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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU's Tim Anderson Granted Access to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Archives

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Old Dominion University popular music scholar Tim Anderson has been awarded an opportunity to access the archives of the Center of Popular Music Research Fellowship, which is affiliated with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Anderson, associate professor of communication and theatre arts at Old Dominion, has been granted a week of access, along with a $2,000 research fellowship, to the exclusive Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives, which is at Case Western Reserve University.

The research, which Anderson will conduct in August, is part of his larger project, "Playing Records," which deals with records in the public sphere.

Specifically, Anderson's research at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives seeks insight into the role that gay-oriented dance music played in keeping alive a post-disco culture in the 1980s and early '90s. Anderson will look closely at the Sire Records Collection, which features information about dance music by influential American acts like Ministry and Tom Tom Club, as well as European performers Depeche Mode, The Cure, Laid Back and Bronski Beat.

That collection, Anderson believes, offers unique insight into how the label used its close affiliation with dance-oriented acts on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to infuse dance beats with counter-cultural themes to give voice to issues like the AIDS crisis.

"These dance records served as a means to assemble and connect at-risk populations, a fact best evidenced by Madonna's 1989 release "Like a Prayer," where initial pressings of the album, CD and cassette not only had a "patchouli-like scent," but included an insert with guidelines for safe sex," Anderson said.

In addition to the Sire Records Collection, Anderson will have access to the Rolling Stone Collection and collections donated by industry executives Jane Scott, Jeff Gold and Mo Ostin.

The Library and Archives is the most comprehensive repository of materials relating to the history of rock and roll. Its mission is to collect, preserve and provide access to these resources for scholars, educators, students, journalists and the general public to broaden awareness and understanding of rock and roll, its roots and its impact on society.

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