Popular music artists, as performers in the public eye, offer a privileged site for the witnessing and analysis of ageing and its mediation. The Late Voice undertakes such an analysis by considering issues of time, memory, innocence and experience in modern Anglophone popular song and the use by singers and songwriters of a 'late voice'. Lateness here refers to five primary issues: chronology (the stage in an artist's career); the vocal act (the ability to convincingly portray experience); afterlife (posthumous careers made possible by recorded sound); retrospection (how voices 'look back' or anticipate looking back); and the writing of age, experience, lateness and loss into song texts.
There has been recent growth in research on ageing and the experience of later stages of life, focusing on physical health, lifestyle and psychology, with work in the latter field intersecting with the field of memory studies. The Late Voice seeks to connect age, experience and lateness with particular performers and performance traditions via the identification and analysis of a late voice in singers and songwriters of mid-late twentieth century popular music.
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About the Author
Richard Elliott is Senior Lecturer in Music at Newcastle University, UK. He is the author of Fado and the Place of Longing (2010).
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Time, Age, Experience and Voice
Chapter 2: Won't You Spare Me Over till Another Year? Ralph Stanley's Late Voice
Chapter 3: September of My Years: Age and Experience in the Work of Frank Sinatra and Leonard Cohen
Chapter 4: Time Out of Mind: Bob Dylan, Age and Those Same Distant Places
Chapter 5: Both Sides Now: Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and the Innocence and Experience of the Singer-Songwriter
Conclusion: Late Thoughts