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Fever How Rock 'n' Roll Transformed Gender in America

Tim Riley

Picador

0312424957

9780312424954

Trade Paperback

256 Pages

$17.00

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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.

REVIEWS

Praise for Fever

"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

"Riley's method succeeds in making familiar material seem fresh . . . He offers many new, thought-provoking interpretations of songs, and his powers of description are potent."—Ken Tucker, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"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 Tim 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

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Tim Riley is the author of Tell Me Why and Hard Rain. His commentary on pop culture has appeared in The Washington Post, Boston magazine, The Boston Phoenix, Salon, and Feed. He is currently the pop critic for NPR’s Here and Now. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Tim Riley

  • Tim Riley is the author of Tell Me Why: A Beatles Commentary, Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary, and Madonna: Illustrated. His commentary on pop culture has appeared in The Washington Post, Boston magazine, The Boston Phoenix, and Feed. He is currently the pop critic for NPR's Here and Now. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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