Annotated Bibliographies by Topic (ML 120-128 and VARIOUS)

Popular Music and Musicians - See also Song Indexes

Booth, Mark W. American Popular Music: A Reference Guide
        See Annotated Bibliographies - American Music and Musicians

Claghorn, Charles E. Popular Bands and Performers.
        See Dictionaries and Encyclopedias—Biographical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Cowden, Robert H. Popular Singers of the Twentieth Century: A Bibliography of Biographical Materials.

Gammond, Peter. The Oxford Companion to Popular Music.
        See Dictionaries and Encyclopedias—Biographical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Haggerty, Gary. A Guide to Popular Music Reference Books: An Annotated Bibliography.

Kinkle, Roger D. The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz.
        See Dictionaries and Encyclopedias—Special Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Larkin, Colin, ed. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3d edition, 8 vols.
        See Dictionaries and Encyclopedias—Special Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Shapiro, Nat and Bruce Pollock, ed. Popular Music, 1920-1979, 3 vols.

Sheperd, John, David Horn, Dave Laing, Paul Oliver, Philip Tagg, Peter Wicke, and Jennifer Wilson. Popular Music Studies: A Select International Bibliography.

Shuker, Roy. Key Concepts in Popular Music.

Strong, Martin C. The Great Rock Discography.
               See Discographies

Taylor, Paul. Popular Music Since 1955: A Critical Guide to the Literature.

Cowden, Robert H. Popular Singers of the Twentieth Century: A Bibliography of Biographical Materials. Westport, Connecticut, London: Greenwood Press, 1999. Mus Ref ML 128 .S295 C72 1999

Use: A reference bibliography of popular singers of the twentieth century. Intended for aficionades, collectors, antiquatian dealers, librarians, and scholars.

Coverage: Lists “known” publications associated with popular singers. Incorporates elements of analytical and descriptive bibliography as well because it includes a great deal of information about individual works as physical objects. Devoted to popular and entertainment vocalists. Most of the artists included in those works specialized in a particular repertoire or style. Includes 971 performers with individual entries as well as numerous others mentioned in passing.If a popular singer authored an autobiography or was the subject of a biography, or if a performer received significant coverage in major dictionaries, encyclopedias, or the popular press, that individual was included.

Organization: This work is divided into three major section, each arranged alphabetically, and each including material published through early 1997.The first section, “collective titles: books on singers,” includes 115 books devoted entirely or primarily to popular vocalist. The second section, “collective titles: related books,”includes 231 books with additional material on many of the singers. Section three, “individual singers: A-Z,” includes sone 971 popular singers from Lina Abarbanell to Mizzi Zwerenz listed alphabetically and numbered C0001 through C0971. The appendix includes additional artists. All of the known autobiographies and biographies of these 971 artists are listed as well as cross-references to major biographical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and relevant periodicals.

Pros: Provides a broad and comfortable access to any level of reader.


Haggerty, Gary. A Guide to Popular Music Reference Books: An Annotated Bibliography. Music Reference Collection, Number 47. Donald L. Hixon, series adviser. London, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995. Mus Ref ML 128 .P63 H34 1995

Use: Directs user to popular music reference materials, bibliographic publications, and other music research resources by topic.

Coverage: Extensive referencing of published reference materials, bibliographic publications and other research resources relating to the popular music genres of twentieth-century America and the United Kingdom. Excludes obscure and narrow sources. Current through 1995.

Organization: Thirteen chapters: Bibliographies, Indexes to Periodicals, Indexes to Printed and Recorded Music, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, etc. Individual entries are ordered alphabetically and numbered. Each entry includes bibliographic information followed by an abstract. Three appendixes: Individual Discographies, Individual Bibliographies, and Electronic Resources.

Pros: Probably the most extensive bibliographic resource available for this popular music. Annotated entries.


Shapiro, Nat and Bruce Pollock, ed. Popular Music, 1920-1979, 3 vols. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1985. Mus Ref ML 120 .U5 S5 1985

Use: A practical reference tool oriented to the general user that provides basic publication information for songs. The preface states that the purpose of the catalog is “to offer the user as comprehensive and accurate a listing of significant popular songs as possible...but not to offer judgement on quality of songs.”

Coverage: Lists over 18,000 significant popular songs from 1920 to 1979, covering 60 years of music. According to the editors, it only includes “songs that achieved a substantial degree of popular acceptance, songs that were exposed to the public in especially notable circumstances, or songs that were accepted and given important performances by influential musical and dramatic artists.” It includes rhythm and blues, jazz, country western, and rock and roll, but doesn’t specify which type the song is for each entry. The geographic region covered is unclear, but seems to stay in the US and western Europe, and also appears to be limited to songs with English text.

Organization: Organized into 3 volumes. Volume 1 has the Acknowledgments, Preface, and Introductory Essays, and is followed by Song Listings, A-I. Volume 2 is Song Listings, J-T. Volume 3 contains Song Listings, U- Z, a Lyricists and Composers Index, Important Performances Index, an Awards Index, and a List of Publishers. Introductory essays are listed for each decade in chronological order until those about the 1960's and 1970's, for which there is an essay covering every 5 years. The Songs Listings are organized by song title alphabetically. Each entry includes (in this order): Title and alternate title, country of origin, author and composer, current publisher and copyright date, and annotation of the song’s origins or performance history. Bibliographic information is sufficient–there is the publisher and copyright date in each entry, and all the publisher information (address) in the List of Publishers.

Pros: The indexes are good–it is possible to look up a song by title, performance, awards given, and composer/lyricist, and also find out the address of the publisher. Another advantage is that song titles are listed alphabetically and shown in bold type, making a title clear and easy to find on a page. The essays about each decade explain why certain songs are considered significant.

Cons: The preface never indicates clearly from what geographic location the songs have been selected, and neither do the entries. Another problem is that publication information is from 1985–it’s possible that many of the songs listed may be out of print now. The publisher addresses given in the index may be out-of-date as well. It would help to add a list of sound recordings available, since it lists the date a song was recorded or performed. The annotations seem a bit brief.


Sheperd, John, David Horn, Dave Laing, Paul Oliver, Philip Tagg, Peter Wicke, and Jennifer Wilson. Popular Music Studies: A Select International Bibliography. London: Mansell Publishing, 1997. Mus Ref ML 128 .P63 P67 1997

Use: Intended for popular music scholars and those in related and cognate disciplines, students in university and college courses that have popular music content or where a knowledge of popular music is useful, and professionals working in information services.

Coverage: The first bibliography of scholarly work on popular music that attempts to be representative of the field of popular music studies as a whole. Concerns itself largely with non-biographical material. Made up overwhelmingly of books and articles in refereed or well-established and respected journals. The criteria for the inclusion of items have been the same whether they are in English or another language: (a) they must be representative of areas customarily covered by the language of the item in question, or (b) they must, in some way, be distinctive in an international context. In this way, the Bibliography attempts to reflect the existing geographic and linguistic distribution of scholarly popular music research, as well as the existence of international phenomena and genres.

Organization: In covering publications other than biographical, the Bibliography is divided into seven major sections: General Works, Genres, The Industry, Social and Cultural Contexts, Musical Practices, Locations, Theory and Method. Each section is further divided into a number of subjects. In the case of General Works, Genres, The Industry, Social and Cultural Contexts, and Theory and Method, these subjects are listed alphabetically within each section. In the case of Musical Practices and Locations, other principles of ordering have been used, which are intended to make it easier to find items within the Bibliography. In some instances, a hierarchy of ordering has been used (as with sub-genres within genres). The ordering of sections and subjects is set out in the Table of Contents. Individual entries are numbered sequentially throughout the Bibliography.


Shuker, Roy. Key Concepts in Popular Music. Key Concepts Series. London and New York: Routledge, 1998. Mus Ref ML 102.P66 S58 1998

Use: Anyone interested in popular music and any of its aspects would find this an invaluable resource. It would be useful for anyone doing research in socioloy, aesthetics, economics, or social psychology as they relate to popular music. Anyone wishing to find a definition or further reference materials on a particular popular music genre would find this an important source as well.

Coverage: The author defines his subject material as popular music, meaning “the main commercially produced and marketed musical genres, primarily in a Western context.” Therefore traditiional rock and pop forms and their various derivtive styls and genres are represented, along with more recent developments, such as reggae, rap, “world music” and various forms of dance music. Classical music, jazz, blues, and gospel are excluded, although the latter three, when combined with mainstream popular music may be included. Non-Western popular music is excluded, as well as popular music now obsolete, such as music hall, black face minstrel and vaudeville. Entries on specific individuals are included only as they are exemplars of concepts in popular music. Also excluded are more specialized musicological terms that can be found in studies emphasizing a musicological approach.

Organization: The emphasis of this book is on providing further reading, listening and viewing resources on popular music. It is organized as an extensive glossary, with entries arranged alphabetically and consisting of six general types: 1) definitions of social and cultural theories and the methodological approaches to those theories (such as theories of Marxism and feminism, and approaches such as ethnomusicology and aesthetics); 2) concepts and terminology associated with study of the music industry (such as recording technology, recording companies, and copyright information); 3) popular music genres (approximately 60 of them), their historical development, musical characteristics, stylistic attributes, major subgenres, and examples of recordings and performers associated with them; 4) musicians and their process of creating music, including terms applied to them and their music; 5) modes of delivery and sites of reception, such as clubs, different formats, radio, internet and MTV; 6) consumption and audience-related terminology, such as taste cultures, fans, subcultures (such as punk), and identity.

Pros: The emphasis on links to further research, since the subject material of this book is one that is in a constant state of being developed and redefined.

Cons: Sometimes it is hard to tell whether an entry is just an introduction to a general concept that could have differing meaning depending on context, or whether it is a specitic definition of a generally accepted and established term. Perhaps if it were organized by general and specific or by concept and term it would be easier to tell what definitions you can rely on a few years down the road, when much of the information may be outdated anyway.


Taylor, Paul. Popular Music Since 1955: A Critical Guide to the Literature. New York: Mansell Publishing, 1985. Mus Ref ML 128 .P63 T39 1985

Use: Provides a critical, bibliographical guide to the extensive body of popular music literature.

Coverage: Covers information from 1955 to 1985. Included are over 1,600 entries for monographs which cite over 2,000 editions. In addition details of over 200 periodicals are given.

Organization: Includes: (1) a comprehensive guide to English-language monographs, (2) major, current periodicals, magazines, trade and music papers available in the United Kingdom and North America, (3) fiction focusing of the subject, (4) general books on films concerned with the subject or featuring artists with synopses of the films, (5) social aspects, related subcultures, business economics, politics, and associated visual arts, and (6) the significant books published between 1955 though 1984.

Pros: Logical organization of material by relating associated subjects in clear, well-defined chapters.

Cons: Covers from 1955 to 1985. Not current.