Electronic book text
November 15, 2022
9781421444994
9781421444987
English
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140172
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$29.95 USD, £22.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Hardback
November 15, 2022
9781421444987
English
416
140172
20
9.25 Inches (US)
6.13 Inches (US)
1.11 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £22.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Rock & Roll in Kennedy's America

A Cultural History of the Early 1960s

A rousing, poignant look at the cultural history of rock & roll during the early 1960s.

In the early 1960s, the nation was on track to fulfill its destiny in what was being called "the American Century." Baby boomers and rock & roll shared the country's optimism and energy. For "one brief, shining moment" in the early 1960s, both President John F. Kennedy and young people across the country were riding high. The dream of a New Frontier would soon give way, however, to a new reality involving assassinations, the Vietnam War, Cold War crises, the civil rights movement, a new feminist movement, and various culture wars.

From the former host of NPR's Rock & Roll America, Richard Aquila's Rock & Roll in Kennedy's America offers an in-depth look at early 1960s rock & roll, as well as an unconventional history of Kennedy's America through the lens of popular music. Based on extensive research and exclusive interviews with Dion, Bo Diddley, Brenda Lee, Martha Reeves, Pete Seeger, Bob Gaudio, Dick Clark, and other legendary figures, the book rejects the myth that Buddy Holly's death in 1959 was "the day the music died." It proves that rock & roll during the early 1960s was vibrant and in tune with the history and events of this colorful era. These interviews and Aquila's research reveal unique insights and new details about politics, gender, race, ethnicity, youth culture, and everyday life. Rock & Roll in Kennedy's America recalls an important chapter in rock & roll and American history.

About the Author

Richard Aquila (Buffalo, NY) is professor emeritus of history and American studies at Penn State University and the former host of NPR's Rock & Roll America. He is the author of The Sagebrush Trail: Western Movies and Twentieth-Century America and Let's Rock! How 1950s America Created Elvis and the Rock & Roll Craze.

Endorsements

"Rock & Roll in Kennedy's America seeks to rectify the long-held belief that rock & roll in the early years of the 1960s has little to tell us about that time period. Aquila presents a recounting of the hits and the bands that made them from 1959 until the Beatles emerged in 1964. He succeeds in outlining the popularity and continuation of rock's appeal to America's young people."

- Kenneth J. Bindas, author of Modernity and the Great Depression: The Transformation of American Society, 1930–1941

"Aquila takes his readers into the shadowy musical period between the Elvis revolution and the British Invasion and brilliantly uses underappreciated musicians—many of whom he interviewed—and music to illustrate the social and cultural history of the Kennedy era. This history rocks—turn it up!"

- Todd M. Kerstetter, Texas Christian University

"Aquila takes his readers into the shadowy musical period between the Elvis revolution and the British Invasion and brilliantly uses underappreciated musicians—many of whom he interviewed—and music to illustrate the social and cultural history of the Kennedy era. This history rocks—turn it up!"

- Todd M. Kerstetter, Texas Christian University

"Renowned popular music scholar Richard Aquila makes it crystal clear in this riveting account that 1959 was not the year the music tragically died, and the British Invasion of 1964 was not the moment it was reborn. Instead, he argues convincingly, 'the early 60s became one of the most important and innovative eras in rock history.' Drawing on interviews with many of the musical legends of that era he tells a story of a thriving music scene with much to teach us about the history of Cold War culture, civil rights, and feminism."

- David Wrobel, University of Oklahoma

"Renowned popular music scholar Richard Aquila makes it crystal clear in this riveting account that 1959 was not the year the music tragically died, and the British invasion of 1964 was not the moment it was reborn. Instead, he argues convincingly, 'the early 60s was one of the most important and innovative eras in rock & roll history.' Drawing on interviews with many of the musical legends of that era he tells a story of a thriving music scene with much to teach us about the history of Cold War culture, civil rights, and feminism."

- David Wrobel, Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences

"Historian Richard Aquila has another top-ten hit headed for bookstores with his latest tome. The JFK era was one of forward-looking optimism by way of the space program, struggles as exemplified by growing public awareness of poverty and the civil rights movement, and wrenching tragedy when the young president was gunned down in Dallas. Aquila illustrates how the music of the early '60s inspired, consoled, and encouraged Baby Boomer teenagers as they moved through what would be a whirlpool of a decade."

- Stan Sollars, Department of Media, Ball State University; 'Morning Edition' Host, Indiana Public Radio

"Well-written and a pleasure to read. Rock & Roll in Kennedy's America helps define the contours of rock & roll music, which were ever-changing and influenced significantly by artists in rhythm and blues, soul, country music, mainstream pop, and many other genres. Aquila captures the variety and vitality of the music and provides excellent vignettes about the personalities and activities of the era. The oral histories he conducted with many figures from the era are especially vivid and welcome."

- Burton Peretti, author of Lift Every Voice: The History of African American Music
Johns Hopkins University Press
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Electronic book text
November 15, 2022
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