Cover: The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, from Harvard University PressCover: The Sex Revolts in PAPERBACK

The Sex Revolts

Gender, Rebellion, and Rock ‘n’ Roll

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Product Details


$38.50 • £30.95 • €34.50

ISBN 9780674802735

Publication Date: 10/01/1996


432 pages

5-1/4 x 8-3/8 inches


This is rock criticism on the high slopes, brave, rigorous and endlessly well-read. The book’s grand themes are sustained throughout and the authors are endlessly interesting, even about the many marginal and extreme figures on whom much of their arguments rest… This book is ultimately a landmark in rock and gender criticism precisely because it’s a beacon of coherence that’s also hip enough to convey the fact that rock is often at its most profound when it appears to be talking in tongues.Mojo

Unabashed fans of male chauvinists from Jim Morrison to the Australian cult favorite Nick Cave, [Reynolds and Press] are also eloquent in their praise of a more womanly “oceanic’ aesthetic they discern in figures as diverse as the German avant-garde group Can, the punk poet Patti Smith, and Joni Mitchell’s far-flung heiresses. Let’s hope that this is not the last cross-disciplinary work that owes its ambitions to the cultural studies movement while refusing to succumb to academic provincialism and jargon.—Robert Christgau, The New York Times Book Review

What Simon Reynolds and Joy Press are offering us is not a guide to the distaff side of pop music but a startlingly acute reading of rock through the lens of gender… One of the only really important books yet written about popular music culture… What [Reynolds and Press] have achieved with The Sex Revolts is formidable: we may never be able to listen to rock music in the same way again.—Barney Hoskyns, The Observer

The Sex Revolts is a monumental addition to the rock-crit canon.The Village Voice

The language is punchy and erudite throughout. Phrases like ‘invertebrate goo’ resonate. Students of modern mythmaking should consider this required.Cover

An absolute delight… The most stimulating, provocative, enjoyable and intelligent book on rock and its relation to our world since Greil Marcus’s Lipstick Traces.Gay Times

Joy Press and Simon Reynolds display a breadth of knowledge and research that ought to be demanded from Cultural Studies books, a range of examples from the most mainstream to Godflesh and Hugo Largo, with every prominent figure in between… The Sex Revolts is right up there with the best tomes on Rock—Greil Marcus’s Lipstick Traces or Savage’s England Dreaming—and deserves a place on the shelf of anyone who cares passionately about the Rock discourse.—Nick Terry, The Lizard

Possibly the best analytic/critical tome this decade… Charged, challenging, and essential for anyone who still believes pop deserves to be approached with a little intelligence.Melody Maker

Press and Reynolds range freely and effectively outside the narrow definition of rock culture. Their persuasive analysis of rebel misogynies starts with the phenomenon of ‘postwar mom-ism,’ and proceeds via Look Back in Anger, On the Road, Ken Kesey, and Timothy Leary to a clear understanding of how Jimi Hendrix came to ‘remember a city by its chicks’… One of the most impressive things about The Sex Revolts is the way it manages not to lose its moorings…in a sea of erudition… Reynolds and Press have opened up a new frontier of critical dissension and contumely. For that, all those who love rock should salute them.—Ben Thompson, The New Statesman & Society

With The Sex Revolts, music critics and sonic psychoanalysts Simon Reynolds and Joy Press delve deep beneath glib exteriors to forage among rock’s dank sociosexual underpinnings… It is an analysis, not a polemic—but they do articulate the issues with a high degree of lucidity.—Neva Chonin, The San Francisco Bay Guardian

Reynolds and Press’s provocative and insightful The Sex Revolts should be read by everyone concerned with rock culture’s impact. What differentiates this book from previous efforts…is its serious treatment of the central theme—the complex relationships among gender, rebellion, and rock music… It is the confluence of carefully considered text, numerous footnotes, and a broad-ranging bibliography that shape and support the critical analysis. This timely volume adds reasoned understanding to a high profile-issue. It is strongly recommended.Choice

Emerges as the only complete analysis of gender in rock music. The writing is intelligent, evocative, and engaging, rich in thought without becoming ponderous. Even those readers who question the authors’ nervy paradigms will find this an authoritative, comprehensive history of rock. Thorough, unique, and challenging… Highly recommended.Library Journal

Awards & Accolades

  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 1995
The Digital Loeb Classical Library [logo and text on gray background]

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