Elijah Wald is a musician, writer, and historian known for journalistic and academic writing exploring musical styles within broader sociocultural contexts, as well as for original research on early blues, Mexican ranchera, and the folk revival (plus a book on hitchhiking and one on the African American verbal tradition known as "the dozens." In the early 1980s he began writing for the Boston Globe, eventually becoming the newspaper’s regular “world music” reporter. He has published well over a thousand articles and his dozen books include "Dylan Goes Electric!"; "How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ’n’ Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music"; "Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues"; "Global Minstrels: Voices of World Music"; Dave Van Ronk’s memoir of the New York folk revival, "The Mayor of MacDougal Street" (the inspiration for the Coen Brothers’ movie, "Inside Llewyn Davis"); and "Narcocorrido', a survey of the modern Mexican ballads of drug smuggling, immigration, and political corruption.
Wald has an interdisciplinary PhD in ethnomusicology and sociolinguistics, has taught at UCLA and Boston College, and travels widely as a speaker on the history and culture of popular music. His awards include a Grammy for the album notes to The Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Box, an ASCAP-Deems Taylor award, and special mention for the American Musicological Society’s Otto Kinkeldey award. His recordings include an LP, Songster, Fingerpicker, Shirtmaker, and a CD, Street Corner Cowboys, and there is voluminous further information at his website: http://www.elijahwald.com.
How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music
An ear-opening social history of American popular music from the dawn of recording through the 1970s, exploring what was actually popular -- as opposed to what modern critics like -- and what made it popular. The history is traced through changing technologies, dance styles, personal histories, and a wide range of original sources, creating a broad picture of the evolution of popular music and culture.