Popology: The Music of the Era in the Lives of Four Icons of the 1960s is the first book ever to examine how the music of the 1960s impacted the lives of the decade’s most inspirational figures: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy, and Thomas Merton. The 1960’s have been examined in countless biographies, cultural studies, documentaries, and feature films. The lives of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King have been examined by both scholarly and salacious authors. Yet no book has ever sought to place the lives of these men into their own personal musical milieu. Most biographies - if they contain musical references at all - mention them only in passing. Popology: The Music of the Era in the Lives of Four Icons of the 1960s provides new and surprising information about some of the most intriguing – and most written about - figures of our time.
That JFK’s favorite song was “September Song”, the lyric of which was and eerily prescient regarding his demise? JFK often sang the song himself while imitating the gravelly voice of actor Walter Huston, who first popularized the song.
That the last words Martin Luther King spoke were a song request? He asked that saxophonist Ben Branch play his favorite hymn “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” at a rally he planned to attend.
Robert Kennedy’s favorite song was “The Impossible Dream” from the Broadway show Man of LaMancha? His Quixote-like quest for the presidency in 1968 was inspired (at least partially) by the message he heard in “The Impossible Dream.”
"Well written...English examines the connections between these men and music, adding a new wrinkle in chronicling their life stories...His book gives an idea of how current events and pop culture collided during the tumultuous decade. An enlightening, accessible book that will appeal to academics and casual music fans as well as history and pop culture buffs." - Kirkus Reviews
Timothy English is the author of Sounds Like Teen Spirit: Stolen Melodies, Ripped-off Riffs, and the Secret History of Rock ‘n Rock, the winner of Independent Publisher’s Bronze Medal as one of the best non-fiction books of 2008. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs in the US, UK and Canada. His work has been featured on a wide range of shows including NPR’s All Things Considered, The Howard Stern Show, BBC Radio 2 (over 100 appearances), and in the Chicago Tribune.