Jack Hamilton


On his book Just around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination

Cover Interview of February 28, 2017

A close-up

There are a lot of parts of this book I’m pretty proud of. The last chapter, on the Rolling Stones in the late 1960s, is the one that I’ve been working on and living with the longest, so it has a special place in my heart. The third chapter has an extended section on the influence of Motown session bass player James Jamerson on the Beatles’ Paul McCartney, which is also a personal favorite. McCartney is obviously one of the most famous musicians of the 20th Century, whereas Jamerson might be the most criminally under-recognized genius in all of American popular music. So it meant a lot to give him a moment in the sun—I’m admittedly biased due to my own background, but I always feel like sidemen and studio musicians don’t get written about nearly enough. And in my first chapter I write about Sam Cooke, who’s my favorite singer of all time and another performer who hasn’t received nearly the amount of critical and scholarly attention that he should, in my opinion (although he’s certainly received more than Jamerson). That part of the book is quite special to me as well.