CfA: Special Issue on the Rolling Stones (Rock Music Studies)

Rock Music Studies
“Special Issue on the Rolling Stones”
Guest-editor: Neil Nehring
Deadline: September 30, 2014
Publication: February 2016

Rock Music Studies is a new popular music journal launched by Taylor & Francis in 2014, under the co-editorship of Gary Burns and Thomas Kitts. Contributions are invited to a special issue of the journal on the venerable Rolling Stones, to be published in February 2016.

With the Stones recently celebrating the 50^th anniversary of their first appearance as recording artists, the possible topics are nearly endless, of course. After 50 years all sorts of historical phases stand out: “The Golden Era” (or “Mick Taylor Years”) from 1969 to 1974, including the legendary tours of the United States in 1969 and 1972; the wild /Clockwork Orange/ phase circa 1964, instigated by manager and producer Andrew Loog Oldham, and/or the centrality of the Stones in Swinging London through 1966; the “lost” European tour of 1970, on which the Stones were arguably at the peak of their powers and dubious reputation among the New Left as political radicals; and the response to punk represented by the /Some Girls/ album and tour in 1978. Subsequent periods are fine, too; personally I agree with the music critic Bill Wyman that the Stones might well have bitten the dust long ago if not for the lingering cachet of the 1981 hit “Start Me Up” (written several years before) over the hiatus in the mid-’80s as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards feuded, and after, culminating in its use in the rollout of Windows 95 in 1995.

Some of the many possibilities:

  • The dynamics of the Jagger/Richards songwriting process
  • The Stones in legal trouble over drugs, taxes, Altamont, etc.
  • The retrospective significance of Altamont nearly a half-century after the event
  • Stones benefits such as the concert for Nicaragua in 1973, and the Toronto concert for the blind in 1977 that kept Richards out of prison
  • Women who figured in the Stones’ lives such as Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, and L’Wren Scott, and/or the treatment of women in songs, and any other considerations involving gender and sexuality such as Jagger’s widely reported but personally unacknowledged bisexuality
  • Racial issues including musical influences, subject matter in songs, and musical collaborations, and/or Jagger-as-minstrel (as more than one critic has described him)
  • Stones sidemen—Taylor, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Bill Wyman, Ian Stewart, Nicky Hopkins, and Bobby Keys, but also isolated instances such as Ry Cooder (and the still murky issue of whether Richards plagiarized his work), Al Kooper, and Gram Parsons
  • Stones films—any or all from Godard’s /Sympathy for the Devil/, /Ned Kelly/, /Performance/, and the Maysles’ /Gimme Shelter/ to Scorsese’s /Shine a Light/; or the appearance of the Stones’ music in films (e.g., Scorsese’s /Goodfellas/)
  • Stones literature—the best and/or worst of biographies and criticism
  • How Allen Klein (or Abkco) came to own the entirety of the Stones’ work from the ‘60s, and/or the apparent reconciliation with his heirs indicated by recent Stones re-issues
  • The merits and demerits of Richards’s /Life/ and/or Bill Wyman’s /Rolling with the Stones/
  • Jagger’s knighthood, including the public battle with Richards over accepting it
  • The Stones at 70—septuagenarians endlessly touring, opening up the vaults at their official website, etc.

Abstracts of approximately 250 words should be submitted by September 30, 2014.

Authors whose topics are selected for inclusion should plan to submit completed manuscripts of 4,000 to 10,000 words by March 31, 2015.

Please send abstracts, as well as any inquiries, to neilnehring@sbcglobal.net. Include your professional affiliation, a postal address, and preferred e-mail contact with your proposal.

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