Freakbeat : a discussion of a retrospective pre-rock history

Licourinos, Simon (2022) Freakbeat : a discussion of a retrospective pre-rock history. (MPhil thesis), Kingston University, .


The term Freakbeat, used in music journalism in the eighties, is still current today. The Cherryred title, The Psychedelic Snarl (1984) implies that Freakbeat may be a precursor to Psychedelia. The aim of this research is to gain a greater awareness of the pre-rock history of Freakbeat and to discuss the recordings, the people and the context. Hopefully, the body of research will help to establish Freakbeat by understanding its development and derivation of popular music styles. This thesis will argue that Freakbeat is recognized as a valuable part of rock history, through being interstitial, sitting between British beat and psychedelia. These terms are a priori in musicological and established ‘spaces’ (Fabbri, 1999, pp.1-13). However, Freakbeat, or 'the birth of psychedelia', is not recognised as being British Beat or Psychedelia, Smee identifies Freakbeat as “freak’, as in ‘touched by the hand of mayhem’, and ‘beat’, that British style flourishing between the Mersey years and the advent of the underground” (Smee, 2001). Therefore, the thesis addresses the following question: Can Freakbeat stabilise as a history either as a genre or a style? The conclusions drawn regarding Freakbeat will reveal whether it can be recognized more widely and whether it matters. The thesis may conclude that Freakbeat progressively has impacted on rock idioms.

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