Cover: Just around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination, from Harvard University PressCover: Just around Midnight in HARDCOVER

Just around Midnight

Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination

Product Details


$29.95 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674416598

Publication Date: 09/26/2016


352 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

3 halftones, 5 music illustrations


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From Little Richard and Chuck Berry to the Dominoes, Ike Turner, and Howlin’ Wolf, rock and roll’s founding figures were African American, yet ‘rock’ as we know and hear it now is coded white… In some of his sharpest passages, Hamilton shows how much rockism’s whiteness depended on [the] confining ideas of blackness… He contributes a new and valuable piece to a larger and still contentious project: the struggle against the essentialization of racial and ethnic identity.—Colin Vanderburg, The Los Angeles Review of Books

Extraordinary… Hamilton doesn’t pretend to have all the answers in Just around Midnight but he asks all the right questions. It challenges so much of what we’ve taken for granted about rock and roll history that one reading won’t do… Any future book that deals with the social and racial aspects of popular music in the 20th century will have to contend with Just around Midnight. The bar has been raised.—Adam Ellsworth, Arts Fuse

As Jack Hamilton makes clear in this exceptionally perceptive work, the most common way to talk about race in rock music is to not talk about it at all… Hamilton’s text is bold, sophisticated, and brilliant. For anyone looking for a book challenging conventional narratives of music history, this is a fantastic candidate.—Joshua Friedberg, PopMatters

Ambitious and rewarding… Just around Midnight seeks to tell the story of [black] erasure [from rock ‘n’ roll], and it does so quite compellingly by bringing together artists and songs that our implicitly segregationist narratives have encouraged us to keep apart.—Kevin J. H. Dettmar, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Brilliant… [A] valuable engagement with the unheard narrative of race in rock and roll.—Emma Rees, Times Higher Education

To the age-old cries that ‘rock is dead,’ Jack Hamilton’s book says, think again! Just around Midnight considers the often-elided racial mythologies, cross-cultural intimacies, and racially-charged aesthetic obfuscations that haunt the foundations of American popular music culture. For anyone who remains easily seduced by the romance of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame canon-building, this book is a necessary read.—Daphne Brooks, Yale University

This new listening to the black-and-white racial politics of rock in the 1960s is full of rich insights, provocative thinking, and persuasive writing. As the revolutions of critical race and ethnic studies continue to reveal new generations of critics born in their wake, revisitations of rock history like this one will be crucial to rethinking the musical past.—Josh Kun, University of Southern California

As musically detailed as it is theoretically expansive, Just around Midnight reveals that popular music of the 1960s was defined by more vibrant interracial collaborations and more violent anti-black erasures than we could have imagined. This is a beautifully written and provocatively argued work of intellect, heart, and soul.—Emily Lordi, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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