The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death is coming up on April 4. In the District, four days of civil unrest, riot, and rebellion followed.
In George Pelecanos‘ D.C.-centric crime novels, the city is a character; so is the music. He has a playlist for every story and character in his book Hard Revolution, which is set in D.C.’s post-segregation years through King’s death and the public reaction to it.
Pelecanos offers a sound for that period. City Paper put together the Hard Revolution playlist—from the page to the track—on SoundCloud. This is what Pelecanos has to say about his book’s sound:
“Placing music in my books seems very natural to me, in that it is coming from kitchens, car radios, and jukeboxes in bars. It’s where my characters live. They talk about music and argue about it. It is central to their lives. Listening to period music while I wrote Hard Revolution helped me define the characters, pace the scenes, and also place the story in its time. There was a bonus in the process for me. While researching the book, I became acquainted with a network of Deep Soul obsessives from around the country, who sent me obscure tracks and turned me on to the Below-the-Mason-Dixon-Line R&B of the 60s which I seek out to this day.”
Click play right here:
Born in D.C., Pelecanos brings insider creds to his books. He’s currently co-writer and co-producer with David Simon (The Wire) for The Deuce on HBO. The Deuce is set in New York’s Time Square in the 1970s when the modern day pornography industry takes off. Music plays a part in that story, too.
This music will play at Riot, Rebellion, Resurrection: 1968, at an open event about the 50th anniversary of the unrest in D.C. following King’s death. Michon Boston and those who experienced that time in D.C. will tell their stories on April 5 at 7 p.m. at The LINE Hotel. RSVP here.