The Cowsills In Magazines

Book Review
Journal of the Society for American Music

The Foundations of Rock: From “Blue Suede Shoes” to “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” By Walter Everett. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. In The Foundations of Rock, Walter Everett has produced a treatise both systematic and idiosyncratic, at once a comprehensive primer on the elements of rock music and a somewhat breathless gallop through the record collection of an ardent fan. Everett claims to have listened to “well over sixty-five hundred songs” in the course of his research, and the book’s profusion of musical examples gives the impression that hewould like nothing better than to introduce readers to every one of them (vi). The range of examples is appropriately eclectic and refreshingly open-minded in its inclusiveness:Herman’sHermits, Gary Puckett and theUnionGap, and theCowsills mingle unapologetically with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and The Band. Basing the book on contemporary commercial successes, rather than on the critical canon, Everett represents a true picture of the pop era that the book engages. He also implicitly asserts that a record collection—in addition to, yet aside from, the cultural, historical, and stylistic contexts of individual discs—is amusical universe unto itself.

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