Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop


For fifty years, pop music was created and consumed like this: you heard a record on the radio, or read about it in a music paper; you bought it on Saturday; you lent it to, or taped it for, a friend; and they reciprocated with another record. It was a secret network. It was how you made friends, how you met girls, and how you soundtracked your world.

Bob Stanley’s Yeah Yeah Yeah tells the chronological story of the modern pop era, from its beginnings in the fifties with the dawn of the charts, vinyl, and the music press, to pop’s digital switchover in the year 2000, from Rock Around the Clock to Crazy In Love. There was constant change, constant development, a constant craving for newness. It was more than just music – it could be your whole life.

Yeah Yeah Yeah covers the birth of rock, soul, punk, disco, hip hop, indie, house and techno. It also includes the rise and fall of the home stereo, Top Of The Pops, Smash Hits, and “this week’s highest new entry”. Yeah Yeah Yeah is the first book to look back at the entire era: what we gained, what we lost, and the foundations we laid for future generations.

There have been many books on pop but none have attempted to bring the whole story to life, from Billy Fury and Roxy Music to TLC and Britney via Led Zeppelin and Donna Summer. Audacious and addictive, Yeah Yeah Yeah is essential reading for all music lovers. It will remind you why you fell in love with pop music in the first place.

As part of the launch for Yeah Yeah Yeah, Bob Stanley is also programming and introducing a series of pop music films this Autumn, including four nights at the Barbican. Films include The Very Strange Story of the Legendary Joe Meek, Elvis: That’s the Way it Is, Taking Off and Soul Power.



Yeah Yeah Yeah: Film Season

Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley curates a short film season to mark the publication of his new book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop



3 October, 8pm – Arena: The Very Strange Story of the Legendary Joe Meek + book signing and introduction by Bob Stanley

Britain’s – arguably the world’s – first record producer, Meek is best remembered for the Tornados’ futuristic 1962 hit Telstar. Originally from rural Gloucestershire, his life was spent closeted, and ended in tragedy on Holloway Road but his music, years ahead of its time, was his real legacy.

UK 1991 Dir Alan Lewens 60 min


10 October, 8.30pm – Miloš Forman’s Taking Off 

Milos Forman’s first American film follows a girl who runs away from home to audition for a fictional singer-songwriting superstar – along with dozens of others. This bittersweet comedy, with a wonderful soundtrack, includes a couple of unexpected cameos from pre-fame hopefuls Carly Simon and Kathy Bates.

US 1971 Dir Milos Forman 89 min


17 October, 8.30pm – Elvis: That’s the Way It Is + intro by Bob Stanley

After his stunning 1968 Comeback Special, Elvis went back on the road for the first time since the fifties. Behind the scenes footage and terrific live performances capture him in a playful mood, looking tremendous, and clearly enjoying himself on songs like Suspicious Minds and In The Ghetto.

US 1970 Dir Denis Sanders 93 min


24 October, 8.30pm – Soul Power + Intro by Bob Stanley

A 1974 celebration of soul music in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974 preceded the legendary Ali-Foreman world heavyweight fight. James Brown, Bill Withers, Sister Sledge and Hugh Masekela were among the stars of a terrific three-day festival that showed African-American musical links in a new light.

US 2009 Dir Jeffrey Levy-Hinte 92 min


All screenings take place in Barbican Cinema 3

Barbican listings and tickets:



Bob Stanley is a writer, musician, DJ, and film producer. Since founding influential pop group Saint Etienne, Bob has enjoyed a parallel career as a music journalist, contributing to publications such as the TimesSmash HitsNMEthe Guardian and the Face. A former artist-in-residence at the Southbank Centre, his films have been shown at the ICA and Royal Festival Hall, and he has curated several seasons for the Barbican.



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