This wide-ranging survey, part-anthology, part-social history provides a unique study of popular song.
Tender or harsh, fleeting or long-remembered, song has always been a vehicle for the expression of popular feeling, often as the voice of the oppressed or of those in opposition to the power fo the State.
It has won high praise:
'Magical . . . These popular songs tell us of life's pleasures and pains from the cradle to the grave, of work and play, sport and sex, loving and leaving, the town and the country . . . A book both heart-rending and heart-warming. It is Palmer's achievement to attune our ears to the sounds of the past.' Roy Porter in the Sunday Times