All Hopped Up and Ready to Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77

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Overview

A penetrating and entertaining exploration of New York’s music scene from Cubop through folk, punk, and hip-hop.
From Tony Fletcher, the acclaimed biographer of Keith Moon, comes an incisive history of New York’s seminal music scenes and their vast contributions to our culture. Fletcher paints a vibrant picture of mid-twentieth-century New York and the ways in which its indigenous art, theater, literature, and political movements converged to ...

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All Hopped Up and Ready to Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77

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Overview

A penetrating and entertaining exploration of New York’s music scene from Cubop through folk, punk, and hip-hop.
From Tony Fletcher, the acclaimed biographer of Keith Moon, comes an incisive history of New York’s seminal music scenes and their vast contributions to our culture. Fletcher paints a vibrant picture of mid-twentieth-century New York and the ways in which its indigenous art, theater, literature, and political movements converged to create such unique music.
With great attention to the colorful characters behind the sounds, from trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie to Tito Puente, Bob Dylan, and the Ramones, he takes us through bebop, the Latin music scene, the folk revival, glitter music, disco, punk, and hip-hop as they emerged from the neighborhood streets of Harlem, the East and West Village, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. All the while, Fletcher goes well beyond the history of the music to explain just what it was about these distinctive New York sounds that took the entire nation by storm.

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Editorial Reviews

Mike Stoller
“In All Hopped Up and Ready To Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77, Tony Fletcher has demonstrated extraordinary depth in his research and vibrancy in his writing. Not only was I fascinated by his stories of times and styles about which I knew little, but, in those areas in which I knew a lot, he has connected all the dots for me…oh, yeah, and it’s a damned good read.”
Booklist
“Fletcher’s commentary melds very different cultures to shows interrelationships and how new genres built upon the foundations of predecessors... Anyone interested in popular music and the rich cultural heritage of New York—indeed, of all of the U.S.—should read this book.”
Chronogram
“Like Alastair Cooke’s America, All Hopped Up is an unapologetically opinionated overview of zeitgeists that sparked their own theme music.... An indispensable reference book for college students and a survival guide for modern musicians.”
The New York Times Book Review
“Fletcher tells the story well.... His gift is enthusiasm.”
Publishers Weekly
From the Brill Building to CBGB, from Washington Square Park to the Apollo Theater, New York has been the birthplace and center of an astonishing variety of musical trends. In his richly detailed study of 50 years of the city's most important music history, music journalist Fletcher vividly recreates the birth and evolution of jazz, folk, pop, punk and hip-hop as the strains of these musical styles emerged from the urban cacophony of New York. Drawing on interviews and archives of well-known stories, Fletcher nimbly explores the ways that various musical styles benefit from and grow out of their contact with their surrounding cultures. For example, the music scene of the Lower East Side was a direct product of the area's thriving movements in poetry, filmmaking, avant-garde music and experimental theater. Fletcher chronicles the beginnings of the folk movement in the sing-alongs in Washington Square Park and the opening of the Folklore Center on MacDougal Street in 1957, where musicians could hold hootenannies. Fletcher observes the folk scene on the wane as John Sebastian leaves Jim Kweskin's Jug Band and teams with Canadian Zal Yanovsky, formerly of the Mugwumps (which became the Mamas and the Papas), to form the rock band the Lovin' Spoonful, and provides one of the best brief histories of CBGB. Fletcher's terrific music history captures the teeming life of New York's thriving music scene. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Fletcher (Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend), who has worked in the music industry as a producer, consultant, and DJ, here examines styles that were developed and evolved on the streets of New York City from 1927 to 1977, covering jazz, blues, Brill Building pop, doo-wop, folk, punk rock, hip-hop, and disco. Fletcher provides compelling and convincing evidence on why New York and its unique cultural mix were essential to all of these scenes. He studies in detail how music that developed on the streets became important commercial genres and examines the intersections of all the styles over the 50-year period he discusses. VERDICT This thoroughly researched, engaging, and perceptive book is aimed at all readers and doesn't duplicate anything that's already out there. Anyone with any interest in popular music in New York City will want to read it.—James E. Perone, Mount Union Coll., Alliance, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Exhaustive historiography of New York City's role in shaping 20th-century American popular music. Music journalist Fletcher (The Clash: The Complete Guide to Their Music, 2005, etc.) offers a reasonably substantive 50-year survey of New York's lasting contributions, encapsulating everything from Afro-Cuban jazz, to the early 1960s Washington Square grassroots folk-music scene, to the oddly intertwined arenas of punk rock, disco and hip-hop. The author, a British expat and longtime New Yorker, exudes a sentimental Ken Burnsian reverence for not only New York's contributions to music history but also for its social and cultural history. Using previously picked-over musical subjects, Fletcher ably recycles and reorganizes this information in a well-engineered synthesis. Don't expect many theoretical conclusions, however. The author is more effective at reconstructing the note-by-note rise of musical movements and the often chaotic NYC neighborhoods that spawned them. There's plenty of relevant but overcirculated oral history on the Harlem Renaissance, the Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker bebop era, the early-'60s girl-group/Brill Building years, the Bob Dylan/Woody Guthrie folk connection and the original CBGB scene. Fletcher does fill in a few crucial historical blanks, especially regarding the development of the early-'70s Manhattan dance-club scene. He gives an intimate portrait of some all-but-forgotten impresarios whose late-'60s/early-'70s dance-oriented loft parties later exploded into Studio 54 disco-era excess and exclusivity. Fletcher also digs into Manhattan's undervalued pre-disco gay dance-club scene, which effectively initiated the DJ and turntable artistry that would influencethe Bronx-bred musical revolution known as hip-hop. Often short on revelation and analysis, but an informative historical record of NYC's half-century of unparalleled musical achievements. Agent: David Vigliano/Vigliano Associates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393334838
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/26/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,018,731
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Fletcher is the author of three music biographies and a novel. He founded the music magazine Jamming! and has contributed to Newsday, Spin, and Rolling Stone, among many other publications. He lives in Mt. Tremper, New York.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    To quote the long forgotten but still great Broadcasters from Nyack: THE WALLS OF THE CITY ARE GONNA SHAKE!...

    ...and as Tony Fletcher vividly illustrated in ALL HOPPED UP AND READY TO GO, they certainly did shake...from jazz to mambo to r and b to rock n roll to girl groups to punk to disco!!!

    As a amateur musicologist, music fan, lover of all these genres and NYC lore, ALL HOPPED AND READY TO GO is a book I was heavily anticipating from when word spread of its impending release. Suffice to say, I wasn't disappointed and actually quite enlightened about the impact such genres as mambo had on the music culture here. Indeed I concur with a lot of other people who dig this book, in that Tony draws a easily follow-able line that runs through and connects the many movements that made up music culture in New York City over the specified 50 year period. It's history...it's anthropology...it's sociology...it's nostalgia...all wrapped up in a subject we all have a love for in a city we all have a love for.

    AHU+RTG is in my opinion, also a fine companion piece to Charlie Gillett's SOUND OF THE CITY and Simon Reynolds' RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN. The former, released in the early 70's, was one of the first to examine the impact of pop music in all its forms on the urban populus. The latter basically takes up where ALL HOPPED OFF leaves off...taking the disco, hip hop and punk movement into post-punk.

    There is also a quality to the energy, depth and enthusiasm in the narration that might only come from an immigrant who decided to become a part of his own scene in his adopted city (which is the author's currently untold story). As Suicide's Alan Vega said regarding the inspiration of NYC on his band's music "It made a great playground for us" The wonder in the story Tony Fletcher conveys from that inspiration is palpable throughout the book.

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    Posted March 29, 2011

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