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BEP in Rolling Stone

Mr. David Fricke, senior editor at Rolling Stone and a frequent visitor to Iceland Airwaves, lists BLUE EYED POP as one of 2013’s highlights „When I went to Iceland in 1988 to interview the Sugarcubes, the arctic nation’s first, international rock stars, I quickly found out they were not a Year Zero phenomenon. Iceland had a long history of warping American and British pop to its own, compelling ends. Dr. Gunni, a musician and journalist, goes all the way back to his country’s wax-cylinder days but hits a gripping, detailed stride in his tales of drinking and striving by, among others, Sixties garage-beat pioneers Hljómar, the Cream-like Ödmenn and the Eighties dada-punk band Kukl (with a very young Björk). Blue Eyed Pop, first published in Icelandic in 2012, has no discography, but Dr.Gunni has curated a soundtrack of playlists.“

Reviews for Blue Eyed Pop

„In conclusion, this is an intriguing, detailed history of Icelandic pop that deserves to be on the bookshelf of every fan of Icelandic music. It explains, with words and photography, where the music you are listening to has come from, and crucially, where it might go next.“ – Edward Hancox / Iceland Review
„An eye-opening history of popular music in Iceland, covering both today’s acts and their predecessors, and revealing a lot of background and connections that casual observers of Icelandic pop music (especially abroad) might miss.“ – ACB / Goodreads
„This book is a must for anyone who appreciates the history of music.“ – Bryan Riebeek
„Blue Eyed Pop is the perfect resource for the English speaker who wants to learn more about the history of music in Iceland.“ – Jeff Obermeyer

Blue Eyed Pop – The History of Popular Music in Iceland

BLUE EYED POP by Dr. Gunni is the first book in ENGLISH about the History of popular music in Iceland.

Iceland has a population of only 320.000. Despite this, the tiny nation has been a hotbed of musical activity and accomplishment, resulting—among other things— in globally celebrated musicians like Björk, Sigur Rós, múm, Emilíana Torrini and Of Monsters and Men. And these beloved icons are but the tip of the iceberg—the country is crowded with interesting, often groundbreaking musicians, as evident by an annual flood of fantastic albums and the lauded Iceland Airwaves music festival, which serves as a harvest feast for the Icelandic scene.
In BLUE EYED POP – THE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC IN ICELAND, the first English-language book to cover Iceland’s rich history of popular music, scene stalwart Dr. Gunni takes us back to the dire beginnings of pop music in Iceland and recounts its history through the decades. This book is a must-have for any serious fan of Icelandic music, a funny and insightful read from a trusted inside source, featuring an abundance of rare and cool images.
Dr. Gunni (Gunnar Lárus Hjálmarsson) is a jack-of-all-trades in the Icelandic music world. After catching a serious case of Beatlemania at the age of ten and then being baptized to the church of punk rock in 1979, Gunni has religiously pondered and listened to music, with an emphasis on his local scene. Dr. Gunni has through his career written about music for most of Iceland’s publications; his repertoire includes two beloved tomes on the history of Icelandic music (this book is partly based on 2012’s “Stuð vors lands”); hosted various radio shows, supervised a pop quiz show on TV and regularly performed his own music, both as solo artist and with notable local acts such as S.H. Draumur, Bless and Unun.



Chapter 1 – “Pop” Before 1950
Dancing Out of the Darkness

Chapter 2 – The Beginning of Modern Pop
Bands, Singers, Song-writers 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
* Hljómar (Thor’s Hammer), Dátar, etc…

Chapter 5 – The Hippies Rock Out
Getting Heavy and Progressive
* Trúbrot, Óðmenn, Svanfríður, Icecross, Pelican etc…

Chapter 6 – The Silly Seventies
Just Having Fun

Chapter 7 – The Early Eighties Rock Explosion
Rokk in Reykjavík
* Fræbbblarnir, Þeyr, Purrkur Pillnikk, Tappi Tíkarrass etc… 

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, Raggea and Pop in the New Millennium
Full of Energy and Promise

Chapter 16 – The „Krútt“-Generation
The Introverted Ambassadors
* múm, Sin Fang, Sóley, Emilíana Torrini etc…

Chapter 17 – The Class of Now
Anything Can Happen!
* Of Monsters and Men, Ásgeir, Ólafur Arnalds etc… 

+ Lists
* Best Icelandic albums, best sellers, etc…

+ Maps (of Reykjavík and Iceland)
* Where were The Sugarcubes formed? Where did the Sigur Rós guys meet first? Where was Ágætis byrjun recorded? Etc…


  • Paperback: 224 Pages
  • Publisher: Sögur útgáfa (October 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-9935-448-45-3
  • Dimensions: 21.6 x 23.8 x 1.8 cm / 8.5 x 9.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Weight: 854 g / 30 oz