Book Pages: 136 Illustrations: 1 illustration Published: September 2021

Author: Joshua Clover

American Studies, Cultural Studies, Music > Popular Music

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lover' 1972 song “Roadrunner” captures the freedom and wonder of cruising down the highway late at night with the radio on. Although the song circles Boston's beltway, its significance reaches far beyond Richman's deceptively simple declarations of love for modern moonlight, the made world, and rock & roll. In Roadrunner, cultural theorist and poet Joshua Clover charts both the song's emotional power and its elaborate history, tracing its place in popular music from Chuck Berry to M.I.A. He also locates “Roadrunner” at the intersection of car culture, industrialization, consumption, mobility, and politics. Like the song itself, Clover tells a story about a particular time and a place—the American era that rock & roll signifies—that becomes a story about love and the modern world.


Roadrunner is a wonderful book: unique, passionate, sardonic, and as intellectually playful as it is rigorous. It is thrilling to be in the presence of a writer realizing all of his gifts—and yet he, and the reader, never lose sight of the song or cease to hear it. In that sense, Joshua Clover has not only realized himself as a writer, he has realized the song.” — Greil Marcus, author of The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs

Roadrunner is incisive, poetic, and full of life, a beautifully circuitous meditation that mirrors how obsessive music fandom feels. Joshua Clover is in his finest critical form here.” — Jessica Hopper, author of The First Collection of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic


Availability: Not in Stock
Price: $19.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Joshua Clover is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis and author of Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings, 1989: Bob Dylan Didn't Have This To Sing About, and other books.

Table of Contents Back to Top
1. Rock & Roll Radio, 1980  1
2. Faster Miles an Hour,  1972  7
3. The Highway Sound, 1955  29
4. The Main Streets and the Cinema Aisles, 1997  61
5. World Runner, 2007  81
6. In Love with the Modern World, 1972  103
Acknowledgments  119
Notes  121
Bibliography  123
Index  125
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1439-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1347-1