Fever by Tim Riley
How Rock 'n' Roll Transformed Gender in America

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Synopsis

Tim Riley is the author of Tell Me Why: A Beatles Commentary, Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary, and Madonna: Illustrated. His writing on pop culture has appeared in The Washington Post, Boston magazine, The Boston Phoenix, and the on-line journals Salon.com and Feed.com. He is currently the pop critic for NPR’s midday news-magazine, Here and Now.
From the moment Elvis Presley started swinging his hips, social critics targeted rock ‘n’ roll as a broad threat to American morals. Parents worried that Presley’s style was a corrupting influence that would drive their children away from the wholesome ideals of ‘the greatest generation.’

In Fever: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Transformed Gender in America, renowned music critic Tim Riley turns that line of thinking on its head. Riley argues that instead of being a negative influence, rock ‘n’ roll provided new role models for an entire generation of Americans—liberating men from rigid, macho straitjackets and encouraging women to express the full range of their desires.

Beginning with Elvis’s break from the John Wayne mold, Riley traces the development of men and women who challenged the status quo while articulating a new code of behavior. Rock’s code, Riley argues, allows men to explore their feelings more openly, while freeing women to let loose their lusty and aggressive impulses. Provocative and illuminating, Fever shows how rock stars from Tina Turner to Mick Jagger—and Lesley Gore to Bruce Springsteen—have taught men and women new ways to think about themselves, and about each other.
“A fascinating look at the ways rock has shaped how we think about sexual identity in America. Riley presents serious academic points within a rock-critic analysis of icons that even a layperson would appreciate. Whether he’s dissecting ‘Tears of a Clown’ or calling Michael Jackson a ‘product of pop gone crazy,‘ Riley is always witty, acerbic, and smart.”—Charles R. Cross, author of Heavier Than Heaven
“In his new book, Fever, Tim Riley goes beyond his unique fusion of technical music knowledge and stunningly perceptive emotional exegisis of lyrics to a wider-angle social vision... Riley is at his very best.”—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Fever combines brainy and audacious cultural analysis with genuine musical understanding—a combination rare enough to inspire exhilaration.”—Tim Page, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Time Page on Music

“A fascinating look at the ways rock has shaped how we think about sexual identity in America. Riley presents serious academic points within a rock-critic analysis of icons that even a layperson would appreciate. Whether he’s dissecting ‘Tears of a Clown’ or calling Michael Jackson a ‘product of pop gone crazy,‘ Riley is always witty, acerbic, and smart.”—Charles R. Cross, author of Heavier Than Heaven

 

About Tim Riley

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Tim Riley is currently the pop critic for NPR's midday news-magazine, Here and Now.
 
Published June 1, 2004 by St. Martin's Press. 256 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Fever

Publishers Weekly

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Whether or not rock and roll played the largely positive role in changing ideas about gender remains questionable, for many listeners—and many women in rock, such as Grace Slick—would contend that men's view of women has not changed much since John Wayne.

| Read Full Review of Fever: How Rock 'n' Roll Tran...

City Book Review

Readers will be reading ’till they catch a fever reading Catching The Fever!

Aug 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Fever: How Rock 'n' Roll Tran...

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