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  • From Mummers to Madness: A Social History of Popular Music in England, c.1770s to c.1970s

    From Mummers to Madness: A Social History of Popular Music in England, c.1770s to c.1970s

    Posted by Huddersfield Press on 2021-09-14


This month we celebrate the release of our latest history book by Prof. David Taylor, who also authored Beerhouses, Brothels and Bobbies: From Mummers to Madness: A Social History of Popular Music in England, c.1770s to c.1970s. This book on popular music is aimed at a wide audience of both academics and those simply seeking to learn more about the history of popular music!

This new title surveys the evolution of popular music in England from the mid-Georgian era to the mid-Elizabethan years and investigates developments in the production and consumption of popular music, during a period which saw dramatic changes in the socio-economic, demographic and cultural life of the country. As well as being impacted by these developments, popular music also contributed to an ongoing process of adaptation and change. Chronologically, this publication starts with a consideration of popular music, both song and dance, during the era of urbanization and commercialization associated with the first Industrial Revolution, which saw the emergence of a mass consumer market for various forms of popular leisure. The second part of the book explores the emergence and development of Victorian and Edwardian music hall during a period in which imperialism was a major influence. Through an examination of song, in particular, this section shows how popular culture both reflected and shaped wider attitudes. As in the first section, emphasis is placed on the problematic and contested nature of popular music. The third section looks at the challenge to music hall from the new technologies associated with records, radio and film. In addition, particular with reference to popular dance, the response to the alleged threat of ‘Americanization’ is explored. The final section develops this theme further, looking at the varied responses to rock ‘n’ roll to rhythm and the blues, and then at the reception and development of  African-Caribbean music, from calypso to reggae. Throughout, this exciting new book takes into account technological changes as well as social and political tensions, thus investigating popular music in its wider social context.

Read and download the book here

About Prof. David Taylor:

Professor Taylor is a social historian, best known for his publications on crime and policing, but who has a long-standing personal and professional interest in popular leisure in general and popular music in particular. For many years he taught social history at the polytechnics, later universities, of Teesside and Huddersfield and, more recently, at the Huddersfield & District University of the Third Age.


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