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Jangle pop is a subgenre of pop rock[1] and college rock[3] that emphasizes trebly, ringing guitars (usually 12-string electrics)[4] and 1960s-style pop melodies.[2][5] While the Everly Brothers and the Searchers laid the foundations for the style, the Beatles and the Byrds are commonly credited with launching the popularity of the "jangly" sound that defined the genre. Particularly, the Byrds' rendition of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" (1965), which coined the genre name from the lyric "jingle-jangle morning" accompanied by the sounds of chiming guitars.[4] Even though many subsequent bands drew hugely from the Byrds, they did not fit into the folk rock continuum as the Byrds did.[6]

In the early to mid 1980s, the term "jangle pop" emerged as a label for an American post-punk movement that recalled the sounds of "jangly" acts from the 1960s. Between 1983 and 1987, the description "jangle pop" was, in the US, used to describe bands like R.E.M. and Let's Active as well as the Paisley Underground subgenre, which incorporated psychedelic influences.[2] In the UK, the term was applied to the guitar pop of The Smiths. [7]


1960s–1970s: OriginsEdit

The Everly Brothers and the Searchers laid the foundations for jangle pop in the late 1950s to mid 1960s; examples include "All I Have to Do Is Dream" (1958) and "Needles and Pins" (1964).[4] The Beatles' use of the jangle sound in the songs "A Hard Day's Night", "What You're Doing", "Words of Love" (1964), and "Ticket to Ride" (1965) encouraged many artists to use the jangle sound or purchase a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar.[8] Rickenbacker guitars were expensive and rare, but could create a clear, ringing sound that could not be reproduced with the more "twangy" Telecaster or the "fatter, less sharp" sound of the Les Paul.[8]

After seeing the Beatles' 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, the Byrds modeled their sound on the Beatles and prominently featured a Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar in many of their recordings.[8] Other groups such as the Who (in their early "Mod" years), the Beach Boys, the Hollies and Paul Revere & the Raiders continued the use of twelve-string Rickenbackers. Folk rock artists Simon and Garfunkel crossed over into jangle pop by adding twelve-string guitars to their music, which helped launch their commercial success.[8] From then and into the 1970s, jangle pop saw a crossover with other subgenres, including power pop artists like Raspberries and Big Star who blurred the line between the two styles, and folk rock artists such as Simon and Garfunkel.[4]

The term "jangle pop" was not used during the original movement of the 1960s, but was popularized later, during the 1980s,[1] as a reference to the lyric "In the jingle jangle morning, I'll come following you" from the Byrds' 1965 rendition of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man", as well as the chiming sound of the 12-string Rickenbacker's upper-register strings.[4]

1980s: Post-punk developmentsEdit

1980s post-punk and new wave artists were influenced by the pioneering jangle pop groups of the 1960s and 1970s.[9] In 1979, the Athens, Georgia group Pylon debuted with an "angular, propulsive jangle pop sound" that would influence fellow members of the Athens, Georgia music scene.[10] AllMusic claims that it was non-mainstream music with "deliberately cryptic" lyrics and "raw and amateurish" DIY production. Between 1983 and 1987, "Southern-pop bands like R.E.M. and Let's Active" and a subgenre called "Paisley Underground" incorporated psychedelic influences.[2] An article in Blogcritics magazine claims that besides R.E.M., the "... only other jangle-pop band to enjoy large sales in America were the Bangles, from Los Angeles. While better known for their glossy hits like 'Manic Monday', their first album and EP were organic, real jangle-pop efforts in a Byrds/Big Star vein, spiced with a dash of psychedelia on their debut."[11]

Jangle pop influenced college rock during the early 1980s.[12] In Austin, Texas, the term "New Sincerity" was loosely used for a similar group of bands, led by The Reivers, Wild Seeds and True Believers. In the UK, The Smiths can be considered part of jangle pop as can the raw and immediate sounding melodic guitar-bands of the C86 scene.[13]


In 2015, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" and the first wave of jangle pop, Jakob Dylan headlined an all-star concert including artists Beck and Fiona Apple at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.[14] The concert was followed by a compilation album featuring covers of songs by jangle pop artists such as The Byrds and The Beach Boys.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Peake, Steve. "Jangle Pop - Profile of '80s Underground Genre Jangle Pop". Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Jangle Pop". AllMusic. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  3. ^ Peake, Steve. "The Most Influential '80s Rock Music Genres". ThoughtCo. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f LaBate, Steve (December 18, 2009). "Jangle Bell Rock: A Chronological (Non-Holiday) Anthology… from The Beatles and Byrds to R.E.M. and Beyond". Paste. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  5. ^ Wilkin, Jeff (August 19, 2015). "British band Life in Film sounds off on 'Jangle Pop'". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  6. ^ Unterberger, Richie (2003). Eight Miles High: Folk-rock's Flight from Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock. Backbeat Books. pp. 293–. ISBN 978-0-87930-743-1.
  7. ^ C-86 Music Genre Overview|AllMusic
  8. ^ a b c d Kocher, Frank (September 2012). "Jingle-Jangle Revolution: How Rickenbacker Guitars Changed Music". Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  9. ^ Profile of '80s Underground Genre Jangle
  10. ^ Pylon bio, Retrieved August 2011
  11. ^ "Sunday Morning Playlist: Jangle Pop - Blogcritics Music". Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Denise. "Jangle-Pop". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on March 11, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  13. ^ C-86 Music Genre Overview|AllMusic
  14. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (October 13, 2015). "Jakob Dylan and friends hear California of yesteryear at Echo in the Canyon". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 24, 2016.