*The Philosophy of Modern Song*

Confident black woman with crossed arms standing in front of crowd of people during demonstrations for black civil rights.
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Yes the author is Bob Dylan, and I give this one a thumbs up.  You can buy it here.  Here is one bit:

A-Wop-Bop-A-Loo-Bop-A-Wop-Bam-Boom.  Little Richard was speaking in tongues across the airwaves long before anybody knew what was happening.  He took speaking in tongues right out of the sweaty canvas tent and put it on the mainstream radio, even screamed like a holy preacher — which is what he was.  Little Richard is a master of the double entendre.  “Tutti Frutti” is a good example.  A fruit, a male homosexual, and “tutti frutti” is “all fruit.”  It’s also a sugary ice cream.  A gal named Sue and a gal named Daisy and they’re both transvestites.  Did you ever see Elvis singing “Tutti Frutti” on Ed Sullivan?  Does he know what he’s singing about?  Do you think Ed Sullivan knows?  Do you think they both know?  Of all the people who sing “Tutti Fruitti,” Pat Boone was probably the only one who knew what he was singing about.  And Pat knows about speaking in tongues as well.


The Grateful Dead are not your usual rock and roll band.  They’re essentially a dance band.  They have more in common with Arie Shaw and bebop than they do with the Byrds or the Stones…There is a big difference in the types of women that you see from the stage when you are with the Stones compared to the Dead.  With the Stones it’s like being at a porno convention.  With the Dead, it’s more like the women you see by the river in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?  Free floating, snaky and slithering like in a typical daydream.  Thousands of them….With the Dead, the audience is part of the band — they might as well be on the stage.

Or how about this:

Bluegrass is the other side of heavy metal.  Both are musical forms steeped in tradition.  They are the two forms of music that visually and audibly have not changed in decades.  People in their respective fields still dress like Bill Monroe and Ronnie James Dio.  Both forms have a traditional instrumental lineup and a parochial adherence to form.

Bluegrass is the more direct emotional music and, though it might not be obvious to the casual listener, the more adventurous.

This is one of the better books on America, and one of the best books on American popular song.  But then again, that is what you would expect from a Nobel Laureate in literature, right?

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