Making Y Viva España unpopular?


Making Y Viva España unpopular?  An historical examination of the marginalisation of ‘other’ forms of popular music in the English quality news press from 1986 to 1991.

“In a recent interview, a long-standing popular music critic from the English quality newspaper The Observer argued “I’m willing to bet that actually the most popular song is Y Viva España because it is sung by anybody at any sort of do”.  The history of popular music has long-established itself as a genre for the young, but as audiences from the 1960s now approach the age of 70 have English quality newspapers adopted an approach to the genre which excludes many forms of popular music in the broader sense, such as those favoured by the older music fan?  With reference to a series of interviews with long-standing newspaper journalists, this paper suggests that the period 1986 to 1991 saw English quality newspapers shape an increasingly restrictive definition of popular music, thanks in part to the market segmentation of music audiences in the late 1980s (Gudmundsson et al., 2002), which has subsequently resulted in the ongoing marginalisation of certain forms of popular music.”

Abstract from my forthcoming poster presentation at the 17th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.  Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Challenging Orthodoxies,  June 2013, Gijon, Spain.



Published by Dr Jennifer Skellington

In 2010 I completed my PhD thesis entitled ‘Transforming Music Criticism? An examination of changes in music journalism in the English broadsheet press from 1981 to 1991’, at Oxford Brookes University. My research entailed face to face interviews with fourteen long-standing music journalists representing all music genres from the English quality press, the construction of a database cataloguing and analysing all music-related content from a sample of quality newspapers from the period 1981 to 1991 and the detailed discourse analysis of a sample of live music reviews. My key area of expertise is music criticism and music journalism, particularly relating to popular music (including rock, pop, jazz, world music), however my broader teaching and research specialisms cover a wide range of popular music related topics, particularly those associated with popular music and identity (race, gender, nationality, subcultures) and popular music and film. Since completing my PhD I have held associate lecturing posts at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford University, Solent University, Brunel University, the University of Bristol, Bucks New University, the University of Northampton and the University of Worcester.

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