Reading the 1970s in Creem Magazine

Sahagian, Jacqueline, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Gaines, Kevin, History, University of Virginia

This thesis argues that an examination of the Detroit-based rock magazine Creem reveals the changing political views of rock fans and critics during the 1970s. As Creem shifted from a politic informed by the counterculture and the New Left to publishing a substantial amount of sexist and homophobic content, policing the boundaries of masculinity, erasing Black artists, switching from a local to a national orientation, and embracing neoliberal ideologies, the magazine mirrored the ascendance of the New Right occurring in the U.S. more broadly. Creem’s status in public memory as one of the best rock publications of all time and the longtime home to “America’s greatest rock critic” Lester Bangs means the magazine’s politics continue to have consequences for how rock music is conceptualized today.

MA (Master of Arts)
rock criticism, Detroit, Lester Bangs, Creem, conservatism, New Right, New Left

I would like to thank the Birmingham Museum in Birmingham, Michigan for assisting with the research for this essay.

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