The Bloomsbury Handbook of Rock Music Research is now in the ‘post proof’ stage, with the publishers getting back with their various tweaks and suggestions. So I have just spent the day responding to 33 authors, who will soon be finalizing their chapters. As we move toward publication, I will be sharing the abstracts of the chapters, so here is the chapter by Sarah Hill
The second essay of the prefatory is by Sarah Hill, who surveys some of the key themes in academic writing about popular music in general and rock music in particular, considering the commonalities and ruptures that have emerged in the past forty years, and the variety of disciplinary approaches that constitute popular music studies. After outlining how the Beatles garnered positive critical attention in the late 1960s, Hill verifies how rock music entered the realm of academic discourse fairly late in its history—with the genre not fully solidifying until the early 1970s, after the first dedicated peer-reviewed journal, Popular Music and Society, was established in 1971. After the formation, ten years later, of both the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and the peer-reviewed journal, Popular Music, popular music studies is regarded as gradually becoming established into a recognizable field of ideas and approaches. Hill discusses how much of the early scholarly writing about popular music concerned not only ‘perimeters’ (what is popular music?), but the very groundwork of the field, with definitions of genres, audiences, styles, histories and cultural interactions emerging. These early publications of the field’s discursive fabric, alongside their inter-disciplinary dialogues and critical reassessments, are regarded as underpinning the academic study of popular music today.