What’s That Sound? 5th Edition

ISBN: 9780393639124

This book is being used at:

The perfect mix of music and history

This fifth, new edition of What’s That Sound? helps students understand rock first and foremost as music, emphasising concepts and listening skills. In addition, rich analysis of the forces that shaped this vibrant style help readers connect the music with its cultural and historical context.


  • Develops listening skills: When discussing particular artists or hits, Covach and Flory examine the influences, elements, instrumentation, and technology that shaped the sound. Better than any survey of its kind, What’s That Sound, Fifth Edition, presents essential musical concepts and teaches students how to understand what they hear.
  • Illustrates “you are there” rock history moments: Students will be riveted by vivid accounts of how and why rock music is made. They will discover songs and artists in their correct cultural and historical context. Building on a compelling narrative crafted by two master teachers, the new edition magnifies “you are there” rock history moments to strengthen the story.
  • Explores recent industry and technology trends: Chapter 15 covers new artists like Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, and the Arctic Monkeys as well as artists with deepening and lasting influence, such as Taylor Swift’s transition from country to rock and pop stardom. As streaming audio has eclipsed video, album, and downloads, attention to Spotify, iTunes Music, and YouTube provides a context for students to better understand where rock is today and how new sounds emerge.
John Covach
Andrew Flory
Introduction: Studying rock

Chapter 1. Roots-1955, The world before rock and roll

Chapter 2. 1955-1960, The birth and first flourishing of rock and roll

Chapter 3. 1959-1963, The demise of rock and the promise of soul

Chapter 4. 1964-1966, The Beatles and the British invasion

Chapter 5. 1964-1966, American responses

Chapter 6. 1960-1970, Motown pop and southern soul

Chapter 7. 1966-1969, Psychedelia

Chapter 8. 1970-1975, The growing rock monster

Chapter 9. 1970-1980, Black pop, reggae, and the rise of disco

Chapter 10. 1975-1980, Mainstream rock, punk and new wave

Chapter 11. 1980-1990, I want my MTV

Chapter 12. 1982-1989, Heavy metal, rap and indie rock

Chapter 13. 1990-1999, Alternative rock and rock alternatives

Chapter 14. 1992-1999, Widening gaps

Chapter 15. The new millennium and beyong, rock traditions and the business of change

As part of Wiley’s ongoing commitment to higher education, the Wiley Affordability Program is dedicated to providing you with premium Wiley learning resources at an affordable price. We believe that every student has a right to access quality resources, no matter what your budget. Now, we are even better equipped than before to do what we do best; help teachers teach and students learn.
E-Text: 9780393639124
Textbook: 9780393624144