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Fifty Years of the Concept Album in Popular Music: From the Beatles to Beyoncé

Fifty Years of the Concept Album in Popular Music: From the Beatles to Beyoncé

Current price: $29.95
Publication Date: February 8th, 2024
Bloomsbury Academic
The MIT Press Bookstore
1 on hand, as of Apr 16 5:20pm
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The concept album is one of popular music's most celebrated-and misunderstood-achievements. This book examines the untold history of the rock concept album, from The Beatles to Beyonc .

The roots of the concept album are nearly as old as the long-playing record itself, as recording artists began using the format to transcend a mere collection of songs into a listening experience that takes the listener on a journey through its unifying mood, theme, narrative, or underlying idea.
Along the way, artists as varied as the Moody Blues, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Parliament, Donna Summer, Iron Maiden, Radiohead, The Notorious B.I.G., Green Day, Janelle Mon e, and Kendrick Lamar created albums that form an extended conversation of art and music. Limits were pushed as the format grew over the subsequent eras.

Seminal albums like the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Who's Tommy, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, stand alongside modern classics like Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville, Kendrick Lamar's good kid, "m.A.A.d city," and Beyonc 's Lemonade. Mixing iconic albums with some newer and lesser-known works makes for a book that ventures into the many sides of a history that has yet to be told-until now.

About the Author

Eric Wolfson is the author of the critically acclaimed 33 1/3 book From Elvis in Memphis. He runs the accompanying website,, and is active on Twitter (@EricWolfson) and Instagram (@EricWolfson). He lives in Washington, D.C., and works in the Performing Arts Division of the U.S. Copyright Office.