Music Industry News Network [10-04-2017]

Music Historian David Metzer Chronicles The Ballad In American Popular Music: From Elvis To Beyoncé



- Out Now Internationally As An eBook, To Be Published This Fall By Cambridge University Press

October 4, 2017 - New York, NY - The long and winding history of the ballad is explored in rich detail for the first time in music historian David Metzer's new book The Ballad in American Popular Music: From Elvis To Beyoncé. The book is available now as an eBook, with print editions shipping this fall by Cambridge University Press (pre-orders available now).

A music historian at the University of British Columbia, Metzer delves into the history and appeal of a genre that has led to hundreds of unforgettable hits and lots of tears. The book unfolds a rich history from the tension between the early rock 'n rollers and pop balladeers through the groundswell of the "power ballad" in the 1970s and through the rise of hip-hop and indie ballads. The stories of celebrated performers like Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Céline Dion and Whitney Houston are weaved in with those of more outside-the-box balladeers like LL Cool J and Elliott Smith.

Metzer describes how ballads tell us much about how events and emotions were felt and understood in wider culture at specific moments of recent American history. Tracing both the stylistic and emotional developments of the genre from the 1950s to the present day, this lively and engaging volume is as much a musical history as it is a history of emotional life in America.

"While I am a scholar, I'm also a diehard music fan who has been crying over some of these songs since I was a kid," said Metzer. "Ballads mean a lot to me, and as I found out while writing this book, they elicit strong opinions from music lovers. When I set out to write the first history of the ballad, I wanted to inspire more of those reactions, reveal how the songs cast spells on us, and show the rich role that ballads have played in popular culture. In my book, readers will hear their favorite songs in new ways.”

Order 'The Ballad in American Popular Music: From Elvis To Beyonce’ -

Read an excerpt: "Hip Hop Ballads” -

Listen to "The Ballad in American Popular Music” (Spotify playlists) -

About David Metzer
David Metzer is a music and cultural historian, and a professor and Distinguished Uni-versity Scholar at the University of British Columbia. His research has explored a variety of musical genres as well as cultural issues of race, sexuality, gender, and emotional expression. Metzer’s previous books--Musical Modernism at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (2009) and Quotation and Cultural Meaning in Twentieth-Century Music (2003)-- – are widely recognized as influential and original contributions to music history. Metzer .has published articles in numerous music and interdisciplinary journals, and has been interviewed by major media outlets, including the BBC, The Huffington Post, and CBC Radio. For more information on David Metzer, please visit

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