Skip to main content


Bob Stanley and Pete Paphides: Let’s Do It: The Birth of Pop

Part of Festival of Voice



Book Now

Limited availability

A 5% booking fee applies online and over the phone. A £2 postage fee is charged where applicable.

Bob Stanley in conversation with journalist and writer Peter Paphides.

Bob Stanley tells the story of the birth of pop, from the invention of the 78 rpm record at the end of the nineteenth century to the beginnings of rock and the modern age.

Who were the earliest record stars, and were they in any meaningful way ‘pop stars’? Who were the likes of George Gershwin writing songs for? Why did swing, the hit sound for a decade or more, become almost invisible after the Second World War?

Taking in superstars such as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra alongside the unheralded songwriters and arrangers behind some of our most enduring songs, Stanley paints an aural portrait of pop music’s formative years, uncovering the silver threads and golden needles that bind the form together.

Bob Stanley 

Bob Stanley is a writer, musician, DJ and film producer. Since founding influential pop group Saint Etienne, he has enjoyed a parallel career as a music journalist, contributing to publications such as The Times, Smash Hits, NME, the Guardian and the Face. A former artist-in-residence at the Southbank Centre, his films have been shown at the ICA and Royal Festival Hall, and he has curated several seasons for the Barbican. He is the author of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop, a Sunday Times Pop Music Book of the Year and a Rough Trade Book of the Year.

Pete Paphides 

Pete Paphides started his career in music journalism at Melody Maker before going on to write for Time Out, the Guardian, Mojo, Q, Observer Music Monthly and The Times, where he spent five years as their Chief Music Critic. He has made several music documentaries for BBC Radio 4, including Lost Albums, Follow-Up Albums and the New York Radio Festival Gold Award-winning The Songs of Molly Drake, and has made two series of Vinyl Revival for BBC 6 Music. Since 2015, he has hosted a weekly music show for Soho Radio and in 2020 he published his first book, Broken Greek, a memoir about childhood and music.


Buy a copy of Bob Stanley’s Let’s Do It: The Birth of Pop here