Author(s): John Scanlan
Easy Riders, Rolling Stones delves into the history of twentieth-century American popular music to explore the emergence of 'road music'. This music - blues, R'n'B and rock - took shape at pivotal moments in this history, and was made by artists and performers who were, in various ways, seekers after freedom. Whether journeying across the country, breaking free from real or imaginary confines, or in the throes of self-invention, these artists incorporated their experiences into scores of songs about travel and movement, as well as creating a new kind of road culture. Starting in the Mississippi Delta and tracking the emblematic routes and highways of road music, John Scanlan's fascinating new account explores the music and the life of movement it so often represented, identifying 'the road' as the key to an existence that was uncompromising. Scanlan explores how the image became an inspiration for musicians like Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan, and how these musicians also drew stimulus from a Beat movement that was equally enthralled with the possibilities of travel.The author goes on to relate how the quintessential American concepts of freedom and travel influenced English bands such as the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.
These bands may have been foreigners in the us, but they also found their spiritual home there - of blues and rock'n'roll - and glimpsed the possibility of a new kind of existence, on the road.Easy Riders, Rolling Stones is an entertaining, rich account of a key strand of American music history, and will appeal to both road music fans and music scholars who want to 'head out on the highway'.
John Scanlan is a writer and lecturer who has written widely on culture. He has previously worked at the Universities of Glasgow, St Andrews and Bristol and is the author or editor of four books, including, most recently, Memory: Encounters with the Strange and the Familiar (Reaktion, 2013).