The Cold War in American and British Popular Music
Published by: Indiana University Press
368 pages, 6.12 x 9.25 in, 1 b&w illus, 8 b&w tables
- Published: May 2021
What is the soundtrack for a nuclear arms race?
During the Cold War, over 500 songs were written about nuclear weapons, fear of the Soviet Union, civil defense, bomb shelters, uranium mining, the space race, espionage, the Berlin Wall, and glasnost. This music uncovers aspects of the 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 who were trying to cope with the effect of communism on American society and the consequences of a potential nuclear conflict of global proportions.
Atomic Tunes presents a musical history of the Cold War, offering insight into 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