Books

Follow the history of baby boomer music with these 4 books

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By Heidi Lauritzen

How can it be that the Woodstock was half-a-century ago? Music that baby boomers appreciated and internalized from the 1960s through the 1980s has become the subject of countless history books. The following titles have that history, and also are full of the energy, color, and rock and roll of some of the legends of 20th century music.

“Supreme Glamour” by Mary Wilson and Mark Bego traces the history of the Supremes through the gowns they wore. Spanning almost two decades, the trio began with hand-sewn dresses and evolved into matching glamour gowns, mini dresses, and pantsuits. Beads, baubles, fringe, sequins, and vibrant color are present in almost every photo.

“Woodstock: 50 Years of Peace and Music” by Daniel Bukszpan is a fascinating, mostly pictorial history of the three-day outdoor music concert near Woodstock, New York in August, 1969. It begins with short essays about how the festival came to be, and then details each day with artist photos and the set lists of songs that were performed. There are also side stories about such realities as food, bathrooms, and garbage when 400,000 people are crowded together in a small space.

More comprehensive coverage of American songs and the role they can play in history is presented in “Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation” by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw. The 1963 March on Washington is described in songs and pictures in the chapter “We Shall Overcome,” and “Born in the U.S.A.” covers the 1990s up to September 11, 2001. The history of the country in patriotic songs is presented in readable style.

Biographical information and loads of pictures are part of the large-format book “Elton John: Rocket Man” by Chris Roberts. A discography of all of Elton John’s albums is interspersed chronologically among the photos of his costumes, concerts, and philanthropic activities. The text begins with his first performances as a teenager, and carries through to the farewell tour of 2019.

Read about the music, see the music in pictures -- these books and many more are available at the Iowa City Public Library.

Heidi Lauritzen is the switchboard manager at the Iowa City Public Library.

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