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Creating and Consuming the American South$
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Martyn Bone, Brian Ward, and William A. Link

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060699

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060699.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 02 July 2020

The Feeling of a Heartless World

The Feeling of a Heartless World

Blues Rhythm, Oppositionality, and British Rock Music

Chapter:
(p.268) 12 The Feeling of a Heartless World
Source:
Creating and Consuming the American South
Author(s):

Andrew Warnes

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813060699.003.0012

The Blues are among the most potent and successful of all southern cultural “products.” UK rock music is one of countless international phenomena that has often defined itself in terms of its debt to this “southern” art form. In fact, by 1976 at least, some UK musicians had come to find this debt so overwhelming that they sought to reject what they saw as the overfamiliar clichés of the blues and to seek inspiration elsewhere. In this chapter Warnes suggests that, perhaps because it was so premeditated, a battle more over cultural territory than musical form, this rejection of southern blues influences in turn implanted within UK punk and postpunk a peculiar ambivalence: even as its leading artists shun blues echoes these echoes remain, and not least through the persistence of a culture-of-survival in which song lyrics gesture towards rhythm and salute it as a redemptive defense against pain. Warnes demonstrates this via a close reading of the postpunk band Wire's single “Heartbeat.”

Keywords:   Blues, Punk, Survival, Race, Epistemology, Rhythm

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