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Electric Shock
Electric Shock

Electric Shock

From the Gramophone to the iPhone – 125 Years of Pop Music


736 Pages, 5 x 7.75

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $23.95 (US $23.95)

Publication Date: October 2017

ISBN 9780099575191

Rights: US

Penguin Random House UK (Oct 2017)
Vintage UK

Price: $23.95


A thrilling, panoramic history of popular music from the birth of recorded sound to the present day

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 20th 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.


"Witty and compelling." —Esquire

"Dauntlessly comprehensive, elegantly parlayed survey of pop's recorded history." —MOJO

"A great history book, read it and stream." —Max Bell, Record Collector

"What Electric Shock imparts . . . is delight and curiosity in the music it chronicles with such pithy vivacity." —Neil Spenser, Guardian

"This magnificent book is highly recommended for anyone with more than a passing interest in popular music over the last century or so." —Alwyn Turner, Literary Review

"This immensely rich and detailed history is a first rate examination of the evolution of popular music." —Goldmine

"Swiftly covering the decades without ever feeling hurried, Doggett's sharp, concise analysis places each musical development into historical context." —Booklist

Author Biography

Peter Doggett has been writing about popular music and social and cultural history for more than 30 years. His books include The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s and You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles after the Breakup.