The Beatles had landed in the U.S. in early 1964. By the summer, the sixties were in full swing. The summer of 1964 was the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the beginning of the Vietnam War, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the lead-up to a dramatic election. As the country grew more radicalized in those few months, “Dancing in the Street” gained currency as an activist anthem. The song took on new meanings, multiple meanings, for many different groups that were all changing as the country changed.
Told by the writer who is legendary for finding the big story in unlikely places, Ready for a Brand New Beat chronicles that extraordinary summer of 1964 and showcases the momentous role that a simple song about dancing played in history.
About Mark KurlanskySee more books from this Author
Regardless of whether Mr. Kurlansky has exaggerated the importance of one song as “the” anthem for so much history and change, he ends his book with a fascinating look at the song’s legacy.Read Full Review of Ready For a Brand New Beat: H... | See more reviews from NY Times
Historians and music lovers alike will be grateful for Mr. Kurlansky's thorough appreciation of this iconic song. Mr. Kurlansky...argues that "Dancing in the Street" is a rallying song for the social, cultural and political upheaval known as the Sixties.Read Full Review of Ready For a Brand New Beat: H... | See more reviews from WSJ online
Ultimately, Ready for a Brand New Beat offers no definitive answer about whether "Dancing in the Street" was meant to inspire urban insurrection. But it does offer interesting historical tidbits...Read Full Review of Ready For a Brand New Beat: H... | See more reviews from NPR
...an oddly passive construction...to overload this one hit with too much revolutionary significance...blurs cause and effect.Read Full Review of Ready For a Brand New Beat: H... | See more reviews from Kirkus
At times, Mr. Kurlansky uses music-insider terms that may be too much for some readers. However, he does know a good quote when he sees one...Read Full Review of Ready For a Brand New Beat: H... | See more reviews from Washington Times
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