Finally folks, a big book about the history of popular music in English is available for the huge crowd of foreign Icelandic music lovers.

Of course Dr. Gunni (a.k.a. Gunnar Lárus Hjálmarsson) is behind this endeavour. Previous he wrote two beloved tomes on the history of Icelandic music in Icelandic. “Blue Eyed Pop” (2013) is partly based on “Stuð vors lands” (Sögur útgáfa, 2012) or should I say the 12 inch version? The title “Blue Eyed Pop” (Heiðríkjupopp) is taken from a song from the album “Life’s too good” (One Little Indian/Elektra, 1988) by the Godfathers of Icelandic pop music, the inevitable Sugarcubes.

In each chapter of this 10 inch sized book Dr. Gunni describes an era of the rich musical tradition of Fire and Iceland. The doctor provides a musical diet containing salty details, sometimes sweet inside information, fatty impressions and protein-rich anecdotes. A page-turner of 224 pages, with an overload of great photographs in B & W and even more in full colour, to appease one’s appetite who is as hungry as a hunter.

I can only make two remarks: an index would have been very helpful and some top 10 lists like in his alternative guidebook “Top 10 Reykjavík and Iceland” would have been ultrafine extras.

All in all, an almost 1 kg heavy, must-read for every serious Icelandic music fan. Just like Paul Sullivan’s “Waking up in Iceland (Sights and sounds from Europe’s coolest hotspot)” (Sanctuary Publishing, 2003, ISBN 1-86074-460-5) and Charlie Strand’s “Project: Iceland (Music / Art / Fashion)” (Forlagið, 2008, ISBN978-9979-53-489-1) a must-have for every Icelandic music maniac. I am ready and already saving money for the Encyclopaedia of Icelandic popular music, to be published in about 5 years from now?

– Wim Van Hooste –

To have an idea of the menu, here is an overview of the content:
Chapter 1 – “Pop” Before 1950
Dancing Out of the Darkness
Chapter 2 – The Beginning of Modern Pop Bands, Singers, Songwriters and Labels of the Early Fifties
Chapter 3 – Rock arrives  Icelanders Get All Excited About Rock ‘n’ Roll
Chapter 4 – Beatlemania in Iceland
The War Cry From Liverpool Reaches the Reef
f.ex. Hljómar (Thor’s Hammer), Dátar
Chapter 5 – The Hippies Rock Out
Getting Heavy and Progressive
f.ex. Trúbrot, Óðmenn, Svanfríður, Icecross, Pelican Chapter 6 – The Silly Seventies
Just Having Fun
Chapter 7 – The Early Eighties Rock Explosion
Rokk in Reykjavík
f.ex. Fræbbblarnir, Þeyr, Purrkur Pillnikk, Tappi Tíkarrass
Chapter 8 – Life after Rokk í Reykjavík
The Joyful and Vivid Eighties
Chapter 9 – The Sugarcubes and their protégés
World Domination or Death!
Chapter 10 – The ball-pop bands of the nineties (and beyond)
Artistic Ambition at the Country Ball
Chapter 11 – Metal and hard (and not so hard) rock in the nineties
Guitars Guitars Everywhere
Chapter 12 – Björk Conquers the World
I Was Just Created This Way
Chapter 13 – GusGus and Electronica in Iceland
Dancing with a New Toolbox
Chapter 14 – Sigur Rós
We Haven’t Got Any Hate Mail Yet
Chapter 15 – Rock, Rap, Reggae and Pop in the New Millennium
Full of Energy and Promise
Chapter 16 – The “Krútt”-Generation
The Introverted Ambassadors
f.ex. múm, Sin Fang, Sóley, Emilíana Torrini
Chapter 17 – The Class of Now
Anything Can Happen!
f.ex. Of Monsters and Men, Ásgeir, Ólafur Arnalds
+ Lists
(Best Icelandic albums)
+ Maps (of Reykjavík and Iceland)
f.ex. Where were The Sugarcubes formed? Where did the Sigur Rós guys meet first? Where was Ágætis byrjun recorded?

Order a copy here:

Listen to some tracks selected by de Dr. Gunni himself:

Have a look at more books by this publisher: