Dr Jan Butler

Senior Lecturer in Popular Music


Jan Butler studied at Nottingham University, where she completed her thesis entitled 'Record Production and the Construction of Authenticity in the Beach Boys and late-60s American rock' under the supervision of Prof Adam Krims in 2010. She has published on various aspects of the development of 1960s US rock, including the development and role of album art and posters, the sound of authenticity on record and the rise and fall of the Beach Boys. She has also published on the recorded musical work and cover versions. Jan is continuing her interest in recordings and cover versions in conjunction with the Popular Music Research Unit at Brookes, continuing their series of Shifting Ground projects exploring links between music and publishing. She is also continuing to gather primary materials to develop her PhD research into a monograph in the near future.

Before coming to Brookes, Jan taught courses on the cultural study of recorded music and popular music history at Leeds College of Music, on popular music in film and recorded culture at Nottingham University, and on Popular Music Analysis at Sheffield University.

Undergraduate teaching

  • U66002 Introduction to Popular Music
  • U66023 Popular Music in Society

Postgraduate teaching

  • P66002 MA Approaches to Film Music
  • P66004 MA Approaches to Popular Music


Jan was Editorial Manager for the journal twentieth century music from 2005 to 2011. She has regularly presented papers at conferences reflecting her research interests, and is a member of IASPM and ASARP.

Research interests

  • Popular music, particularly rock and related genres
  • Analysis of music production
  • Music journalism and criticism
  • Music industry and Marketing
  • Film music, particularly pop in film

Immediate research projects

  • 1960s American West coast rock
  • Exploration of links between music and media industries in the 1960s
  • Explorations of multiple versions of recorded musical works

Books and other publications


‘Clash of the Timbres: The Battle for the Sound of Rock Authenticity on the West Coast, 1966 to 1968’ in Fink, R., La Tour, M. & Wallmark, Z. (eds.), The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Tone and Timbre in Popular Music, OUP, forthcoming 2017

‘Album Art and Posters: The Psychedelic Interplay of Rock art and Art rock’ in Shepherd, T. & Leonard, A. (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture, Routledge Press (2013)

'The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and the Musicology of Record Production' in Frith, S. and Zagorski-Thomas, S. (eds.), The Art of Record Production: An Introductory Reader for a New Academic Field, Ashgate Press (2012)

Journal Articles

The Beach Boys and the musicology of record production, The proceedings of the 2005 Art of Record Production Conference.

Musical Works, Cover Versions and Strange Little Girls, Volume! La revue des musiques populaires, no.7(1), June 2010.

Research Dissemination

Conference papers given since 2004

2013 – ‘The Musicology of Recording and Production, Institute for Musical Research postgraduate training day, invited speaker

2010 - 'The Role of the Rock Cultural Intermediary: The Birth of the American Rock Press in the 1960s', Shifting Ground: A Study Day in Popular Music and Publishing, Oxford Brookes University

2009 - 'Authentic Independents: Myth or Reality?', 5th Annual Art of Record Production Conference, University of Glamorgan

2009 - ‘The Critic as New Cultural Intermediary: the Rise of the American Rock Press in the 1960s’, 6th International Conference on Music since 1900, University of Keele

2009 - 'The Reception of the Use of Technology in the work of Jimi Hendrix', 15th Biennial International IASPM Conference, University of Liverpool

2009 - ‘Ticket To Ride: Album Art as a Gateway to the Psychedelic Community’, RMA Study Day: Image, Music, Identity: Constructing and Experiencing Identities through Music in Visual Culture Conference, University of Nottingham

2009 – Image, Music, Identity Round Table (panel member), RMA Study Day: Image, Music, Identity: Constructing and Experiencing Identities through Music in Visual Culture Conference, University of Nottingham

2005 - ‘The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the musicology of record production’, CHARM/The Art of Record Production Conference, University of Westminster

2005 - ‘High Fidelities: The discourse of authenticity and Jimi Hendrix’, 4th International Conference on Twentieth-century music, University of Sussex

2005 - ‘Musical works, cover versions and Strange Little Girls’, Postgraduate Study Day, University of Nottingham

2004 - ‘Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge: A new film music?’, RMA Students’ Conference, Royal Holloway

Jan Butler


School of Arts

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP