Op-Ed

‘Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé,’ by Bob Stanley

Much like the sound it describes, the best pop is swift, urgent and as brief and satisfying as squeezing the air out of packing bubbles. The jubilant genre has seen countless incarnations since its mid-1950s inception, and Bob Stanley attempts to cover them all in just under 600 pages. In his encyclopedic “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” Stanley zips through decades of dance tunes and teenage heartthrobs with an affectionate ebullience. The title is telling, as he clearly favors infectious songs with lighter lyrics over anything heavy, taking sly shots at Paul Simon (“almost no one would say he’s their favorite songwriter”) while lauding the goofy freneticism of the early rock-and-roll year 1958, which gave us songs like “Get a Job,” “Poor Little Fool,” “Do You Wanna Dance,” “Susie Q,” “Sea Cruise” and “Book of Love”: “Nothing was quite the same, or quite as new, or quite as free, ever again.”

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‘Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé,’ by Bob Stanley