Ambitious and groundbreaking, Electric Shock tells the story of popular music, from the birth of recording in the 1890s to the digital age, from the first pop superstars of the twentieth century to the omnipresence of music in our lives, in hit singles, ringtones and on Spotify.
Over that time, popular music has transformed the world in which we live. Its rhythms have influenced how we walk down the street, how we face ourselves in the mirror, and how we handle the outside world in our daily conversations and encounters. It has influenced our morals and social mores; it has transformed our attitudes towards race and gender, religion and politics.
From the beginning of recording, when a musical performance could be preserved for the first time, to the digital age, when all of recorded music is only a mouse-click away; from the straitlaced ballads of the Victorian era and the ‘coon songs’ that shocked America in the early twentieth century to gangsta rap, death metal and the multiple strands of modern dance music: Peter Doggett takes us on a rollercoaster ride through the history of music. Within a narrative full of anecdotes and characters, Electric Shock mixes musical critique with wider social and cultural history and shows how revolutionary changes in technology have turned popular music into the lifeblood of the modern world.