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'There's a Riot Goin' On'


How did music respond to the downturn in the economy, defeat in Vietnam and Watergate?

How did disco develop, and why did it excite such a strong reaction from supporters and critics? And what does this tell us about gender and sexuality in 1970s music?

Why did funk music become the dominant force in black music?

What role did Sly and the Family Stone play in the popularity of funk?

How did Gil Scot Heron’s work fit into the black freedom struggle?

How did Stevie Wonder approach the 1970s?

To what extent was the rock music of the 1970s influenced by black music?


Core Reading:

Paul Friedlander, Rock and Roll: A Social History (Westview, 2006), Chapter 16 **

Dorian Lynskey, 33 Revolutions per Minute (Faber, 2011), Chapter 11, pp229-48 **

From: rocksbackpages

Alan Walsh ‘BANNED! Top Of The Pops Drop Sly & The Family Stone’, Melody Maker, 21 September 1968

Extract from Joel Selvin, On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone, from Rocks bp

Lenny Kaye Review of Stevie Wonder, ‘Innervisions’, Rolling Stone, 23 September 1973

Ben Myers, 'Why "Disco sucks!" sucked', The Guardian, 18 June 2009

Further Reading

Lloyd Bradley, Sounds like London: 100 years of black music in the capital (Serpent's Tail, 2013)

Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton, Last night a DJ saved my life; the history of the disc jockey

David A Carson, Grit, Noise, and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll. (Ann Arbor, 2011)

Stuart Cosgrove, Detroit 67: The Year that Changed Soul (Polygon, 2016)

Ann Danielson, Presence and Pleasure: The Funk Grooves of James Brown and Parliament (Wesleyan UP, 2006) ebook

Cogdell DjeDje and Eddie S. Meadows, California soul: music of African Americans in the West (Calif., 1998) ebook

Joel Dinerstein. ‘The Soul Roots of Bruce Springsteen's American Dream’, American Music [serial online]. 2007, pp.441-76

Harry Justin Elam, , and Kennell Jackson (eds.) Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture. (University of Michigan Press, 2010).

Kevin Fellezs,  Birds of Fire: jazz, rock, funk, and the creation of fusion (Duke University Press, 2011)

Murray Forman, The ‘Hood Coms First: Race, Space and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop (Wesleyan UP, 2002) ebook

Nelson George and Alan Leeds, The James Brown Reader (2008)

Robert Gordon, Express Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion (Bloomsbury, 2015)

Hubbs N. 'I Will Survive': Musical Mappings of Queer Social Space in a Disco Anthem. Popular Music [serial online]. 2007, 231-44.

Jerma A Jackson, Singing in My Soul: Black Gospel Music in a Secular Age. Chapel Hill, US (The University of North Carolina Press, 2004). ebook

John A Jackson, House on Fire : The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul. (Oxford University Press, 2004) ebook

Kip Lornell (ed) From jubilee to hip hop : readings in African American music (Prentice Hall, 2010)

James McBride, Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for the Real James Brown (2016)

Johnny Morgan, Disco (Sterling, 2011)

Richard Ripani, The New Blue Music: Changes in Rhythm and Blues, 1950-99 (Mississippi, 2006), Ch5, pp.102-124 ebook

Arnold Shaw, Black Popular Music in America (Macmillan, 1986)

Stephanie Shonekan, Soul, country, and the USA [electronic resource] : race and identity in American music culture (2015) ebook

R.J. Smith, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown (2012)

Rickey Vincent, Party Music : The Inside Story of the Black Panthers' Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music. (Chicago, 2013) ebook

Craig Werner, A Change is Gonna come: music, race & the soul of America (University of Michigan Press, 2006)

Tyrone Williams, Disco: Research Starter

Sly and the family Stone