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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $209.99

520 pp.
70 photos, 7" x 9"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada


A Canadian Perspective

Larry Starr, Christopher Waterman and Jay Hodgson

Introducing the chart-topping survey of popular music!

Rock: A Canadian Perspective is the first and only rock music text to survey the crucial contributions that Canadian musicians have made. It is also unique in its description of the myriad ways that rock 'n' roll has shaped, and then reshaped, Canada's culture since World War II. Specifically, the text covers the development of rock from its roots in the mid-1940s to its current incarnation in the twenty-first century incorporating a Canadian perspective. Some topics discussed include the use of urban folk music for marketing the 'mosaic' concept of Canadian culture; the place of rock 'n' roll music and culture in narratives of 'Americanization'; and the global success of Canadian 'indie' rock bands in the mid-2000s.

In a highly accessible writing style, Rock: A Canadian Perspective engages students with a balance of musical analysis and social context. Students will learn not only how and why rock has changed, but also what rock music sounds like through time. The book is enhanced by rich pedagogy: boxed inserts on significant individuals, recordings, and intriguing topics; well-organized listening charts; and over 70 black & white and colour photographs. This is an ideal text for introductory courses in the history of rock 'n' roll that will encourage Canadian readers to become more critically aware listeners of rock music.

Readership : First- and second-year courses in Introduction to Popular Music, Pop Music, Intro to Rock Music, Music and Popular Culture, Rock and Popular Music and North American Pop Music.


  • "It introduces Canadian subject matter to its Canadian audiences. This strength is beyond major; it is phenomenal. Frankly, I was moved and will be thrilled to introduce it to my students." -- Norman Standield, UBC
  • "This is a truly comprehensive survey of popular music with much to offer the Canadian student in popular music. The (book's) strengths are its breadth, its attention to detail, and its concise language. Specifically though, the Canadian content and Canadian context make this an unusual and refreshing book." --Kirsten Yri, WLU

Lyric Credits
Introduction: The Post War Context
The Baby Boom, Baby Boomers, and Post-War Canada
Canada: A Middle Power
Anti-Communism, Continental Solidarity, and Americanization
Rock and Roll Teenagers - North and South
1. Pre-History of Rock 'n' Roll, 1944-1955
The Top 40 and Market Saturation: The Industrial Basis of Musical Conservatism
Musical Technology in the Post-War Era
Urban Folk Music
The Folk Genre in Canadian Popular Music
Pop Crooners
Country Music
Rhythm and Blues
Red Robinson Broadcasts R&B: The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll
Discussion Questions
2. Rock 'n' Roll Erupts, 1954-1960
Technology and the Rise of Rock 'n' Roll
Cover Versions and Early Rock 'n' Roll
White R&B
The Rock 'n' Roll Business in Canada
Early Rock 'n' Roll on the Country Side: Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly
Early Rock 'n' Roll on the R&B Side: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino
Songwriters and Producers of Early Rock 'n' Roll
Pat Boone, Paul Anka, and 'Clean Teen' Rock 'n' Roll
Discussion Questions
3. From Rock to Pop in Canada, the Rise of Chansons Engagés & the Arrival of The Beatles, 1958-1964
From Rock to Pop: Solo Pop Singers in Canada
Chansonniers, Chansons Engagés, and the Rise of Separatism
Urban Folk and the Urban Folk Revival
Yorkville Village: 'Your Last Stop on the Way to Somewhere Else'
Producers, Arrangers, and the Early Sixties Ephemera
Beatlemania and the British Invasion
Discussion Questions
4. Rock in/and 'The Sixties' - 1964-1969
Ray Charles and the Dawn of Soul
Soul Brother Number One and Lady Soul
The Beach Boys Better the Beatles: 'Good Vibrations'
Dylan Goes Electric: The Beginning of Folk Rock
Buffalo Springfield and the Marketing of Dissent
Simon and Garfunkel
The Rise of Counterculture
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
San Francisco and the Rise of Acid/Psychedelic Rock
Rock Across Canada
Festivals: Woodstock, Altamont, and the Festival Express
The Guess Who Breaks Through
Discussion Questions
5. Rock in the CRTC Era - The 1970s
The Late Sixties and the Early Seventies in Canada
The Rock Industry in the 1970s
The CRTC Era
Roots Rock and the Retreat from Radicalism
Pop Singer-Songwriters
Canadian Singer-Songwriters
Canadian Country in the 1970s
Rock Comes of Age
Album-Oriented Rock
Appropriating the Classical Tradition: Progressive Rock
Led Zeppelin and Heavy Metal
Santana: The Roots of Multiculturalism
Canada and Its Discontents: Closing Out the 1970s
Discussion Questions
6. Outsiders' Music - Progressive Country, Reggae, Punk, Funk & Disco
The Outlaws: Progressive Country
'I Shot the Sheriff': The Rise of Reggae
'Psycho Killer': The Dawn of Punk and New Wave
'Tear the Roof off the Sucker': Funk Music
'Night Fever': The Rise and Fall of Disco
'Droppin' Science': Hip-Hop and Rap
Discussion Questions
7. MuchMusic, Mega-Stars & Mega-Events - Rock in the 1980s
Canada Enters the Eighties
The Early 1980s: Record Recession
The Sudden Rise of Music Videos
The Global Record Industry: Horizontal Integration
Digital Technology and Popular Music
Now Playing on MuchMusic
A Tale of Three Albums: Thriller, Born in the U.S.A., and Graceland
Prince, Madonna, and the Production of Celebrity
Discussion Questions
8. Alternative Currents - Rock in the 1990s
The Meaning(s) of 'Alternative'
Up from the Underground: Hardcore, Indie, and Alternative Rock
In Search of Canada: The Tragically Hip
Rap City: Rap in the 1990s
Techno: Dance Music in the Digital Age
The Years of the Canadian Women: Shania Twain, Céline Dion, Sarah McLachlan, and k.d. lang
Discussion Questions
9. What Just Happened? Rock in the 2000s
The Rise and Fall of World Music
'World' and 'Roots': Canadian Definitions
Electronica at the Turn of the Century
Music and Technology in the Twenty-First Century
Canadian Indie and Post-Rock
Discussion Questions
Appendix: Internet Resources

Instructor's Manual
Student Study Guide
All of the songs referenced in the text are included in an iMix song list available for purchase through iTunes Canada
FREE Student Subscription to Grove Music Online

Larry Starr is a Professor of Music at the University of Washington and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Society for American Music.

Christopher Waterman is Professor of World Arts and Cultures, and Dean of the School of Arts and Architecture, UCLA.

Jay Hodgson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at the University of Western Ontario. As a graduate student at the University of Alberta, he received the 2006 Governor General's Gold Medal, an award that recognizes the most outstanding doctoral graduate student. Jay is also one of the architects of the pop music program at UWO.

The Pop, Rock, and Soul Reader - David Brackett
Music in America - Adelaida Reyes
Making Sense - Margot Northey and Joan McKibbin

Special Features

  • Uniquely Canadian. The first and only text to survey the history of rock/popular music incorporating a Canadian perspective; it gives Canadian students an engaging, exclusive overview of how rock has evolved in this country. Some examples include: - Solo pop singers in Canada - Yorkville Village - The CRTC era - MuchMusic - Canadian indie and post-rock.
  • Comprehensive. The text balances discussion of the rock canon with smaller genres and interesting anecdotes, giving students a detailed and complete understanding of rock's history from the milestones to the finer details.
  • Guided musical discussions. Musical analysis and listening charts for numerous rock tracks allow students to gain an ear for the "sound" of rock.
  • Up-to-date. Material on present-day Canadian indie rock; Aboriginal, Asian, and World music genres; and an updated section on music and technology ensure students are getting current and relevant insights into the present and future of rock.
  • Insightful discussion of technology. The text focuses on the relationship between technology and North American popular music, providing students with an understanding of how changes in technology have shaped pop and rock.
  • Unique approach. The authors draw a connection between culture and the changing sounds of popular music. The result is a text that will encourage students to think on a deeper level about how rock has evolved in relation to cultural change.
  • Outstanding design. Modern and clean, the stunning full-colour design engages students while highlighting and supporting pedagogical features. This text design will appeal to today's student-especially the visual learner.
  • Robust ancillary suite. A companion website features a complete Instructor's Manual and Student Study Guide, allowing students and instructors alike to enhance their use of the text.
  • Free subscription to Grove Music. When students purchase the book they get a free subscription to Grove Music Online, a web-based music resource that will give students access to over 50,000 articles, 20,000 biographies, audio examples, links to related websites, and much more.