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How Rock and Roll Became White

This article is adapted from Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination. In January of 1973—the same month that the Rolling Stones were banned from touring Japan due to prior drug convictions, the same month that a band called Kiss played its first gig in Queens, and the same month that a young New Jerseyan named Bruce Springsteen released his debut album on Columbia Records—Harper’s magazine published an essay by future Pulitzer Prize winner Margo Jefferson titled “Ripping Off Black Music.
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