Red Days: Popular Music & the English Counterculture 1965-1975
John Roberts

Challenges the conventional narratives about English popular music and the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s

The passion, intensity and complexity of the popular music produced in England between 1965-75 is the work of an extraordinary generation of working class and lower middle class men and women (in alliance with a handful of middle-class men and women) who saw in the new music the remaking of something bigger than themselves, or more precisely, something bigger than themselves that they could guide and shape and call their own. In this the ‘use-values’ of popular music underwent an unprecedented expansion and diversity during this period. Red Days presents how music and action, music and discourse, experienced a profound re-functioning as definitions of the popular unmoored themselves from the condescending judgements of post-1950s high culture and the sentiment of the old popular culture and the musicologically conformist rock ‘n’ roll seeking to displace it. The remaking of the popular between 1965-1975, accordingly, is more than a revision of popular taste, it is, rather, the demolition of old cultural allegiances and habits, as forces inside and outside of music shattered the assumption of popular music as the home for passive adolescent identifications.

Bio: John Roberts is Professor of Art & Aesthetics at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the author of a number of books, including, The Necessity of Errors (2010), Photography and Its Violations (2014), Revolutionary Time and the Avant-Garde(2015), Thoughts on an Index Not Freely Given(2016) and The Reasoning of Unreason: Universalism, Capitalism and Disenlightenment (2018).

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