Jangle pop is a subgenre of pop rock[1] or college rock[4] that emphasizes jangly guitars and 1960s-style pop melodies.[2][5]


The term originated from Bob Dylan's song "Mr. Tambourine Man", whose 1965 rendition by the Byrds is considered one of the genre's representative works.[6] Since the 1960s, jangle pop has crossed numerous genres, including power pop, psychedelia, new wave, post-punk, indie rock, and lo-fi.[6]

In the 1980s, the most prominent bands of early indie rock were jangle pop groups such as R.E.M., the Chills, the Clean, the dB's,[7] the Verlaines,[8] 10,000 Maniacs[9] the Wedding Present, and the Smiths.[10] 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 used to describe bands like R.E.M. and Let's Active as well as the Paisley Underground subgenre, which incorporated psychedelic influences.[2]


Main article: Jangle

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.[6]


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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).[6] Even though many subsequent bands drew hugely from the Byrds, not every group were as folk rock sounding as the Byrds were.[11] 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.[6]

New Zealand's Dunedin Sound was a key scene of jangle pop. Bands such as the Chills, the Clean, the Verlaines, the Bats and Straitjacket Fits synthesised 1970s alternative rock and post-punk with jangle,[12] and the scene soon spread to Auckland and other New Zealand cities.

Early 1980s post-punk and new wave artists were influenced by the pioneering jangle pop groups of the 1960s and 1970s.[1] 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.[13] An AllMusic summary of modern jangle pop describes it as a "pop-based format", but not mainstream, as the lyrics could often be "deliberately cryptic", and the sound "raw and amateurish" with DIY production.[2]

Between 1983 and 1987, "Southern-pop bands like R.E.M. and Let's Active" and a California-originated subgenre called Paisley Underground incorporated psychedelic influences.[2] An article in Blogcritics magazine[unreliable source?] 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."[14]

Jangle pop influenced college rock during the early 1980s.[15] 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.[16]

In the 1990s, with the arrival of grunge, jangle pop's popularity began to wane. This was evident with R.E.M., who eschewed jangle for grunge on Monster (1994).[17][self-published source][18][failed verification][19] However, despite this decline in popularity, some grunge bands experimented with jangle pop elements, notably Alice in Chains on Jar of Flies (1994)[20][self-published source] (especially on "No Excuses"[21]) and Stone Temple Pilots on Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (1996).[22]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Peake, Steve. "Jangle Pop - Profile of '80s Underground Genre Jangle Pop". About.com. About.com. Archived from the original on March 28, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Jangle Pop". AllMusic. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  3. ^ Everett True (March 28, 2014). "How dolewave put Australia's music writers to work". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Steve Peake. "The Most Influential '80s Rock Music Genres". ThoughtCo. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  5. ^ Jeff Wilkin (August 19, 2015). "British band Life in Film sounds off on 'Jangle Pop'". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e 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. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  7. ^ "Chris Stamey: The Great Escape". Spectrum Culture. July 13, 2023. Retrieved November 2, 2023.
  8. ^ Dunedin Sound: A History of the Dunedin Sound - 2023 - MasterClass
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2023). "10,000 Maniacs". AllMusic. Retrieved December 15, 2023.
  10. ^ Matthew Bannister (2013). White Boys, White Noise: Masculinities and 1980s Indie Guitar Rock. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 71–72, 87, 124–125. ISBN 978-1-4094-9374-7.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Dunedin Sound - the sound of honesty? - Article | AudioCulture". www.audioculture.co.nz. Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  13. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Pylon Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic.
  14. ^ "Sunday Morning Playlist: Jangle Pop - Blogcritics Music". Blogcritics.org. Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  15. ^ Sullivan, Denise. "Jangle-Pop". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 11, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  16. ^ Caldwell, Rob (June 2, 2014). "Spindizzy Jangle: The Reivers' "In Your Eyes"". PopMatters.
  17. ^ Bracy, Timothy; Bracy, Elizabeth (July 20, 2012). "R.E.M. Albums From Worst to Best". Stereogum. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  18. ^ Larkin, Colin (May 27, 2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. p. 2266. ISBN 9780857125958. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  19. ^ Smith, Stewart (October 8, 2014). "Sex & Trash Aesthetics: REM's Monster Revisited". The Quietus. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  20. ^ Weiss, Dan (October 6, 2016). "The 10 Best Alice in Chains Songs". Stereogum.
  21. ^ James, Rotundi (March 1994). "Lord of the Flies: Jerry Cantrell Unchains Alice". Guitar Player. Vol. 28, no. 3. Guitar Player.
  22. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Stone Temple Pilots - Tiny Music...Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop Album Reviews, Songs & More". AllMusic.