The must-read music book of 2022—and the first such history bringing together all musical genres to tell the definitive narrative of the birth of Pop from 1900 to the mid-1950s.
Pop music didn't begin with the Beatles in 1963, or with Elvis in 1956, or even with the first seven-inch singles in 1949. There was a pre-history that went back to the first recorded music, right back to the turn of the century.
Who were these earliest record stars—and were they in any meaningful way "pop stars"? Who was George Gershwin writing songs for? Why did swing, the hit sound for a decade or more, become almost invisible after World War II?
The prequel to Bob Stanley’s celebrated Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!, this new volume is the first book to tell the definitive story of the birth of pop, from the invention of the 78 rpm record at the end of the nineteenth century to the beginnings of rock and the modern pop age. Covering superstars such as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra, alongside the unheralded songwriters and arrangers behind some of our most enduring songs, Stanley paints an aural portrait of pop music's formative years in stunning clarity, uncovering the silver threads and golden needles that bind the form together.
Bringing the eclectic, evolving world of early pop to life—from ragtime, blues and jazz to Broadway, country, crooning, and beyond—Let's Do It is essential reading for all music lovers.
"An encyclopaedic introduction to the fascinating and often forgotten creators of Anglo-American hit music in the first half of the twentieth century."—Neil Tennant (The Pet Shop Boys)