“Stairway to Heaven”: Grieving, Loss and Popular Music

By Georgina Gregory.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Although the psychological benefits of music are understood and music plays a part in the funeral rituals of many cultures, studies of the role played by popular music in the process of bereavement, loss and grieving are neglected. However, in a secular society, where little time is allocated to dealing with loss, people are turning more towards popular music in order process painful feelings of loss in a variety of contexts. This paper looks at why the genre resonates with the bereaved as well as those experiencing other types types of grieving. It also examines the different ways in which popular music is used in the more individualised mourning which are characteristic of postmodern society.

Keywords: Bereavement, Loss, Popular Music, Grief, Mourning

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.327-338. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 770.274KB).

Georgina Gregory

Senior Lecturer in Media and Film, School of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, UK

I teach modules on the Visual Culture of Popular Music, Youth and Popular Culture and Theories of Popular Culture. My current research interests are tribute bands and posthumous performance. I also work as a freelance music researcher for the UK Performing Rights Society.

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