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Popular Musicians and Bands   Tags: music library, punk, rock and roll, rock band  

How to research popular musicians and bands, including rock, hip hop, rap, country, classic rock, 50's, etc.
Last Updated: Sep 9, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Purpose of this Guide

This research guide provides information about primary and secondary resources on popular musics, including Rock-n-Roll, Hip Hop, Rap, Country, Funk and Punk that can assist you in gathering materials for projects and papers. Please let me know if you have questions, or suggestions of how we can enhance this guide. 


Tips for Searching

Subject Search or Author Search?

Some indexes to articles on the internet let you choose a Subject Search or Author Search. If you are looking for information about a person or a band, you want to do a Subject Search. If you are looking for songs or albums by the band or musician, you're doing an Author Search.

Doing a Subject Search will give you fewer results, but they'll be good results.

If there is only one search box, like in Google or Wikipedia, use the tips on the Home screen to get better results. Also, check out the Advanced Search option!


Tips to Get Started

Some tips before you get started!

  • Musicians and bands with common or one word names like Beck, Prince, or The Smiths will be hard to find unless you add more specific information like a song or album title.
  • Songs can be hard to find if they have titles like I love you, Go Away, or Summertime. When you search, add the name of the performer or song writer and put the title in quotes, for example: "I Love You" Anita O'Day
  • Some musicians and bands may be too recent, too indie, or too local for there to be easily available or trustworthy information about them. Be prepared to dig.

Where to look First

Essential places to start.

Get some general information first; take advantage of the work someone else has already done before you.

  • Contemporary Musicians. Provides brief biographical information, album and song lists, and bibliographies (often a photo!) for thousands of popular musicians and bands, some you will not find any where else. Also in the Music Library reading room under ML385 .C668. The last volume indexes the whole big set.
  • Oxford Music Online: Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Linked from the Music Library home page as Oxford Music Online. Provides short articles with a bibliography written by a scholar of popular music.
  • Wikipedia. You can't beat it for completeness and currency, although you'll want to verify any questionable information. Also ask your teacher if she will accept it as a resource--some don't.
  • UCLA Library Catalog, the library's "search engine". For people use a Subject List (start of) and enter the person's name, last name first (if they have only one name, enter that). For bands, just enter the name. If you find the name of the person or band in the catalog, you'll have no trouble researching them. You are lucky. There are already some books about them.

Music Collections Librarian

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David Gilbert
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UCLA Music Library
Contact me at the Reference Desk: 825-4882.
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Music Inquiry & Research Librarian

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Joy Doan
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UCLA Music Library
1102 Schoenberg Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-9006

Phone: 310.825.4882
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Get In-Person Research Help

Still need help locating materials and/or developing your research methodologies?

In-person research assistance is avialable in the Music Library. 

Fall Quarter Research Help Hours

Monday -- Friday: 10 am - 5 pm 



Thanks to other music librarians and their guides, particularly Emily Farigno at Yale and her Guide.