POP

Did the Beatles Kill Rock 'N' Roll?

The title of Elijah Wald’s new book, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘n’ Roll, sets up a tall order for the text. But according to Los Angeles Times reviewer Erik Himmelsbach, its title is nothing more than a “hyperbolic nuclear explosion” to which the book can’t live up. It’s a survey of popular music, beginning with ragtime, and going through swing and pop before finally arriving at the “payoff:” the section on rock, in which Wald apparently “blows everything to bits in just a few pages.” He launches on a bitter rant, alleging that “the Beatles destroyed rock ‘n’ roll, turning it from a vibrant (or integrated) dance music into a vehnicle for white pap and pretension.”