Charles Hamm – memorial service‏

A memorial service for Charles Hamm (1925-1911) will be held on Saturday, 3 December 2011, 3-5 p.m., Norwich Inn, Norwich, Vermont.

Please RSVP if you expect to attend, to Chris Hamm at

If you cannot attend, but would like to enter words into the memorial register, please send them to Chris ( or mail them to him at:  Chris Hamm/13530 16th Ave NE/Seattle, WA 98125.

Charles Hamm (1925-2011)

A personal tribute by Philip Tagg

Charles Hamm, founder member of IASPM and distinguished music scholar, died on 16 October 2011. He will be sorely missed.

I was delighted when, in 1981, Charles agreed to deliver a paper at the first IASPM international conference in Amsterdam. And what a paper it was! If only we’d paid more attention to what was really popular on TV — The Osmonds and Sousa marches rather than to what was #1 in the charts (Kim Carnes) or particularly cool among rockologists— we “could easily have predicted the outcome of last fall’s presidential election”, he argued, “and anticipated other recent events in the United States signalling a massive swing to the right, politically and socially” (Hamm, 1982: 13). Continue reading

2011 IASPM Book Prize

The 2011 IASPM Book Prize
Co-ordinated by Antti-Ville Kärjä
Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

The 2011 IASPM prize for a book written in English is awarded to Protest Music in France by Barbara Lebrun.
The 2011 IASPM Book Prize for a book written in a language other than English is awarded to Creating the Myth of ‘Japanese Spirit’ by Yusuke Wajima.
Special Mention is given to El videoclip en España by Eduardo Viñuela.

Download the Book Prize report here [104KB].

Comments on IASPM 2011 conference by Bruce Johnson

During the closing plenary session at IASPM 2011 International conference, six speakers from as many continents were asked to present their summarising comments on the conference. These are Bruce Johnson’s reflections for Australasia.

First, I want once again to thank and congratulate the conference organisers for the logistical triumph they have achieved in getting us all to this relatively inaccessible destination, for looking after us so well and so cheerfully, and for organising not just the conference, but some really memorable excursions. Continue reading

Popular Music Essay Competition

Entrants are invited for the new Popular Music Essay Competition.

Entrants should address the following theme:

Questioning popular music orthodoxies

Essays may engage with any established popular music orthodoxy (whether the assumptions of critics and scholars or the habits of music makers and their audiences). Essays should provoke debate about the established practice and study of popular music, and may propose new approaches and practices.

Popular Music

The winning essay will be published in Popular Music and the winner will receive £500.

The essay should be no longer than 3000 words and must be in the Popular Music house style (see the Popular Music website for details).

It should be submitted by September 15th 2011 to the Popular Music Editorial Group at:

The essays will be judged by the Editorial Group and the International Advisory Board of Popular Music.

Simona Frasca (2001) Birds of passage. I musicisti napoletani a New York

Simona Frasca
Birds of passage. I musicisti napoletani a New York (1895-1940)

(Lucca: LIM 2010; language: Italian)
Review by Giovanni Vacca
Birds of Passage
There is no doubt that Neapolitan Song has been a central genre in the development of what we now call ‘Popular Music’: probably no other urban song has achieved such a world-wide notoriety and certainly Neapolitan Song helped to expand the myth and the appeal of the city of Naples itself pretty much everywhere. How many among us, though, know about that ‘branch’ of Neapolitan Song that happened to find its way up in the United States since the beginning of the 20th century? Continue reading

Bethany Klein (2009) As Heard on TV: Popular Music in Advertising

Bethany Klein
As Heard on TV: Popular Music in Advertising

(Aldershot: Ashgate 2009)
Review by Francesco D’Amato
The complex whole of ties between music and TV ads has been recently pushed to the foreground by the changes in the music production/commercialization system and correlated shifts from B2C to B2B business models. However it represents a relevant topic also for discourses about music circulation, changes in musical experience and how such processes join the aesthetization of daily life. Continue reading

Stan Hawkins (2009) The British Pop Dandy

Stan Hawkins
The British Pop Dandy: Masculinity, Popular Music and Culture

(Aldershot: Ashgate 2009)
Review by Nathan Wiseman-Trowse

In 1999 the British pop band The Divine Comedy released one of their most successful singles ‘National Express’. Secreted away as a B-side on the second CD single was a wonderfully wry and affectionate Noël Coward pastiche ‘Overstrand’. ‘Overstrand’ told the story of a Londonite coveting a well-to-do address in the metropolis to such an extent that he is willing to pimp himself to a ‘dirty old man’, murder a young woman in the Thames or even write for the Evening Standard in order to get his ideal, bourgeois home. Neil Hannon’s clever take on Coward marks out a clear link not only to a tradition of British comedy songs that have their roots in music hall, but he also connects himself, if somewhat archly, with a dandified persona that manifests itself throughout British popular culture, and British popular music specifically. Continue reading