Popology: The Music of the Era in the Lives of Four Icons of the 1960s
I must say, Timothy English’s new soft cover book Popology: The Music of the Era in the Lives of Four Icons of the 1960s is built on a rather interesting premise. As the author states in his intro: “My aim in this book is to explore a specific question: How did the music of the day touch the lives of four of the most exceptional public figures of that era?” Now, whether or not you believe John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy and Thomas Merton are exceptional is a subjective call, but certainly they are historical figures and have been written about plenty before.
I admit I was at first a bit suspect of English’s premise but he does site actual instances where these men listened to, sang, repeatedly played and enjoyed specific songs of the day (and some before the day). How these songs especially shaped these mens’ visions (even if they did), even English with his detailed researching can’t know, but as a scholar or historian of that tumultuous decade will attest, music was indeed a powerful force during the 60’s.
I’m not, nor ever have been taken with the J.F.K. myth. That “But what if he had lived?” query falls on all men who die in their prime (Robert Kennedy too gets that question asked of him) and I don’t have any opinion about Martin Luther King Jr. save the good works he seems to have done for racial equality. But I was interested to learn about Merton.
Popology: The Music of the Era in the Lives of Four Icons of the 1960s is an enjoyable and informative read built around an interesting concept.