An exciting new examination of how African-American blues music was emulated and used by white British musicians in the late 1950s and early 1960s
Beginning in the late 1950s, an influential cadre of young, white, mostly middle-class British men were consuming and appropriating African-American blues music, using blues tropes in their own music and creating a network of admirers and emulators that spanned the Atlantic. This cross-fertilization helped create a commercially successful rock idiom that gave rise to some of the most famous British groups of the era, including The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, and Led Zeppelin. What empowered these white, middle-class British men to identify with and claim aspects of the musical idiom of African-American blues musicians? The British Blues Network examines the role of British narratives of masculinity and power in the postwar era of decolonization and national decline that contributed to the creation of this network, and how its members used the tropes, vocabulary, and mythology of African-American blues traditions to forge their own musical identities.
Andrew Kellett is Associate Professor of History at Harford Community College and Adjunct Instructor at the University of Maryland.
“Andrew Kellett’s definitive study of the 1960s British blues movement highlights the music’s important trans-Atlantic connections and complex history. Carefully researched and engagingly written, The British Blues Network traces the emergence of rock music as we know it today and will appeal to scholars and fans alike.”
—Ulrich Adelt, University of Wyoming