Death of the Rock Star

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There was a time when rock stars ruled American culture. It was after Sinatra and before Beyonce, after wooden radios and before iPods.

It was a time when rock stars were bigger than their music, and when popular music drove the culture — Elvis, James Brown, The Beatles, The Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead.

This is not, says David Shumway, to diss today's musicians. Hats off to Jay Z and Coldplay and Arcade Fire. But the way now, he says, is niche music and the world-straddling star is all but history.

This hour On Point: the end of the rock star, and the new role of popular music.


David Shumway, author of "Where Have All the Rock Stars Gone?" a new article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and a Professor of Cultural Studies and English at Carnegie Mellon University;
Anthony DeCurtis, contributing editor for Rolling Stone

Amanda Petrusich, contributing writer for Pitchfork and Paste Magazine.

This program aired on June 29, 2007.


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