B. Lee Cooper offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of contemporary American society as it has been captured and transmitted in the lyrics of more than 3,000 popular recordings. By tracing the permutations of American popular music from the end of the Big Band/Swing Era through the "Age of Rock," the author presents a thematically structured analysis of popular music lyrics from 1950 through 1985. Cooper divides his lucid commentaries and lists of songs into fifteen sections, each dealing with a particular social, political, or personal theme. In the brief essays that precede the lengthy discographic sections, the author explores the ways in which popular music has dealt with such issues as religion, death, education, youth culture, transportation, mass media, protest, military activity, women's liberation, and drug use and abuse. An illustrative discography of 45 r.p.m. records follows each section of commentary. An extensive bibliography of books, articles, and special reports appears at the end of the volume, along with a selected discography of album-length recordings which supplements the extensive 45 r.p.m. listings.