The Cold War in American and British Popular Music
Published by: Indiana University Press
What is the soundtrack for a nuclear war?
During the Cold War, over 500 songs were written about nuclear weapons, fear of the Soviet Union, civil defense, bomb shelters, McCarthyism, uranium mining, the space race, espionage, the Berlin Wall, and glasnost. This music uncovers aspects of these world-changing events that documentaries and history books cannot. In Atomic Tunes, Tim and Joanna Smolko explore everything from the serious to the comical, the morbid to the crude, showing the widespread concern among musicians coping with the effect of communism on American society and the threat of a nuclear conflict of global proportions.
Atomic Tunes presents a musical history of the Cold War, analyzing the songs that capture the fear of those who lived under the shadow of Stalin, Sputnik, mushroom clouds, and missiles.
Introduction: Cold War History in Music and Lyrics
1. Folk: From Paul Robeson to Bob Dylan
2. Folk: Women's Voices
3. Country: The Conservative Stance
4. Novelty and Comedy Songs: The Cold War as a Big Joke
5. Early Rock and Other Styles: Rocking the Bomb
6. Mainstream Rock: Bowie, U2, Sting, Billy Joel, and Springsteen
7. Hard Rock and Heavy Metal: The Electric Guitar as the Bomb
8. Punk Rock: Three Chords and the Apocalypse
9. Electronic and New Wave: The Cold War in a Synthesizer
10. Wind of Change: The Fall of the Wall and the End of the Cold War
Bibliography, Discography, Videography
In Atomic Tunes, Tim and Joanna Smolko have written a long-overdue analysis of Cold War popular music which combines insightful analysis of individual songs and popular musical genres expertly embedded within their political and historical contexts. Their discussions of women's voices, of novelty songs, country and gospel music and other categories are balanced in a way that accommodates many different perspectives, both left wing and right. If you lived through the Cold War or approach it from a historical and musicological perspective, the Smolkos, along with the songs they explore, provide what they call a 'visceral sense of what it was like to live through the Cold War.' A very important work.~Russell Reising]]>,