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Stephen Foster (1826--1864) was America's first great songwriter and the first to earn his living solely through his music. He composed some 200 songs, including such classics as "Oh! Susanna," "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," "Old Folks at Home (Way down upon the Swanee River)," and "Camptown Races (Doo-dah! Doo-dah!)." He virtually invented popular music as we recognize it to this day, yet he died at age thirty-seven, a forgotten and nearly penniless alcoholic on the Bowery. The author reveals Foster's contradictory life while disclosing how the dynamics of nineteenth-century industrialization, westward expansion, the Gold Rush, slavery, and the Civil War infused his music, and how that music influenced popular culture.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780306808524
ISBN-10: 0306808528
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 29mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 1-Aug-1998
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Ken Emerson

Ken Emerson, a former editor of The New York Times Magazine and New York Newsday, has written about popular music for thirty years. He lives in New Jersey.

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