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Cultural studies and theory

50 articles

The Beatles, Cliff Richard, The Rolling Stones: Pop Music Democratised

Essay by Geoffrey Cannon, New Society, 3 December 1964

Author's note, 2018: Here is my late 1964 insight on the transformation of British pop into rock which can be dated to 21 February 1963 ...

Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, The Rolling Stones: From Pop Singers To Rock Bands

Essay by Geoffrey Cannon, unpublished, 1965

Update, March 2019: I KNOW exactly when I wrote the piece below, where I was, and why I withdrew it from publication. It was January ...

True Sound of Rock

Essay by Geoffrey Cannon, Guardian, The, 3 December 1968

2019: Thoughts after half a century. The piece below written as rock as a genre and a concept was emerging stands up quite well. As ...

The Who: Change and Creation

Essay by Richard Cromelin, UCLA Daily Bruin, 29 January 1969

IT'S GETTING toward the end. It's building and building and building. The intensity he is projecting is communicated to the whole crowd. He is not ...

Canned Heat, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter: The Blues

Essay by Miller Francis Jr., Great Speckled Bird, The, 16 June 1969

"All new technologies bring on the cultural blues, just as the old ones evoke phantom pain after they have disappeared." — Marshall McLuhan, War and ...

LeRoi Jones: Black Music (MacGibbon and Kee 36 shillings).

Book Review by Richard Williams, Melody Maker, 8 November 1969

IN HIS writings for Downbeat and Kulchur magazines, LeRoi Jones — poet, playwright, essayist, critic and revolutionary — provided many of the first signposts to ...

The Sound of the City — The Rise of Bock and Roll by Charlie Gillett 375 pp. (Outerbridge & Dienstfrey, New York — distributed by E.P. Dutton)

Book Review by Greg Shaw, Who Put The Bomp!, October 1970

WITH THIS book, the study of rock & roll reaches a level of sophistication matching that of blues and jazz research. The day is gone ...

Alan Lomax: Making a Science of Man's Music

Profile and Interview by Geoffrey Cannon, Los Angeles Times, 23 January 1972

Alan Lomax, the man who went into the fields of the southern states in the 1930s and brought the glory of the blues to the attention ...

T. Rex: Letter from Britain: Life's a Gas, I Hope It's Gonna Last — Notes On T. Rex

Essay by Simon Frith, Creem, July 1972

ZONK. THIS column is going to be about how things look in and from England. More to the point it's going to be about how ...

The Beatles, Bob Marley & the Wailers: Is Natty Dread better than Sgt. Pepper?

Essay by Idris Walters, Sounds, 24 May 1975

It doesn't matter, says IDRIS WALTERS. Rock's big enough, and the WAILERS are making waves... ...

Simon Frith: The Sociology Of Rock (Constable. £7.50; paperback, £3.50)

Book Review by Michael Watts, Melody Maker, 28 October 1978

FUN OR PROFIT? ...

Red Crayola: "...THE IDEOLOGICAL FEATURES OF ANY WORK AS A FUNCTION OF CONSUMER RELATIONS...

Interview by Andy Gill, New Musical Express, 21 July 1979

...AS OPPOSED TO DEMOCRATIC ORGANISATIONAL IMPERATIVES; SECTIONAL MILITANCY AS OPPOSED TO PRIVATISED MILITANCY, OF WHICH YOU FIND A GREAT DEAL IN POP MUSIC — THE CRITICAL ...

Brian Eno, Talking Heads: Brian Eno: Energy Fails The Magician

Interview by Richard Williams, Melody Maker, 12 January 1980

After spending the last decade redefining rock music, all Brian Eno wants now is an honest job of work and a place to lay his ...

The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll — Revised Edition; Edited by Jim Miller (Random House/Rolling Stone)

Book Review by Robot A. Hull, Creem, May 1981

Less Is More? ...

Adam & The Ants, Grace Jones, Spandau Ballet: Mirror, Mirror On The Wall... What Aspect Of 1981 Does It Pain You Most To Recall?

Essay by Ian Penman, New Musical Express, 19 December 1981

Overdressed twits taking Polaroids of one another in posey little clubs? Or the stern soapbox caterwauling of commentators who got themselves into a blue funk about everyone else's ...

Sound Effects: Youth, Leisure, And The Politics Of Rock'n'roll by Simon Frith (Pantheon)

Book Review by Toby Goldstein, Creem, June 1982

Pithy Frith Froth Follows Forth ...

Wanted: a Rock Valhalla for the Golden Oldies

Comment by Mick Brown, Guardian, The, 4 August 1983

Up and down the country sweet little sixteens have just about half a million signed autographs. In fact, all the best rock 'n' roll memorabilia ...

Savage Cool

Overview by Jon Savage, i-D, February 1986

Jon Savage is one of the arch voices of our time, a blithe spirit with a vicious tongue and a wicked pen: dedicated, deadly and ...

Pop Journalism: Write of Wrong?

Overview by Frank Owen, Melody Maker, 24 May 1986

Is it pop we're disillusioned with, or pop journalism? Is Paul Morley the curse or the saviour of the scribbling classes? Frank Owen takes a ...

Hip Hop: Nasty Boys

Essay by Simon Reynolds, Melody Maker, 19 July 1986

Simon Reynolds ventures down hip hop's mean streets and finds something nasty lurking in the shadows — something that guilt-ridden white liberals might prefer to ...

Ian Hunter: With its new $15m museum, Cleveland will rock

Report by Jim Sullivan, Boston Globe, The, 17 April 1987

CLEVELAND — A city couldn't have a more enthusiastic rock 'n' roll anthem than Ian Hunter's 'Cleveland Rocks'. In the song, Hunter incessantly proclaims a ...

Yo! Bum Rush Foucault!

Special Feature by Simon Reynolds, David Stubbs, Melody Maker, 20 June 1987

B-BOYS, Yo-Boys, listen up good, cos a new sound's rappin' up the neighbourhood! Yo, it's the Maker's very own rappin' post-structuralist, the chin-scratchin' semiotician about to ...

Cleveland Affirms Rock Hall of Fame Deal

Report by Michael Goldberg, Rolling Stone, 10 August 1989

City must raise funds by mid-November ...

Tracy Chapman, Jimi Hendrix, Living Colour, Prince, Dan Reed Network: Black Rock

Essay by David Toop, Face, The, July 1990

White Rock we know about, but why should the idea of Black Rock be so difficult to comprehend? When Prince says his current tour is rock'n'roll based, he ...

Hail, Hail Rock'n'Roll

Essay by Nick Tosches, Spin, August 1990

NOW THAT the 1980s, whatever the fuck they were, are, like the great Liberace himself, dead and gone, can't we get this whole dumb business ...

Glenn Branca, Elliott Sharp: Glenn Branca and Elliott Sharp: "We are the Reality of this Cyberpunk Fantasy"

Interview by Mark Dery, Mondo 2000, 1991

GLENN BRANCA and Elliott Sharp philosophize with a hammer. And an anvil. And a stirrup. The two New York composers take Friedrich Nietzsche, who subtitled ...

Burt Bacharach, Portishead: Ballads: Heart of Darkness

Essay by David Toop, Face, The, September 1996

Can the ballad survive in the post-soul '90s, asks David Toop. ...

Jingo! World Music at Fairfield

Comment by Brian Torff, Fairfield Now, Summer 1997

IN WESTERN POP culture, we often see music as a product that is heavily advertised through the media, and presented in a buy and sell ...

Janis Ian, Stan Ridgway: Songwriting: Sex and Memory

Interview by Paul Zollo, Musician, April 1999

Janis Ian and Stan Ridgway discuss the changing role of gender in modern lyrics. ...

The Beatles, Can, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Yoko Ono, Steppenwolf, Frank Zappa: Undercurrents #7: Fables of the Deconstruction

Retrospective by Edwin Pouncey, Wire, The, July 1999

In the latest in our series uncovering the hidden wiring of 20th century music, Edwin Pouncey shows how rock 'n' roll's face was changed forever ...

The Clash, King Tubby, Bob Marley & the Wailers, Lee 'Scratch' Perry: Reggae: Back to the Roots

Essay by Simon Reynolds, Wire, The, September 2000

According to the remixologists' gospel, the dub virus was so successful, it took out the word and eradicated its reggae song hosts. Simon Reynolds rediscovers ...

Lester Bangs: Loud Bangs and Bestial Noises

Essay by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, September 2001

In the 20 years since Lester Bangs wrote his 'Reasonable Guide to Horrible Noise', the multi-mediated world has largely assimilated the hostile sounds he espoused. ...

Morrissey: Mark Simpson: Saint Morrissey

Book Review by Simon Price, Independent on Sunday, 16 November 2003

Former World's Biggest Smiths Fan Simon Price checks his credentials against a passionately provocative analysis of Morrissey's art. ...

The Smiths: So tell me, what was that all about? A Smiths Symposium

Report by Caitlin Moran, Times, The, 29 March 2005

THE VIDEO for the Smiths' 1987 single 'I Started Something I Couldn't Finish' shows hundreds of faux-Morrisseys descending on the streets of Manchester — cardigans frayed, quiffs ...

John Cage, Keith Rowe: Seriously funny

Comment by David Stubbs, Wire, The, June 2005

David Stubbs on discovering that humour and music do mix ...

Cheryl Cole: Twist and pout: Cheryl Cole's new album cover

Essay by Laura Barton, Guardian, The, 19 November 2009

If the pose seems vaguely familiar, it may be that side-on, over-the-shoulder look. Laura Barton has certainly seen it somewhere before. ...

From Mod to Emo: Why Pop Tribes Are Still Making a Scene

Overview by Jude Rogers, Guardian, The, 25 February 2010

Like-minded music fans have been herding together for half a century — but are die-hard pop tribes now a thing of the past? Do today's ...

Lady Gaga: Aladdin Sane Called, He Wants His Lightning Bolt Back: On Lady Gaga

Essay by Mark Dery, True/Slant, 20 April 2010

"HOW NOT DUMB is Gaga?" asked the New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, in the first flush of Gagamania. Almost exactly a year later, his ...

Pop and its Past

Essay by Steve Redhead, Rock's Backpages, September 2011

POP HISTORY seemed, for some commentators at least, to have stopped sometime in the late 1980s. This was the 'postmodern' moment for many critics and ...

Peace: Tiny, Smug and Blissfully Ignorant Minds: New British Indie and Peace's In Love (Columbia)

Special Feature by Neil Kulkarni, fuckyouneilkulkarni.blogspot.co.uk, 30 April 2013

"I. Man's perceptions are not bound by organs of perception; he perceives more than sense (tho' ever so acute) can discover." — William Blake, ...

Wreath Lecture: Braying Crowds & The Accidental Death of Quiet Music

Comment by David Bennun, Quietus, The, 12 December 2013

2013 was the year when crowds talking loudly at gigs became a universal aggravation, writes David Bennun. He asks why this is the case, and ...

Kate Tempest: Poet, performer, novelist: the rise of the uncategorisable Kate Tempest

Report and Interview by Laura Barton, Guardian, The, 12 September 2014

Mercury nomination and place on prestigious list of poets are well-deserved accolades for bright young performer ...

Come See about Me: Why the Baby Boomers Liked Stax but Loved Motown

Essay by Gary Kenton, 'Baby Boomers and Popular Culture' (Praeger Books), 2015

ETHNOMUSICOLOGIST and anthropologist Steven Feld studied how meanings are reconstituted when music moves from indigenous communities to a global market. He argues that you cannot ...

Kathryn Williams: 'Sylvia was a big shadow over my writing'

Interview by Jude Rogers, Guardian, The, 14 June 2015

Singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams talks about how Sylvia Plath inspired her new album, and why she is determined to rescue the poet from the 'sexy, depressing ...

David Bowie Biographer David Buckley Reflects On A Life Immersed In His Colourful World

Essay by David Buckley, New Musical Express, 11 February 2016

Author David Buckley has spent years chronicling the life and work of David Bowie, in academia and in books such as Strange Fascination: David Bowie, ...

10cc, Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias, The Beatles, Bongwater, Bonzo Dog Band, David Bowie, Culturcide, The Darkness, The Detergents, Hannah Diamond, The Dukes of Stratosphear, James Ferraro, The First Class, Morgan Fischer, Flying Lizards, Gary Glitter, Laibach, Little Pain, Nick Lowe, The Mothers Of Invention, The Move, John Oswald, QT, Redd Kross, The Residents, Roxy Music, Todd Rundgren, The Rutles, Shockabilly, Spinal Tap, Alvin Stardust, The Tubes, The Turtles, Utopia, Wizzard, Weird Al Yankovic, Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction: Killer Riffs: A Guide to Parody in Popular Music

Essay by Simon Reynolds, Pitchfork, 19 October 2016

From the Residents' freakish Beatles sendups, to Spinal Tap's meta-metal escapades, to the gastronomic goofs of "Weird Al", a chronicle of those who have turned ...

The Dis-Education of Rock 'n' Roll

Essay by Gary Kenton, 'Teachers, Teaching, and Media' (Brill), 2019

This essay first appeared in Teachers, Teaching, and Media, Mary M. Dalton and Laura R. Linder, editors. ...

The Residents — American dreams turned to grotesque nightmares

Live Review by Luke Turner, Guardian, The, 5 February 2019

The anonymous, long-serving denizens of the post-hippy underground are joined by Mother Teresa and John Wayne for a bizarre take on vaudeville ...

The New Lost City Ramblers: John Cohen, 1932-2019

Obituary by Tony Russell, Guardian, The, 14 October 2019

Film-maker, photographer, folk music revivalist and founder member of the New Lost City Ramblers ...

Streaming: The Inessential Collection

Essay by Mark Sinker, Wire, The, January 2020

The explosion of music streaming platforms in the 2010s makes Mark Sinker yearn to get back off the grid ...

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