The artists who navigated the intersection of music and politics
Author Denise Sullivan explores the bond between music and social change and traces the evolution of protest music over the past five decades. The marriage of music and social change didn't originate with the civil rights and black power movements of the 1950s and 1960s, but never before had the relationship between the two been so dynamic. Black music altered the road to liberation for minorities, sparking creativity and resulting in a genre-encompassing poetry, jazz, folk, and rock along with a new brand of prideful and political soul and funk. Through extensive research and exclusive interviews with musician-activists such as Yoko Ono, Richie Havens, Janis Ian, and Buffy Sainte-Marie, this chronicle details the struggle that went into the creation of liberation music. A bittersweet narrative covering more than 50 years of fighting oppression through song, Keep On Pushing defines the soundtrack to revolution and the price paid to create it.
"A pleasing survey of soul music, from Lead Belly to Johnny Otis to Michael Franti to Louis Farrakhan . . . Sullivan offers a welcome exploration of how African-American popular music became America’s vernacular." —Kirkus Reviews
"Sullivan . . . combines impressive research and wide-ranging interviews in a multilayered narrative about the power of music within black liberation, civil rights, antiwar, and gender-related movements . . . This is for anyone interested in a thorough analysis of music as a commanding force in change as well as a continually evolving artistic presence." —Library Journal
"Reaching as well into the areas of punk rock, reggae, and finally hip-hop, Keep On Pushing admirably points out numerous key developments and connections throughout a vital, revolutionary element of popular music." —Under the Radar
“Denise Sullivan . . . makes political history come alive by framing it through a series of seminal musical moments. Whether she’s detailing how Nina Simone wrote ‘Mississippi Goddam’ in response to a bombing, or when she’s outlining how the Blank Panthers rewrote ‘Louie Louie’ with their own lyrics, her sweeping narrative adds much to the discourse on this overlooked part of music history.” —Charles R. Cross, author of Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix
“[A] terrific book. . .[Denise Sullivan's] assertions on progressive aspects of hip-hop are fundamental for anyone pursuing that cause in any form of text.” — Chris Estey, KEXP.org
"Great book [. . .] Go get it.” —ChuckD, @MrChuckD