There is a somewhat long piece by Brent L. Smith on Medium, linked here. It starts from a quote from Dylan in that interview he did last year in the AARP magazine, in which he says that payola was a force that caused rock ‘n’ roll in the 50s to split into rock (white) and soul (black) music in the 60s.
Smith covers a lot of ground in support of this idea, including the rise of DJs, doo wop’s role in the cleaving, the historical role of the tavern in the American multiracial democracy (and the elite’s disdain for the tavern and the multiracial democracy), Norman Mailer’s essay about the rise of the white Negro, a nod to Chuck Berry as poet and guitar master, and, of course, Jimi Hendrix. Which leads Smith to some talk about the fourth wave of garage rock he says is going on now, linking to the LA magazine, Janky Smooth, at which he works.
One of the highlights are competing quotes from Frank Sinatra and Dr. Martin Luther King decrying rock ‘n’ roll, which make that music of the 50s sound really dangerous.
Smith’s writing is loose limbed, I couldn’t always figure out where the quotes came from, and some word choices are, um, interesting. Smith is a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, which perhaps literally explains some of that, but the ambition and breadth of his ideas and their connections with each other are nothing if not provocative. You will miss having a genuine soundtrack to listen along to while reading. Here it is.