Rockin' the Free World!

How the Rock & Roll Revolution Changed America and the World

By (author) Sean Kay

Publication date:

29 December 2016

Length of book:

288 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442266049

In Rockin' the Free World, international relations expert Sean Kay takes readers inside “Bob Dylan’s America” and shows how this vision linked the rock and roll revolution to American values of freedom, equality, human rights, and peace while tracing how those values have spread globally. Rockin' the Free World then shows how artists have engaged in advancing change via opportunity and education; domestic and international issue advocacy; and within the recording and broader communications industry. The book is built around primary interviews with prominent American and international performing artists ranging from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and Grammy winners to regional and local musicians. The interviews include leading industry people, management, journalists, heads of non-profits, and activists. The book concludes with a look at how musical artists have defined the American experience and what that has meant for the world.
Kay draws on scores of firsthand accounts (derived from interviews) and published sources in this wide-ranging overview of rock 'n' roll. Comprising nine chapters, the book opens with a chapter titled ‘Bob Dylan’s America,’ which focuses on folk music and the social content of rock 'n' roll since the 1960s. Subsequent chapters take up freedom, equality, human rights, peace, education, activism, and money, and the volume concludes with a chapter titled ‘Rockin’ the Free World.’ Scores of performers are discussed (the focus is on the US, but various other countries are also represented). For example, the chapter on peace begins with Pete Seeger, then looks at Rage against the Machine, Country Joe McDonald, System of a Down, and David Crosby—relating all to international wars and events of the 20th and 21st centuries. The endnotes and lists of sources, particularly the numerous interviews, are helpful. This is a useful addition to the untold number of studies of rock 'n' roll, particularly because the author includes music industry executives, foundation administrators, and music journalists as well as performers.

Summing Up:
Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.