Ready for a Brand New Beat: How Dancing in the Street Became the Anthem for a Changing America (2020)

Ready for a Brand New Beat: How Dancing in the Street Became the Anthem for a Changing America Mark Kurlansky Ready for a Brand New Beat How Dancing in the Street Became the Anthem for a Changing America Can a song change a nation In Marvin Gaye record producer William Mickey Stevenson and Motown songwriter Ivy Jo Hunter wrote Dancing in the Street The song was recorded at Motown s Hitsville U
  • Title: Ready for a Brand New Beat: How Dancing in the Street Became the Anthem for a Changing America
  • Author: Mark Kurlansky
  • ISBN: 9781594487224
  • Page: 130
  • Format: Hardcover
Ready for a Brand New Beat: How Dancing in the Street Became the Anthem for a Changing America Mark Kurlansky Can a song change a nation In 1964, Marvin Gaye, record producer William Mickey Stevenson, and Motown songwriter Ivy Jo Hunter wrote Dancing in the Street The song was recorded at Motown s Hitsville USA Studio by Martha and the Vandellas, with lead singer Martha Reeves arranging her own vocals Released on July 31, the song was supposed to be an upbeat dance recordinCan a song change a nation In 1964, Marvin Gaye, record producer William Mickey Stevenson, and Motown songwriter Ivy Jo Hunter wrote Dancing in the Street The song was recorded at Motown s Hitsville USA Studio by Martha and the Vandellas, with lead singer Martha Reeves arranging her own vocals Released on July 31, the song was supposed to be an upbeat dance recording a precursor to disco, and a song about the joyousness of dance But events overtook it, and the song became one of the icons of American pop culture.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 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.
Ready for a Brand New Beat: How Dancing in the Street Became the Anthem for a Changing America Mark Kurlansky

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    Published :2020-05-27T15:17:19+00:00

One thought on “Ready for a Brand New Beat: How Dancing in the Street Became the Anthem for a Changing America

  1. Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    On the way to answering the question of how Dancing in the Street became an anthem for a changing America, Mark Kurlansky explains how the song came to be recorded, goes into the history of Motown music and producer Berry Gordy, and races across the civil rights era of the Sixties.I have to confess, I didn t know that Dancing in the Street was any kind of anthem I ve heard it these past forty years and thought no about it than that it s a song that almost requires you to dance to it But it turn [...]

  2. Elizabeth Theiss

    As a soixante huitard who spent several years showing up for protests and attending Black Panther rallies, Kurlansky s latest book was a trip down memory lane The music of the era inspired, energized and motivated us We loved Motown, not because it was political in an overt way like Dylan or Baez, but because the music was shared with our African American brothers and sisters It brought us together in a shared experience of joy, grooving to the beat, singing out the choruses, making the older ge [...]

  3. victoria.p

    Interesting pop history of the song Dancing in the Street, with an overview of race relations, the history of Motown, and Detroit thrown in Could probably have been tightened up into an excellent long form piece of music journalism, but was a little baggy as a book Still, some fascinating stuff in it.

  4. Jbondandrews

    I really enjoyed reading Ready For A Brand New Beat How Dancing In The Street Became The Anthem For A Changing America, I never knew the prominence the song had gained or how many other artists recorded it I always knew that Martha Reeves and the Vandellas would be the best ones.

  5. Jenn "JR"

    Mark Kurlansky has a writing style that I really enjoy he s once again presented a social political history as a single item social history This book is ostensibly about a song but it truly describes a shift that happened in the US in the mid 60s that resulted in than a decade of radical protest and upheaval The song happened to be catchy, in the right place at the right time and easily borrowed to other interpretations because of enigmatic lyrics which happen to be a result historical African [...]

  6. John Hubbard

    Like Kurlansky s other books I have read, this is a thoroughly enjoyable slice of history I find it a little weaker for two primary reasons Other than in Chapter 3, he brings little to the table that is not fairly well known to an audience that has a basic knowledge of Motown, Gordy and pop music development Similarly with MLK and SNCC Secondly, the last chapter is very personable but not very engaging He reminisces about Dancing in the Street without demonstrating a real connection Still, a sol [...]

  7. Evie

    I will give it 3.5 stars The first half is a bit long about the history of rock and Roll and RB though,interesting The second half is devoted to how this song was used in the 1960s during civil rights protests, a bit about the start of Motown and Berry Gordy Kurlansky also writes about how many other musicians sang recorded this song over the years but none better than Martha Reeves and the Vandals.

  8. Eve

    Received this as an ARC through and Riverhead Penguin books thanks for that.I wish that I had liked this book I have read quite a bit on the history of rock, so much of the ground the Kurlansky covers, about the black white divide in music the separate charts and radio stations etc was quite familiar to me Although I didn t know about Motown in as much detail as Kurlansky presents, I can t say that I found a lot of what he added that valuable and interesting The piece at the beginning of the bo [...]

  9. Kate

    Very interesting and informative, especially as I grew up in the era of RB and remember this song and most of the music referred to very well However, I found the book illuminating as well because my experience as a white middle class female from the suburbs of Philly gave me such a biased view of the song and its effect on society I really was not aware of the greater impact the song had for the black community.One of the major points of the book is the use of the 1964 song, Dancing in the Stre [...]

  10. Lyle Appleyard

    I received an advanced reades copy of this book through a Giveaway contest.There are not too many songs that whole book can be written about I did not think that Dancing in the street by Martha Reeves and Vandellas could be one of them I was wrong You tie this song with the civil rights movement and you have a big story.The author did a good job in his homework His research on the civil rights movement was very good That subject has produced many books alone His research on the history of Motown [...]

  11. Jean Perry

    I thought this was a brilliant idea and written brilliantly I would love to hear the story of what generated the concept What made him think of using one of the 1960 s R n B songs to take the reader through the history of Motown and the Civil Rights Movement As the title indicates, are you ready for a brand new beat , a line from Martha and the Vandellas Dancing in the Street , a favorite of any R n B fan, is questioned What did it mean Was it just a fun, get people on their feet song Was it a c [...]

  12. Patty

    I really liked Kurlansky s book, Cod I read it many years ago at the beach because my friend, who I was vacationing with insisted that I read it In that book, Kurlansky wrote one of the best microhistories that I have encountered Since then I have read other books written or edited by him and I have enjoyed them all This story was interesting, but the telling could have been better I have read several reviews that indicated this story might have been told better in a shorter form I agree with th [...]

  13. Alexander

    There isn t really enough to the history of the song to carry an entire book, or Kurlansky didn t uncover it, and as a result the book feels like its narrative is connected by the slightest of skeletons For that reason, I can t quite bring myself to give it four stars On the other hand, that skeleton is dressed with all kinds of good stuff pocket histories of RB and Detroit, interludes about the nature of black music or the Vietnam War It would work well as a text for the first half of my Black [...]

  14. Karima

    Good read Full of interesting facts and anecdotes about Motown, R B, Elvis, the Beatles, etc and how they all unified the civil rights movement From NY Times article of 7.04.13 To Martha Reeves, who belted out the socko lead vocal the year after she and the two Vandellas whose name was either a homage to Della Reese or a variant on vandals, depending on whom you asked had a gigantic hit with Heat Wave, this party music wasn t about violence or politics at all One of the most unforgettable images [...]

  15. Kathy McC

    Lots of interesting information and trivia facts about the mid sixties music, politics, and Motown At times, Kurlansky would veer off track with short asides that did not really support his current topic, and that was distracting to me But, overall, it was a fascinating, well researched homage to my favorite decade of music.Learned a fact that, as a Kennedy fan, was a bit disheartening The junior senator from Massachusetts, John Kennedy, stood with archconservative Barry Goldwater in the Senate, [...]

  16. Bob

    Kurlansky is a master of taking a deceptively simple topic Cod anyone and turn it into a fascinating lesson in history and sociology This topic of Martha and the Vandellas Dancing in the Street and it s relation to the integration movement of the 1960s is another great example This isn t just a book about a song It uses the song and Motown itself as a platform to discuss what was happening in the 1960s alongside what popular culture was or wasn t doing to interact with these social issues.Being [...]

  17. Beverly

    In 1964, Marvin Gaye, Mickey Stevenson, and Ivy Jo Hunter wrote Dancing in the Street The song was recorded at Motown s Hitsville USA Studio by Martha and the Vandellas, with lead singer Martha Reeves arranging her own vocals Released on July 31, the song was supposed to be an upbeat dance recording a precursor to disco, and a song about the joyousness of dance But events overtook it, and the song became one of the icons of American pop culture As the country grew radicalized in 1964 and beyond [...]

  18. Hanne Persen

    Boken har en r d tr d, og det er sangen Dancing in the streets , en sang jeg aldri har bitt meg noe merke i Motown er sentralt Det som er interessant med boken, er hvordan den binder sammen musikkindustrien med samfunnsforhold som konomi og spesielt borgerrettsbevegelsen Det blir litt mye navn og slikt for meg, tar meg lang tid lese slikt, men jeg l rte mye jeg ikke visste om blant annet Motown og Amerika Enda mer interessant er all musikken den handler om, og det ble veldig kjekt lese n r jeg l [...]

  19. BCoats(gov)

    This is a give away book I loved this book It was enjoyable from the first beginning words to the very end I remember so much of the times during which this song became a phenomenon How interesting it was to understand how this song contributed to the background of the events I read about in the paper Living in a small town in Idaho, I was not a front row observer to the events that transpired, but even the culture I lived around was affected by the happenings of that time I certainly was a part [...]

  20. Gary Meyer

    This does ultimately live up to its claim that Dancing in the Street was the anthem for a changing America I was skeptical at the start because the song seems like just one pop tune amidst thousands from that era and did not appear to have any political message However, the author demonstrates that the tune was given political meaning by many and had an impact far beyond what I would have imagined Along the way, we get tons of tidbits about Motown and its leading characters, including Martha Ree [...]

  21. Constance

    Music and African American history are by far my two favorite subjects, so I enjoyed the book tremendously However it did not meet my expectations of applicable content There s an abundance of information on Motown s beginnings and Berry Gordy To be frank, it was complete overkill The relevant Dancing in the Street content was all piled together in the last third of the book Mostly, the supplied supporting information of the premise isn t very convincing The premise would have been suited as Mo [...]

  22. Michael Ritchie

    A generally fun pop culture book, making the somewhat dubious claim that Martha and the Vandellas Dancing in the Street became a major social anthem in the 60s The author tries to cover too much in too short a space given the topics that are touched on, including the history of Motown, the civil rights movement, and the state of Beatles era pop music, this would have made a good 700 page history But all the narrative threads feel cut short The Motown material is the most interesting Overall, I d [...]

  23. Margaret Sankey

    Clearly, this was a thread that caught Kurlansky s eye during the research for his 1968 book how the confluence of the civil rights movement, transistor radios, the demographic wave of 17 year olds, Vietnam, Barry Gordy s experience working a Ford assembly line, radio payola, the taming of Elvis, the Kennedy assassination, the Great Migration, African American consumer power, protests against rock and roll and the British appreciation for Motown all came together to launch Martha and the Vandell [...]

  24. Romelle Berry

    Listened to the Audio version and was so fascinated by the many interpretations of the song Dancing in the Street It meant different things to different groups of people in the 60 s I remember being a kid and listening to this on my transistor radio and just thinking it was a dance and summertime song This is a interesting story of Motown and its beginnings and of the early 60 s and a turbulent time in American History Civil rights, Vietnam War, riots and the music that chronicled it.

  25. Marian Streiff

    I selected this book for a Black History Month book discussion program for a public library The theme was music, and I looked at several recent books before I made my choice As a baby boomer that grew up listening to the music of Motown, this seemed like a good choice The author sets the stage for the changes in American history that intersect with the changes in popular music The reader will learn about the history of Motown and the city of Detroit, and the history of the Civil Rights movement [...]

  26. Lee Kaliski

    Great history of the social rights movement and Motown in the 60 s and 70 s whilst I m not particularly convinced that the song was anything than a party dance tune, or even if it came to mean anything in the way that, only a few years later, Marvin Gaye s masterwork What s Goin On clearly DID, it still doesn t detract from a great read I like Kurlansky s bookswho could have thought anyone could make a fish in this case Cod interesting

  27. Yasmin

    Highly recommend this book A very informative and thoroughly interesting book about a song that isn t simply a song Martha Reed always stressed that this was indeed just a fun party song, but to others there are many different interpretations to this one song It has made history one way or another despite how some viewed the actually words and beat Even now there is no one way at listening to this particular song Great book.

  28. Karen

    14 Books From 2013 Every Music Lover Should ReadMark Kurlansky uses the Motown classic Dancing in the Street as the focal point for a wide ranging story about the Civil Rights movement in the summer of 1964 It might seem like a simple song about dancing, but Kurlansky unpacks its subtext and examines its context in ways that reveal it to be one of the most culturally important songs of its era.

  29. Eleanore

    I d have rated it higher, because Kurlansky does a great job of demonstrating just how a single song can be so tied up over so many years of social unrest and race relations in American history, but something about his style can be off putting and borderline halting at times, so much so that it feels almost like reading something written for a much younger audience than the adults likely to be picking this thing up.

  30. Denali

    Mark Kurlansky has the amazing ability to take an artifact and use it to tell a variety of fascinating stories, each of which is packed with fun facts and surprising little anecdotes e.g there was serious discussion of launching Mick Jagger into space for his Transatlantic duet with David Bowie Ultimately the threads tying all the great stuff in this book back to the original song don t always hold together very well In spite of that, this was lots of fun.

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