The music, performances, and cultural impact of some of the most enduring figures in popular music are explored in Rock Music Icons: Musical and Cultural Impacts. This collection investigates authenticity, identity, and the power of the voices and images of widely circulated and shared artists that have become the soundtrack of our lives.
Robert McParland is professor of English and humanities at Felician University in New Jersey.
Introduction: Recreating Elvis Presley
Chapter 1. Made in Rockdown: Paul McCartney and McCartney III
Richard D. Driver
Chapter 2. Sometimes I Turn: Bob Dylan’s Enduring Iconoclasm
Keith Nainby and John Radosta
Chapter 3. Elton John and the Mondegreen Girls
Chapter 4. Reflections on/of Billy Joel
Joshua S. Duchan
Chapter 5. The Lion of Jamaica: Robert Nesta Marley OM as Icon
Chapter 6. Roger Waters and The Wall—Live in Berlin 1990: The Global Broadcast of a Historical Concert
Chapter 7. How the 1980s Output of Bruce Springsteen and Morrissey Captured the Working-Class Experience in America and the UK
Anastasia Rose Hyden
Chapter 8. Loving the Alien(ated) Self: Theatricality, Artifice, and the Outsider Mythos of David Bowie
Chapter 9. What It Feels Like for a Boy: Masculinity in Madonna’s Mid-career Music Videos
David R. Coon
Chapter 10. Killer Queen: Freddie Mercury’s Communicative Longevity
Chapter 11. Ozzy Osborne: Master of Multiple Realities
Candace Ursula Grissom
Chapter 12. Divine Comedy: The Humor and Creativity of Kurt Cobain
Chapter 13. Obey Your Masters: Metallica’s Journey to Icon Status
Paul M. Miller and Thomas R. Davis, Jr.
About the Contributors
The 13 essays McParland has gathered look at how rock music icons influenced music and impacted culture. Rock enthusiasts might balk at Bob Marley and Madonna—who are included because they have what Thomas Kitts states in his foreword is “a rock and roll sensibility—but one cannot argue with their contributions to the genre. Also included Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Billy Joel, Roger Waters, Bruce Springsteen, Morrissey, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Ozzy Osbourne, Kurt Cobain, and Metallica. The introduction looks at the “king of rock” himself, Elvis Presley. The contributors to the volume include a high-school teacher; a music journalist; and university-level professors in the fields of English, communications, media and cultural studies, history, and music. All bring their own perspectives on the contributions of the artists they discuss. Scholars and fans of music, culture, and history will surely find this book both enlightening and entertaining. Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates; general readers.
"Rock Music Icons: Musical and Cultural Impacts provides a wide-ranging survey of major musical figures, such as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, David Bowie, Madonna, and Kurt Cobain. Iconoclasm, nostalgia, authenticity, gender presentation, and humor in rock music are among the significant topics covered. Featuring over a dozen studies of iconic musicians, this book would make excellent reading for an upper-level undergraduate course on rock history or prove rewarding for rock music enthusiasts interested in a scholarly, and sometimes superfan, take on the figures they admire."
"Rock Music Icons gets to the heart of the matter, bringing our pop idols and our cultural ideals into bold relief. Chock-full of new insights about the music and musicians that make our hearts sing, Rock Music Icons provides us with a powerful window into the high art and artists of the rock music era."
“From the sustained critique of authoritarianism inherent in Pink Floyd's The Wall to the use of nostalgia as a way to construct and critically engage the present in the songs of Billy Joel to the radical interrogations of gender that characterize the musical videos of Madonna and beyond, this collection of essays considers how certain artists become icons of popular culture and why their work is of such enduring and world-wide importance.”