The Mediations of Music and Alcohol

Negus, Keith and Street, John. 2016. The Mediations of Music and Alcohol. Popular Music, 35(02), pp. 161-165. ISSN 0261-1430 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Music and alcohol have long been connected. It is a connection to be found in song lyrics; in the tragic and comic circumstances of performers’ lives; in the economic transactions between artists, music industries and the purveyors of beer, wine and spirits; during communal singing in alehouses and taverns; within and without dancing bodies in speakeasies and discos; and among the convivial or intimidating behaviour of fans at gigs and festivals. This special edition of Popular Music is intended as a contribution to understanding the role of alcohol in music, as a facet of historical change, human interaction, individual creative practice, economic behaviour and political process. It is quite deliberately designed to be much more than a survey of song lyrics about drinking or anecdotal tales about drunken

Songs about drinking have featured across space and throughout history – from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome to the tales sung by medieval troubadours and broadside ballad peddlers in Europe, across folk traditions throughout the Americas and in vernacular music making around the continents. This aspect of musical repertoires is unmistakable and would feature in any lexicon of the global languages of song. However, alcohol features in many other guises in popular music, and is often deeply embedded in the dynamics and relationship through which music is made and sold, performed and appreciated. The selection of papers in this special edition of Popular Music explore how the meaning and making of popular music and the actions and attitudes of musicians are mediated by alcohol.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Music, Alcohol, popular music.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit


1 May 2016Published
14 April 2016Published Online

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Date Deposited:

31 Jan 2018 09:56

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:43


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