Smash Hits

ebook The 100 Songs That Defined America

By James E. Perone

cover image of Smash Hits

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Well-known music author James Perone looks at 100 songs that helped tell America's story. He examines why each song became a hit, what cultural and social values it embodies, what issues it touches upon, what audiences it attracted, and what made it such a definitive part of American history and popular culture.

The chart-topping singles presented here crossed gender, age, race, and class lines to appeal to the mass American audience. The book discusses patriotic songs, minstrel music, and sacred songs and hymns as well as music in the broad categories of pop, rock, hip hop, jazz, country, and folk. An introduction provides an overview of the history and significant issues raised by the songs as a whole. Individual songs are then presented chronologically, based on when they were written. The revealing commentary for each "hit" is not only interesting and fun, but reveals what it was like to live in the United States at a particular time by unveiling the social, economic, and political issues—as well as the musical tastes—that made life what it was.

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Smash Hits