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Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie Rock Freiburg

The University of Freiburg presents a new collection of over 15,000 recordings from the band „The Rolling Stones"

Freiburg, Mar 27, 2017

Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie Rock Freiburg

Photo: Sandra Meyndt

The Center for Popular Culture and Music (ZPKM) at the University of Freiburg is taking on a unique library of fan paraphernalia: The „Reinhold Karpp Rolling Stones Collection" encompasses records and a CD collection with over 15,000 recordings along with countless books, newspaper clippings, fan mail and merchandise products ranging from baseball caps to toys to watches and telephone cards and even a pinball machine.

The researchers have only just begun their work – it remains to be seen what gems are still lurking in over 100 boxes they have yet to unpack. The family of Reinhold Karpp, who died in 2012, is granting the University of Freiburg permission to house the deposit for the next ten years. It was important to Karrp that the collection remain in tact. „We want to thank the Karpp family for providing the ZPKM with this amazing collection. It shows how our center, which was just founded in 2014, has gained such rapid recognition in such a short time," says Prof. Dr. Gunther Neuhaus, Vice Rector for Research at the University of Freiburg.

Reinhold Karpp lived in Windhagen near Bonn. His intense passion for the Rolling Stones began in the 1960s. Back then he was at an all boys boarding school on the North Sea island of Spiekeroog and the Rolling Stones' music spoke to his urge for freedom and independence like no other. In 1964 he saw the Rolling Stones live for the first time in Blackpool, England. From that moment on he collected everything about the British rock band he could get his hands on. „His main interest was in the band's music with a particular focus on vinyl records," says his daughter Annette Karpp. Her father never wished to meet the Stones personally as he would have found that to be too brash. Before the collection found its way to the ZPKM, it occupied the entire top floor in the family's house in Windhagen. Karpp would often buy collectibles at large record fairs such as the one in Utrecht, Netherlands. Over the course of his lifetime, he would often also take his wife Arleen or his three daughters – Sabine, Annette and Katharina -- to more than 130 concerts he attended.

For the ZPKM the collection shows not only a collector's passion, but also pop culture's differentiation and the various marketing strategies employed in the music industry. „From a cultural history perspective, the collection is extremely valuable, not only because it encompasses recordings, but it also includes the multiple items of pop culture that may, at first, seem quite odd indeed," says Dr. Dr. Michael Fischer, Managing Director of the ZPKM. The „Reinhold Karpp Rolling Stones Collection" points to the importance of mediality and materiality for pop culture research. Music „materializes" in records, CDs or DVDs, but also in the form of fan merchandise, posters or photos. „Along with the music itself, the collection allows us to study social practices such as star and fan culture and the ways in which popular music gets adopted, collected and ordered," says Fischer.

The collection will be made available for research and further study. Mid-term the components will be placed on public display in an exhibit.

About the Center:
The Center for Popular Culture and Music (ZPKM) was founded in 2014, arising from the German folk music archive, which, in its own right, is rich in tradition. The Center encompasses collections from all genres and forms of popular music. Along with the collection „German Folk Music archive", which was founded in 1914, there is the German musical archive and the pop music archive. These collections form the center's basis for research and makes basic research possible, but it also serves another purpose: to document pop music from its early beginnings to the present and preserve its cultural heritage.

Dr. Dr. Michael Fischer
Center for Popular Culture and Music
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/70503-15