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Music, Style, and Aging

Music, Style, and Aging: Growing Old Disgracefully?

Andy Bennett
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 210
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  • Book Info
    Music, Style, and Aging
    Book Description:

    The image of the aging rock-and-roller is not just Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger on stage in their sixties. In his timely bookMusic, Style, and Aging, cultural sociologist Andy Bennett explains how people move on from youth and effectively grow older with popular music.For many aging followers of rock, punk, and other contemporary popular genres, music is ingrained in their identities. Its meaning is highly personal and intertwined with the individual's biographical development. Bennett studies these fans and how they have changed over time--through fashions, hairstyles, body modification, career paths, political orientations, and perceptions of and by the next generation.The significance of popular music for these fans is no longer tied exclusively to their youth. Bennett illustrates how the music? that "mattered" to most people in their youth continues to play an important role in their adult lives--a role that goes well beyond nostalgia.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0809-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introduction: A Life-Changing Thing
    (pp. 1-10)

    The beginning of the twenty-first century marks an interesting and highly significant period in contemporary popular music history. Almost every living generation in the Westernized world has grown up in an age during which popular music has been a pivotal element of the global media and cultural industries, be it the advent of rock ’n’ roll during the mid-1950s, the psychedelic and politicized rock of the late 1960s, the punk backlash of the mid-1970s, or the dance music explosion of the late 1980s. The sounds, styles, and cultural impact of each of these popular music eras have been vividly documented...

  5. I Contextualizing Popular Music and Aging

    • 1 Popular Music and the Aging Audience
      (pp. 13-41)

      In June 1996, when veteran U.K. punk rockers the Sex Pistols performed their twentieth-anniversary reunion concert at London’s Finsbury Park, early into the band’s set lead singer John Lydon (alias Johnny Rotten) is reputed to have said to the audience, “Forty, fat, and back!”¹ Offered as a self-mocking remark by Lydon on the aging profile of the Sex Pistols, this comment was also a timely reflection on the longevity of punk and its aging fan base. Along with the younger fans who were there to see a punk legend for the first—and possibly last—time, there were also many...

    • 2 Individual and Collective Lifestyles of Aging Popular Music Audiences
      (pp. 42-64)

      Chapter 1 began the task of mapping the social and cultural terrains of the aging baby-boomer and post-boomer generations in the context of late modernity. In this chapter, I discuss the aging music audiences themselves—or, more specifically, their role as active agents, reflexively producing their aging identities through everyday engagement with popular music and its attendant cultural resources. Key to this analysis is the concept of lifestyle, a term associated in a contemporary sense with the cultural turn in sociology (Chaney 1994) and cognate disciplines concerned with the study of culture. As briefly outlined in Chapter 1, integral to...

  6. II Case Studies

    • 3 Toning Down the Mohawk: Music, Style, and Aging
      (pp. 67-93)

      A characteristically defining feature of popular music genres from the 1950s onward has been the stylistic innovations that have grown up around them. Almost every post– Second World War popular music genre, from rock ’n’ roll through hard rock and glam to punk, goth, and hip-hop, has been spectacularly demarcated by the visual style of artists and audiences associated with these musics. The significance of music-based style has been most comprehensively mapped in relation to youth. Beginning with the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) in the 1970s (see Hall and Jefferson 1976) and continuing in the post-CCCS work...

    • 4 Career Opportunities: Work, Leisure, and the Aging Music Fan
      (pp. 94-122)

      The relationship between popular music, work, and leisure has been only thinly mapped in existing academic work. Part of the problem here arguably relates to an overemphasis on music itself as a source of work and/or revenue. Studies that consider the vocational qualities of popular music tend to focus on musicians (Cohen 1991), DJs (Langlois 1992), and others who make up the infrastructure necessary to support the production, performance, and consumption of music—promoters, club owners, studio producers, record company personal, and so on (Spring 2004; Stahl 2004). Such perceptions of music’s value as a vocational pursuit are broadly mirrored...

    • 5 “This Is ‘Dad House’”: Continuity and Conflict among Multigenerational Music Audiences
      (pp. 123-150)

      Throughout this book, it has been noted occasionally how many of those popular music scenes that continue to be categorized under the banner of youth culture are now, in fact, essentially multigenerational. The existence of common tastes in popular music, style, and attendant cultural resources across the generations has led to claims that the concept of youth, as a stylistically demarcated cultural category, no longer exists; that youth now describes a way of feeling as much as a way of being (Osgerby 2008). Such observations, however, tend to oversimplify a process of cultural change that is far more complex. Thus,...

    • 6 Still “Changing the World”? Music, Aging, and Politics
      (pp. 151-178)

      The previous chapters in this book have all considered, in various ways, the long-term influence of popular music on the lives of aging fans. One issue not yet examined, but clearly worthy of discussion, is the impact of music on the political values of aging popular music fans. The relationship between popular music and politics has been a regular topic of discussion since the early 1970s, when a series of books, among them Reich’sThe Greening of America(1971) and Denisoff and Peterson’s edited volumeThe Sounds of Social Change(1972), considered how popular music had served as a platform...

    • Conclusion: Too Old to Rock and Roll?
      (pp. 179-184)

      In the introduction to this book, it was noted that, although the aging popular music fan is by no means a unique product of late modernity, the relationship between popular music, media, and consumption that emerged during the 1950s did have a significant bearing on the everyday importance of popular music from there on as a cultural form and a cultural resource. From this point in history onward, questions of musical ownership became increasingly complex, as global icons, genres, texts, and associated consumer items, such as fashion and literature, forged new understandings of identity, lifestyle, and cultural belonging as these...

  7. Appendix: A Note on Methodology
    (pp. 185-188)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 189-202)
  9. Index
    (pp. 203-210)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-211)