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Leaders of the Pack

Girl Groups of the 1960s and Their Influence on Popular Culture in Britain and America

Leaders of the Pack by Sean MacLeod
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In Leaders of the Pack: Girl Groups of the 1960s and their Influence on Popular Culture musician and music historian Sean MacLeod surveys the hundreds of girl groups that appeared not only in the United States but also in Great Britain during the early 1960s. This study corrects the neglect of their critical contribution of popular music history by exploring the social and political climate from which the girl groups emerged and their effect, in turn, on local and national music and culture.

MacLeod organizes his argument around seven leading girl groups: The Shirelles, The Crystals, The Ronettes, The Marvelettes, The Vandellas, the Supremes and The Shangri-Las. These seven “sister” groups serve as the basis for a broader look at the many girl groups of the period, offering a roadmap through the work of the many stakeholder—the singers, songwriters, producers, and record labels—that the girl group phenomenon made possible. MacLeod also reviews the significant influence girl groups had on the many male bands of the 1960s, as well as their influence on the post-‘60s movements, from punk to new wave, ultimately serving as the template for the girl groups and all-girl bands that emerged in the 1980s. Finally, The Leaders of the Pack brings us to the present as MacLeod compares the original girl groups with female performers of today, drawing lines of connection and contrast between them.

Leaders of the Pack is essential reading for students, scholars, and fans of 1960s music and culture. It will further interest anyone interested in women’s studies, modern American and British culture, and music history, with important forays into such topics as the Civil Rights Movement, second and third wave feminism, and post-war life.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; September 2015
240 pages; ISBN 9781442252028
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Title: Leaders of the Pack
Author: Sean MacLeod
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