Quotes about How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll

"I couldn't put it down. It nailed me to the wall, not bad for a grand sweeping in-depth exploration of American music with not one mention of myself. Wald's book is suave, soulful, ebullient and will blow out your speakers."
           --Tom Waits

"Wald's the only writer who ever got it right!"
            --Mitch Miller

"If you're looking, as Wald's subtitle has it, for 'an alternative history of American music'...you've found it.... Wald is a meticulous researcher, a graceful writer and a committed contrarian...an impressive accomplishment."
           --Peter Keepnews, The New York Times Book Review

"As an alternative, corrective history of American music ... Wald's book is invaluable. It forces us to see that only by studying the good with the bad—and by seeing that the good and bad can't be pulled apart—can we truly grasp the greatness of our cultural legacy."
           --Malcolm Jones, Newsweek

"Brilliant and provocative... the most challenging, and head-clearing history of American popular music to be published in decades."
           --Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News (Editor's Choice)

"a sophisticated, scintillating and subversive survey of popular music in the United States... By eschewing aesthetic judgments, he provides a more complete account of change, continuity and conformity in American music."
           --Glenn C. Altschuler, Tulsa World

"A complex, fascinating and long-overdue response to decades of industry-driven revisionism that's sure to outrage lemmings and invigorate lions."
           --Jonny Whiteside, LA Weekly

"A bracing, inclusive look at the dramatic transformation in the way music was produced and listened to during the 20th century.... One of those rare books that aims to upend received wisdom and actually succeeds."
           --Kirkus Reviews

"Some of the smartest historiography I've ever read. The examples and turns of phrase sometimes make me laugh out loud, and nearly every page overturns another out-moded assumption. Elijah Wald just calls it like he sees it and transforms everything as a result."
           --Susan McClary, MacArthur Fellow and author of  Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form and Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality.

"This is a ground-breaking book, a muscular revisionist account that will get people thinking quite differently about the history of pop music. I've learned much from it and admire the writing style that is so light on its feet, lucid and elegant."  
            --Bernard Gendron, author of Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club: Popular Music and the Avant Garde.  

"Wald explains musical and recording techniques and sociological phenomena in an engaging style accessible to a wide range of readers. Throughout, he makes a compelling case for why the figures most historians have disregarded or footnoted need to be considered in order to understand the totality of American popular music. This is an ideal companion to the plethora of standard histories available. Highly recommended."
            --James E. Perone, Library Journal, starred review

"It's an ambitious project, but Wald's casual narrative style and eye for a juicy quote give it a lightness that even a novice to pop, rock, or jazz history can appreciate... The title is appropriate: This is a provocative book, in all the right ways."
            --Michaelangelo Matos, The Onion AV Club

"Wald is a sharp, fair critic eager to right the record on popular music... deepens the appreciation of American popular music."
            --Carlo Wolff, Boston Globe

"A serious treatise on the history of recorded music, sifted through his filter as musician, scholar, and fan... It's a brave and original work that certainly delivers."
            --John Kehe, Christian Science Monitor

"A smart, inclusive celebration of mainstream stars, such as 1920s bandleader Paul Whiteman and the Fab Four, who introduced jazz, blues, and other roughhewn musical forms to mass audiences."
            --AARP Magazine

"A powerfully provocative look at popular music and its impact on America."
            --Michael E. Young, Dallas Morning News

"As catchy and compelling as a great pop single, this revisionist retelling is provocative, profound and utterly necessary... Clearly the product of years of passionate research, it's so rife with references and surprising anecdotes that it's potentially overwhelming, but Wald makes a superlative tour guide-- frank, funny and generous but judicious with his inclusions-- and his book is a beguiling, blasphemous breeze."
            --K. Ross Hoffman, Philadelphia City Paper

"a book about the whole scope of American pop, from ragtime, swing and foxtrots to teen idols, disco and the Twist – not to mention how nightclubs replaced balls and barn dances; how radio ruined the sheet-music business; how small combos and DJs replaced dance orchestras; and particularly how records slowly became a bigger business than live music.
            "Wald's title is a catchy bid for controversy, but it's not only that... he is using the Beatles as a standard for comparison...and the title contains a tension that defines 20th-century American music."
            --Carl Wilson, Toronto Globe and Mail


"Wald explores... 80 years of popular music, from the earliest days of recorded sound, deftly navigating the evolving complexities of American race relations and the social and economic upheavals of the last century. It's a tour de force."
            --Jon Dennis, The Guardian (UK)

"one of the many pleasures of this meticulously researched, lucidly written, and sometimes startling book is that it makes you want to argue with it....this is one of those rare books one wishes were longer."
            --Charles Spencer, Sunday Telegraph (UK)

"Elijah Wald's provocative, meticulously researched new book, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music, turns the stock rock-and-roll narratives on their head."
            --Very Short List

"Wald's arguments are as nuanced as his scope is wide, which makes this a fascinating and useful volume--required reading for any fan of pop music."
            --Stephen M. Deusner, Memphis Flyer

"fascinating... By shining a light on the uncool music that helped shape rock ’n’ roll, Wald has given us a more honest way to imagine the music of the future."
            --Miles Raymer, Chicago Reader

"Fascinating... It's hard to imagine any American music buff coming away from this book without a fresh perspective and an overwhelming desire to seek out Paul Whiteman CDs. Highly recommended."
            --Shay Quillen, San Jose Mercury News

"Wald's book may be the literary equivalent of revisionist Civil War histories which tell the war through the eyes of soldiers rather than the generals, for he highlights how consumers actually heard and experienced music over the years, whether as screaming teeny-boppers watching Dick Clark's Bandstand or swing afficionados dancing to Glenn Miller at the Roseland."

"Wald's eminently readable book is a scholarly, provocative and opinionated account of the history of pop music from Sousa to the Stones, from genteel parlor piano recitals to arena rock spectacles."
            --James Brinsfield, Kansas City Star