imagination the way bands did back in the day…

Face it - as a mid-life old-guy guitar player and music lover, I have had to - music is NOT the central rallying form that young folks are using to make their statements and rebel against their parents and society any more - that’s what the internet, social networking, texting/twittering, etc. is for. So rock criticism, etc., doesn’t have the same…importance, I guess…as it did, because the music is no longer emerging - it has already emerged and the rules have been established and the newness has moved onto the next big thing…

Now get off my lawn, you pesky kids!! :wink: