I Hear a Symphony: Motown and Crossover R&B
I Hear a Symphony opens new territory in the study of Motown’s legacy, arguing that the music of Motown was indelibly shaped by the ideals of Detroit’s postwar black middle class; that Motown’s creative personnel participated in an African-American tradition of dialogism in rhythm and blues while developing the famous “Motown Sound.” Throughout the book, Flory focuses on the central importance of “crossover” to the Motown story; first as a key concept in the company’s efforts to reach across American commercial markets, then as a means to extend influence internationally, and finally as a way to expand the brand beyond strictly musical products. Flory’s work reveals the richness of the Motown sound, and equally rich and complex cultural influence Motown still exerts.
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