Circuit Listening: Chinese Popular Music in the Global 1960s (Paperback)

Circuit Listening: Chinese Popular Music in the Global 1960s By Andrew F. Jones Cover Image
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How the Chinese pop of the 1960s participated in a global musical revolution

What did Mao’s China have to do with the music of youth revolt in the 1960s? And how did the mambo, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan sound on the front lines of the Cold War in Asia? In Circuit Listening, Andrew F. Jones listens in on the 1960s beyond the West, and suggests how transistor technology, decolonization, and the Green Revolution transformed the sound of music around the globe.

Focusing on the introduction of the transistor in revolutionary China and its Cold War counterpart in Taiwan, Circuit Listening reveals the hidden parallels between music as seemingly disparate as rock and roll and Maoist anthems. It offers groundbreaking studies of Mandarin diva Grace Chang and the Taiwanese folk troubadour Chen Da, examines how revolutionary aphorisms from the Little Red Book parallel the Beatles’ “Revolution,” uncovers how U.S. military installations came to serve as a conduit for the dissemination of Anglophone pop music into East Asia, and shows how consumer electronics helped the pop idol Teresa Teng bring the Maoist era to a close, remaking the contemporary Chinese soundscape forever.

Circuit Listening provides a multifaceted history of Chinese-language popular music and media at midcentury. It profiles a number of the most famous and best loved Chinese singers and cinematic icons, and places those figures in a larger geopolitical and technological context.  Circuit Listening’s original research and far-reaching ideas make for an unprecedented look at the role Chinese music played in the ’60s pop musical revolution.

About the Author

Andrew F. Jones, professor and Louis B. Agassiz Chair in Chinese at the University of California, Berkeley, teaches modern Chinese literature and media culture. He is author of Like a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music, Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age, and Developmental Fairy Tales: Evolutionary Thinking and Modern Chinese Culture. He has also translated two books of fiction by Yu Hua, and a volume of literary essays by Eileen Chang. 

Praise For…

"Circuit Listening challenges our understanding of popular music as a Euro-American hegemony by demonstrating how the Sinophone music industries and markets partook of this global circuit through corporate expansion, as well as through local resistance and piracy. It is a long-awaited book on the way global popular music, in all its diversity, circularity, and promiscuity, should be re-historicized and reconceptualized."—Victor Fan, author of Cinema Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory

"Andrew F. Jones presents a complex transnational circuit with care and panache, explaining why mambo travels, how the Vietnam War created a demand for pirated recordings, and what Mao quotation songs had in common with British rock-and-roll hits. He guides the reader from transistor technology to rural electrification, from voice timbre to smuggling routes. Circuit Listening is cultural history at its richest."—Gail Hershatter, author of The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China’s Collective Past

"Listening is a feast for film buffs."—Shepherd Express

"Jones's grasp and analysis of historical materials is impressive. This is an important source and research model for students of Chinese history."—CHOICE

"The book is packed with exacting research and close textual decodings of music and films... for Chinese music nerds, Circuit Listening is an absolute must-have."—Taipei Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9781517902070
ISBN-10: 151790207X
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press
Publication Date: March 17th, 2020
Pages: 304
Language: English