I was looking for books that discuss the evolution of music in the 20th century, especially the second half.

If it's a book about the history of Rock & Roll, that's fine too.

Hopefully something that talks about the various bands and genres that formed and evolved from 1950's till the end of the 1990's.

It doesn't have to be a book, it can be a website as well. I was thinking of something like A History of Rock and Dance Music by Scaruffi. I would read that one, but some of the reviews about it were very discouraging.


If you're more concerned with the so called "classical" ("erudite", "non-vernacular") type of music in the 20th century, the most obvious resource would be Alex Ross' book "The Rest His Noise".

Regarding the history of rock, there is a on line free course from Coursera, History of Rock, that may fit your expectations. It's devided in two parts, check the courses syllabuses to see which one interests you the most, or both.

The teacher of this course, John Covach, has also other courses, specifically about the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and a number of published books, among which What's that Sound seems to fit what you're looking for too. But I have not read that book personally, so I'm not specifically recommendig it. I can say, however, that his courses in Coursera are very thorough and interesting and the prof. is indeed very knowledgeable, an authority in fact, about the history of rock.

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  • Yes! That two part coursera course looks amazing and is just what I'm looking for! Thanks. – SilverSlash Jun 8 '16 at 16:41

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