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Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair with '50s Pop Music

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February 1964: The Beatles step onto the tarmac at JFK International Airport and turn the country on its head. It's the advent of rock and roll's uninterrupted reign, youthful rebellion, and overt teenage sex. It's also the deathblow for the pop music of another generation -- the songs of Pat Boone and Georgia Gibbs -- and all its perky, white-bread conformity.

Not two year
Hardcover, 241 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Free Press
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Jessica Barkl
May 26, 2009 Jessica Barkl rated it it was amazing
Loved this! So's like revisionist history for critics because it's written by a woman...who recognizes that popularity in music is often controlled by women, but their opinions are never considered...she also was in the process of writing this novel when she was my age and her doubts, experiences, and processes totally coincide with the discoveries that I'm making part memoir, part criticism, and part history...all my favorite genres...Also, this book was gift from my assista ...more
Sep 25, 2010 bup rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
Schoemer's trademark confessional-style interview writing is at full force plus in this book, wherein she discovers through interviews with 1950's whitewashed, bowdlerized versions of rock and rollers, why she's never been to her.

It works. She evolves past rock critic. She dismisses the notion that one determines if music is "good" by analyzing whether or not it's good. Amusingly, she uses the word good in ironic quotes more often than probably any book in history. She gives herself, and all of
Matt Jasper
Mar 27, 2011 Matt Jasper rated it liked it
This was a quick read, watching a rock critic figure out her strained relationship with her mother and father while interviewing the written off pop musicians from the late 50s which came in between Elvis and the Beatles that her parents grew up with. It had some insights that what may not be cool or critically acclaimed has merit, and is the rare rock critic book that openly admits that most rock critics are trying to work out their own issues through their writings. Interesting for those that ...more
Nov 14, 2011 Noetic_Hatter rated it really liked it
A fascinating book that takes us on the journey of the author's recognition of her own issues with commitment and family. It starts out basically as a trivia book with interesting interviews about classic singers who are historically unappreciated. It ends with a deeper emotional message about anger and frustration with one's life choices.

A good read.
Mar 10, 2010 Colleen rated it it was ok
Got through about half before I decided it wasn't worth it. THe writing was perfectly fine, but I just wasn't interested in the people she was profiling. I expected this to be more about people I'd heard of and whose music I loved.
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Karen Schoemer is a music journalist whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Spin, New York Magazine, and other magazines and newspapers.

She lives in upstate New York.
More about Karen Schoemer...

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