WOW! The History of Popular Music

Blokhus, Yngve and Audun Molde: WOW! Populærmusikkens historie

To state the patently obvious first. By virtually any measure imaginable – number of composers and compositions, performance and recording frequency, popularity ratings – popular music is, well, the most popular musical genre ever. But why? That’s what this book intends to find out, by investigating the story of popular music from its tentative beginnings 150 years ago to its current manifestations.

Many people have responded to a need to write about popular music. As a rule they have focused on one or a small number of writers, performers, periods, etc. It is in fact astounding that among this abundance of books we find practically nothing on the history of popular music as such. So this book is a relatively unique contribution in that respect. Through the course of twenty-five chapters it investigates the different genres, their evolution and impact; identifies the musical innovators, and, perhaps most importantly, shows how popular music grew and expanded within an ever changing world.

Although the book will also be useful for teachers and students of music, it is a treasure trove for fans of popular music – the wider audience. The first chapters deal with sounds, musical sounds. It explains the terminology being used before exploring technology and the popular music business. The book also contains a detailed index on popular music.

Click here for English synopsis.
German translation of contents and two chapters ( 14. "Jugendkultur und lärmende Gitarren" and 25. "Populärmusik in einer postmodernen Zeit") is available from Aschehoug Agency.

Praise for "WOW!":

"...impressive and important...With their competence in music theory and their academic methods, Blokhus and Molde support their account with a whole different thoroughness than what has been the norm within music journalism. Christopher Nielsen’s wonderful illustrations and caricatures bear testimony to inside knowledge." ( Aftenposten)
"I grew up with rock music – here is the book I have wished to find under the Christmas tree for years" ( VG)

"...wonderful... It’s finally here; a swinging, groovy, entertaining, up-to-date and knowledgeable book about the history of popular music "( Sandefjords Blad)

"Wow – what a book! The broadest and deepest presentation of popular music in Norwegian. The thoroughness is impressive"( Fremtiden)

"accessible and good... written with an evident love for the topic. The amount of information is enormous" ( Haugesunds Avis)

First published: 1996, Universitetsforlaget
2nd edition: 2004, Universitetsforlaget

Yngve Blokhus: Biography and bibliography
Audun Molde: Biography and bibliography


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