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Johnny Rebel and the Cajun Roots of Right-Wing Rock

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Abstract:

This work examines the linkage between the racist songs of 1960s-era singer Johnny Rebel and the more violently racist music in the 1970s and after. The research included locating and interviewing the elusive Johnny Rebel, securing copies of his lyrics, establishing context with other primary sources and secondary sources, and analyzing the similarities and differences in the messages of the two eras. The article concludes that Rebel's example influenced British racist musicians, notably the punk rock band Skrewdriver, which inspired other right-wing musicians. In both instances, hate music proves to be a useful barometer of the social pathologies engendered by rapid social change. Right-wing rock bears close watching for two reasons. First there is the undeniable power of its lyrics when they are combined with the music in politicized social settings. Finally, unresolved, deeply troubling contemporary issues facing Europeans and, especially, Americans suggest that hate music may increase its presence in the short term.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007760701546364

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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