The birth of rock 'n roll ignited a firestorm of controversyone critic called it "musical riots put to a switchblade beat"but if it generated much sound and fury, what, if anything, did it signify?
As Glenn Altschuler reveals in All Shook Up, the rise of rock 'n rolland the outraged reception to itin fact can tell us a lot about the values of the United States in the 1950s, a decade that saw a great struggle for the control of popular culture. Altschuler shows, in particular, how rock's "switchblade beat" opened up wide fissures in American society along the fault-lines of family, sexuality, and race. For instance, the birth of rock coincided with the Civil Rights movement and brought "race music" into many white homes for the first time. Elvis freely credited blacks with originating the music he sang and some of the great early rockers were African American, most notably, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. In addition, rock celebrated romance and sex, rattled the reticent by pushing sexuality into the public arena, and mocked deferred gratification and the obsession with work of men in gray flannel suits. And it delighted in the separate world of the teenager and deepened the divide between the generations, helping teenagers differentiate themselves from others. Altschuler includes vivid biographical sketches of the great rock 'n rollers, including Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Hollyplus their white-bread doppelgangers such as Pat Boone.
Rock 'n roll seemed to be everywhere during the decade, exhilarating, influential, and an outrage to those Americans intent on wishing away all forms of dissent and conflict. As vibrant as the music itself, All Shook Up reveals how rock 'n roll challenged and changed American culture and laid the foundation for the social upheaval of the sixties.
About the Author
Glenn Altschuler is Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies and Dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Cornell University. He is the author of several books on American history and popular culture, including Changing Channels: America in TV Guide.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Altschuler is at his best when writing about the sociolgy of how Rock'n'Roll impacted the wider cuture of the time; be it as a lighting rod for adults disconcerted by galloping social change, a tool for adolescents making an identity statement, or a bone of contention between rival commercial syndicates. What Altschuler is less than good at is writing about the music itself. At that point your attention is going to wander, though Altschuler does have some interesting remarks to make about the limits of Rock'n'Roll as an instrument of integration. It also would have been helpful if he had spent more time earlier in the book discussing the social stresses of the time from the perspective of the critics; particularly the period obsession with juvenile delinquency that flavored so much of the social opposition to the new music (instead of about half way through the text).
It is not a txt version and u cant ctrl+F to find the txt u need!!! I would not but this is I cant easily find the txt I need