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Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth: The Dark History of Prepubescent Pop, from the Banana Splits to Britney Spears

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The truth behind the pop music we love most.


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The truth behind the pop music we love most.

30 review for Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth: The Dark History of Prepubescent Pop, from the Banana Splits to Britney Spears

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Basham

    Hmm. I wanted to like this book more, but I just couldn't. I had a number of problems with the book, not least of which is that the authors had a pretty squishy idea of what should be counted as bubblegum music. The Archies? Definitely. Partridge Family? I'd buy that. But Duran Duran? Paul Rever & The Raiders? Tommy James and the Shondells? Nah, I don't see that. The book is comprised of small pieces from over 40 contributing editors, and it shows. The writing style is wildly uneven, and because Hmm. I wanted to like this book more, but I just couldn't. I had a number of problems with the book, not least of which is that the authors had a pretty squishy idea of what should be counted as bubblegum music. The Archies? Definitely. Partridge Family? I'd buy that. But Duran Duran? Paul Rever & The Raiders? Tommy James and the Shondells? Nah, I don't see that. The book is comprised of small pieces from over 40 contributing editors, and it shows. The writing style is wildly uneven, and because so many folks are covering a lot of overlapping material, it tends to be repetitive in places as well.

  2. 5 out of 5

    W Davidson

    I refer to this book constantly - as there's so much information and fun stuff to read about. It also casts a wide net over the Bubblegum genre by taking in artists from all over the world. There's even a big article about Luv'! It really is fantastic, I just wish there was a full colour companion version with photos of all of the records. I refer to this book constantly - as there's so much information and fun stuff to read about. It also casts a wide net over the Bubblegum genre by taking in artists from all over the world. There's even a big article about Luv'! It really is fantastic, I just wish there was a full colour companion version with photos of all of the records.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kirk

    I was writing a story years back about a former bubblegum star who refused to hit the comeback trail. I couldn't have done it without this book. Besides teaching me everything I ever wanted to know about Tony DeFranco and the DeFranco Family (and then some), it's a fun book and doesn't condescend to the subject or the audience. I was writing a story years back about a former bubblegum star who refused to hit the comeback trail. I couldn't have done it without this book. Besides teaching me everything I ever wanted to know about Tony DeFranco and the DeFranco Family (and then some), it's a fun book and doesn't condescend to the subject or the audience.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tom Schulte

    A cast of contributors (from cartoonist Peter Bagge to the bizarre Partridge Family Temple to Greg Shaw) document the history of, and opine on, and celebrate the unknowns of bubblegum music. Pete Townsend once remarked, "some of the world's best music is bubblegum" and most of these contributors agree. Their overlapping and amorphous definitions of the genre cause the chronologically laid out volume to act as a history of pop music from the 60s to today with a focus on that music created with ma A cast of contributors (from cartoonist Peter Bagge to the bizarre Partridge Family Temple to Greg Shaw) document the history of, and opine on, and celebrate the unknowns of bubblegum music. Pete Townsend once remarked, "some of the world's best music is bubblegum" and most of these contributors agree. Their overlapping and amorphous definitions of the genre cause the chronologically laid out volume to act as a history of pop music from the 60s to today with a focus on that music created with marketing in mind. Entertaining and enlightening, this lively tome sheds light on the names behind the manufactured sounds, the true stories of the real people leading or trapped in the movement, and institutions that fostered its growth. As educational as it is fun, this excellent collection of essays and interviews is a must for any music fan. Audio for tmy interview with contributor Becky Ebenkamp is archived to #102 at https://archive.org/details/BrucePollockOnOutsightRadioHours.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Cash

    This is one of the best music books I've read. It takes a genre that is almost universally derided by critics and gives it the respect it deserves. I've always thought The Archies's "Sugar, Sugar" is one of the most brilliant songs of all time, and it turns out there's a lot more where that came from! I haven't learned as much from a music book in a long time, and it stayed entertaining too! The book is comprised of essays by different authors on an exhaustive variety of subjects surrounding the This is one of the best music books I've read. It takes a genre that is almost universally derided by critics and gives it the respect it deserves. I've always thought The Archies's "Sugar, Sugar" is one of the most brilliant songs of all time, and it turns out there's a lot more where that came from! I haven't learned as much from a music book in a long time, and it stayed entertaining too! The book is comprised of essays by different authors on an exhaustive variety of subjects surrounding the music. Artists, producers, interviews, merchandise/cereal records, international scene, influence on other genres, etc. It's everything a reasonable person could want on the subject, but it hooks you into its world so deeply that you end up wanting more by reading it! If you want to retain any hope of having an "alternative cred" cool card then I don't recommend reading this, because as soon as there's a lull in the discussion on Joy Division you'll end up saying "Who's heard The Archies's "Jingle Jangle" album? Jeff Barry sure did some incredible stuff...so did Kasenetz-Katz, and The Monkees are the bomb!" *promptly gets kicked out onto the street* "But guys! Joey Ramone loved all that stuff! And so did Lester Bangs!" *door shuts*

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eric Cecil

    If you have even a passing interest in bubblegum, read this. You'll learn something. If you have even a passing interest in bubblegum, read this. You'll learn something.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Hogg

    Most of this book falls somewhere in between good and great. It gives a pretty solid overview of the bubblegum scene from its beginning, although the format (a series of essays/reflections) leads to a lot of repetition and some notable omissions. There is some implied knowledge, such as frequent references to the Brill Building without actually discussing it directly--perhaps each author assumed someone else would be covering it? I learned a lot about the history of bands like The Archies and The Most of this book falls somewhere in between good and great. It gives a pretty solid overview of the bubblegum scene from its beginning, although the format (a series of essays/reflections) leads to a lot of repetition and some notable omissions. There is some implied knowledge, such as frequent references to the Brill Building without actually discussing it directly--perhaps each author assumed someone else would be covering it? I learned a lot about the history of bands like The Archies and The Monkees. I heard about a lot of bands for the first time. I found a lot of interesting facts about cartoons I grew up with (whether contemporary or many years after the original run ended). It gives a fairly concise summary at the end of how to track down the best compilations from many of the bands discussed, although this might be a bit obsolete in the days of music streaming. I think the book may reach too far at times. While I get that the definition of bubblegum can be debated, some of the groups discussed just seem too far removed from the genre to warrant inclusion. Some, in fact, are directly stated not to be bubblegum acts or to have even released bubblegum songs, but they are included anyway. Some of that could be trimmed, as I don't think the book actually needs to be 300 oversized pages. Two sections possibly bring this down to three stars. The first is the "Bubblegum Fantasies" section, which has a few fan fiction pieces in which authors let out their dark thoughts about several bubblegum acts. Perhaps this appeals to some people, but I didn't see the purpose of including it. The second section was one that I hoped would be interesting but turned out to be frustrating and offensive. Some pieces in the "It Won't Go Away!" section discuss 1990s acts but do so in a way that not only hasn't aged well, but really opens the reader's eyes to what was considered acceptable in the 1990s (note: the book was published in 2001, but some articles were written during the early Spice Girls/Britney Spears/Backstreet Boys/NSYNC years. One article features a grown man talking about young women's bodies, casually tossing around homophobic language, and stating that anyone who doesn't love the Spice Girls' second album should be "putting a bullet through your miserable f***ing head." The same article also features a cartoon drawing of Britney Spears with enormous breasts (labelled "Britney's New Boobies," in case it was too subtle). Another article in the section includes the following exchange between the author and her young siblings: 10-year-old: Can I say they're gay if they're gay? Interviewer: You can say if they're gay. ... Interviewer: What about...Hanson? 10-year-old and 11-year-old: Gay! Gay! Gay!!! Interviewer: Does that mean that they're homosexual or that they suck? 10-year-old: Suck. Not all of the articles in this section go so far overboard (and I hope and trust that the authors of these two pieces wouldn't stand by their writing today). The date of the book leads to some almost comically outdated statements and predictions (e.g. This new group All Saints might do well if they go on to release an album. Len is the newest incarnation of Nirvana...although the phrasing of that one is unclear, and it might be saying Len is the new Beatles.). So, the books is quite good. The discussion of 1960s-1970s bubblegum is great. The discussion of 1990s bubblegum could be scrapped and rewritten from a more informed perspective. As it is now, I don't know that I recommend reading everything from start to finish. Fortunately, there is an index at the back that can help readers find the information about the specific bands they want. Despite some skippable pieces, it's a good contribution to music scholarship that could stand an update.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pug

    What a mean book! :( Of course, being a 90's girl, who lived through (and dove headfirst into) the heyday of two of the biggest boy bands in the world, and who is now an over-grown teeny-bopper who still loves the aforementioned boy bands of her youth, I snagged this book off the shelf with glee. I don't mind a little joshing on boy bands... Yeah, I can appreciate the absurdity of the situation, and how silly they and their fans can be. But one would think that this author, who, having written a t What a mean book! :( Of course, being a 90's girl, who lived through (and dove headfirst into) the heyday of two of the biggest boy bands in the world, and who is now an over-grown teeny-bopper who still loves the aforementioned boy bands of her youth, I snagged this book off the shelf with glee. I don't mind a little joshing on boy bands... Yeah, I can appreciate the absurdity of the situation, and how silly they and their fans can be. But one would think that this author, who, having written a thick and detailed book on pop music, would at least have something insightful and redeeming to say. That was not the case. Really??? She had nothing positive to say about the upbeat songs, the talent of the guys, the harmonies, the dancing? (And most importantly, their good looks? LoL) Nope, she was rude and insulting. But what can you expect from someone who was touting the songs of the Spice Girls, Britney, etc.? Didn't understand it then, still can't understand it now. Sigh.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

    Fine compendia of essays about one of my favorite strands of pop music. The book gathers material from many authors covering artists, labels, recordings, song writers and more. There are pieces on related styles of music as well. As its' name suggests, Bubblegum is light hearted fare, and the pieces in this collection that most connected with me were those that reflected the spirit of the music. Recommended for music and pop culture enthusiasts. Fine compendia of essays about one of my favorite strands of pop music. The book gathers material from many authors covering artists, labels, recordings, song writers and more. There are pieces on related styles of music as well. As its' name suggests, Bubblegum is light hearted fare, and the pieces in this collection that most connected with me were those that reflected the spirit of the music. Recommended for music and pop culture enthusiasts.

  10. 4 out of 5

    R.D Francis

    I've read this book twice over the years. It's a stellar read about that wonderful time of post-Monkees pop music of the early 1970s. Great memories of AM radio abound. I've read this book twice over the years. It's a stellar read about that wonderful time of post-Monkees pop music of the early 1970s. Great memories of AM radio abound.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Soltes

    THIS is the book to read about the history of bubblegum music,pop music,groups made from the studio using groups like the Wrecking Crew to record albums,but mostly singles. It was primarily driven by producers,and record labels to cash in on happy teen pop music. There are also many bands simply forming and making these one hit wonders and releasing them to the world. Information about the likes of The Monkees,The Archies,Josie & The Pussycats,Crazy Elephant,The Ohio Express,the Banana Splits,To THIS is the book to read about the history of bubblegum music,pop music,groups made from the studio using groups like the Wrecking Crew to record albums,but mostly singles. It was primarily driven by producers,and record labels to cash in on happy teen pop music. There are also many bands simply forming and making these one hit wonders and releasing them to the world. Information about the likes of The Monkees,The Archies,Josie & The Pussycats,Crazy Elephant,The Ohio Express,the Banana Splits,Tommy James & The Shondells,Bobby Sherman,Kasenetz & Katz,Edison Lighthouse and more! Anything about appealing to pre-teens and teenagers! Wonderful!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ravachol

    If you're really really REALLY keen on bubblegum music, you probably already have this thing resting on the altar in your bubblegum basilica. (You weirdo). This book is congested with layers and layers of information, yet I feel like I've learned practically nothing. Probably because I skimmed over most of it. It's just way too in-depth on a genre, it turns out, I'm not actually all that interested in. Yeah bubblegum music is super cool, and without it we wouldn't have Tommy James or The Archies, If you're really really REALLY keen on bubblegum music, you probably already have this thing resting on the altar in your bubblegum basilica. (You weirdo). This book is congested with layers and layers of information, yet I feel like I've learned practically nothing. Probably because I skimmed over most of it. It's just way too in-depth on a genre, it turns out, I'm not actually all that interested in. Yeah bubblegum music is super cool, and without it we wouldn't have Tommy James or The Archies, or the Ramones! But I already knew that and, ultimately, that's all I needed to know. 91% REDUNDANT.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    This is sort of one of those books of articles that you can keep going back to when you're ready to learn more. It was just great to find a book that justified my love of bubblegum pop, and let me know that there are plenty of people out there who take it WAY more seriously than me! In addition, it's a great resource for learning about other bubblgum acts of the past. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever been made to feel bad about loving The Partridge Family, the Archies, Sweet, the Ba This is sort of one of those books of articles that you can keep going back to when you're ready to learn more. It was just great to find a book that justified my love of bubblegum pop, and let me know that there are plenty of people out there who take it WAY more seriously than me! In addition, it's a great resource for learning about other bubblgum acts of the past. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever been made to feel bad about loving The Partridge Family, the Archies, Sweet, the Bay City Rollers, Cleopatra, BSB, NSYNC, or Britney.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    i was writing a paper on bubblegum, so i read this book and a few others. this was by far the most helpful, and you can tell kim et al are writing from a perspective that is mildly ironic but serious when it really counts. they appreciate the music while understanding what it was made for and this is key. not many people would want to read this book because most don't know what bubblegum really is. maybe they should? or maybe it should just be our dirty little secret. i was writing a paper on bubblegum, so i read this book and a few others. this was by far the most helpful, and you can tell kim et al are writing from a perspective that is mildly ironic but serious when it really counts. they appreciate the music while understanding what it was made for and this is key. not many people would want to read this book because most don't know what bubblegum really is. maybe they should? or maybe it should just be our dirty little secret.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Fans of super happy pop music who are into collecting stuff from the Bubblegum era of music will really like this book. Talks about the Banana Splits and a lot of the late 60's early 70's one hit wonders of bubblegum pop. Shares some interesting stories about the songwriters and some pretty weird ones too. Fans of super happy pop music who are into collecting stuff from the Bubblegum era of music will really like this book. Talks about the Banana Splits and a lot of the late 60's early 70's one hit wonders of bubblegum pop. Shares some interesting stories about the songwriters and some pretty weird ones too.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Just got this via ILL and can't wait to bite in! God, I loved the Banana Splits! Later: Written by several different people, this book is repetitive, schizophrenic, self-contradictory, and uneven in quality of writing. That said, quite a bit of it is fun! I am now reading just the chapters that catch my interest. Wish it came with a CD. Just got this via ILL and can't wait to bite in! God, I loved the Banana Splits! Later: Written by several different people, this book is repetitive, schizophrenic, self-contradictory, and uneven in quality of writing. That said, quite a bit of it is fun! I am now reading just the chapters that catch my interest. Wish it came with a CD.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Garry

    Dual Purpose. Serves as a reference book for an otherwise overlooked musical genre. On the other hand it provides a look at the blatantly commercial, sometimes deceptive and occasionally cynical aspects of POP music.

  18. 4 out of 5

    BCPL Youth Services Librarian

    Click to see book in BCPL's online catalog Click to see book in BCPL's online catalog

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    It is, you know.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alice Bag

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mi Eun

  22. 4 out of 5

    Billy Wiggins

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lulus

  24. 4 out of 5

    librarygrl

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sumiko

  28. 4 out of 5

    I.D.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Craig

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jmgrey

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