Editors’ Note:Peter Stampfel has been expanding our definition of folk music and popular song for more than half a century as a member of the Holy Modal Rounders, in his solo projects and as a collaborator on work with the Unholy Modal Rounders, Jeffrey Lewis, and many others. The following piece of writing, conceived as liner notes to his ongoing project of recording a song for every year of the twentieth century, is published here as part of the Journal’s commitment to regularly feature the voices of performers—and as a pragmatic, giddy take on how far pop music’s essential qualities might stretch without snapping....

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