Love for Sale: Pop Music in America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), by David Hajdu
As the author of Positively 4th Street, a history of the Greenwich Village folk scene that gave rise to Bob Dylan, and The Ten-Cent Plague, about the 1950s campaign by social reformers to suppress comic books, David Hajdu has become one of the most interesting, thought-inducing commentators on popular culture. His latest, Love for Sale, is a highly personal look back at pop music from the age of parlor pianos through the iPod era.
Informed in every chapter by his own memories, including recollections of the 78 rpm discs discovered in his grandmother’s basement, Hajdu argues that pop music’s significance lies in songs heard by millions yet internalized individually—“in small, unique ways” he puts it. Love for Sale is as much about the evolution of the technology of music consumption and marketing as the music itself.
As Hajdu writes, the experience of listening has become more private with each technological advance, even as the amount of music available for listening has grown inconceivably vast.