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New Left Review I/54, March-April 1969

Alan Beckett

Mapping Pop

In this series of articles on pop, I have so far discussed the basic lines for the analysis of contemporary pop music (nlr 39), and one pop group—the Rolling Stones (nlr 47). However, this procedure, passing from the theoretical preconditions for a study in depth to the work of a single group, is open to the criticism that it has ignored the breadth of pop music and the diversity of the genres included under that rubric. Pop criticism is in such a parlous state that studies in breadth can hardly yet be begun, if they are possible at all. However, the North American rave magazine Cheetah has produced a chart that claims to map the field. Rather than producing my own counter-chart, I have chosen to comment on and criticize their chart, which is reproduced with this article, stressing its omissions and mis-allocations, and then to discuss whether such a classificatory technique can replace the study of individual artists and groups.

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Alan Beckett, ‘Mapping Pop’, NLR I/54: £3

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