Rock bands have been an important part of Liverpool's culture and identity since the 1950s, and a 1980 survey discovered the existence of over 1,000 bands in the city. This book delineates and discusses rock culture in Liverpool as a way or style of life, highlighting its associated conventions, rituals, norms, and beliefs at a particular point in time, within the city's own unique social, economic, cultural, and political environment. It deals with the hitherto little explored music-making by local, amateur rock bands, that are precariously poised between success and failure, caught between the urge for original creativity and the pressures of the record industry. Their struggle is discussed in detail within the context of their social and cultural lifestyle and the commercial environment within which they operate. Broad artistic and social issues are examined in great detail, through the biographies of a few specific bands, notably The Jactars and Crikey it's the Cromptons!
'in good ethnography, "findings" and conclusions are less important than the author's capacity to introduce us to a distinctive culture ... And in this respect, Cohen succeeds completely.'
Laurie Taylor, New Statesman & Society
'Our knowledge of rock music and of vernacular musical behaviour in industrialized societies is considerably richer for this book.'
Richard Middleton, Music and Letters, Vol. 73, No. 2, May 1992
`Cohen's ethnographic study of two Liverpool bands ... is a highly persuasive demonstration of the existence of a gap and the means by which it might be filled. The detail and thoroughness of Cohen's ethnographic approach constitute a significant challenge to those academic disciplines engaged with 'the popular'.'
Martin Stokes, JASO, Volume XXV, no. 2, Trinity 1994
Introduction; Scene and personae; Collective creativity; Organization and management of bands; The gig; The deal; Music in the making; Style and meaning in the music; The threat of women; Conclusion; Postscript; Appendix; Discography: some of the recorded material referred to in the text; Bibliography; Index