Sociologist’s Totems

Sociologist's Totems

“The lyrics of contemporary popular song, of rock and rap and country, are the ones which reflect the immediacy of our world, much as theater songs did in the first half of the twentieth century. They are the sociologist’s totems.”

Who wrote that?

Robert Christgau? Simon Frith? Todd Gitlin? Peter Wicke? Robert Palmer? Lester Bangs? Paul Friedlander? R. Serge Denisoff? Greil Marcus?

Nope. Stephen Sondheim, giant of musical theater. The lyricist/composer prefaced this by writing: “I used to think that the need for live theater would never die; I fear I was wrong.”

Can’t wait to read his book.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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