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All Hopped Up and Ready to Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77

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From Tony Fletcher, the acclaimed biographer of Keith Moon, comes an incisive history of New York’s seminal music scenes and their vast contributions to our culture. Fletcher paints a vibrant picture of mid-twentieth-century New York and the ways in which its indigenous art, theater, literature, and political movements converged to create such unique music. With great atte From Tony Fletcher, the acclaimed biographer of Keith Moon, comes an incisive history of New York’s seminal music scenes and their vast contributions to our culture. Fletcher paints a vibrant picture of mid-twentieth-century New York and the ways in which its indigenous art, theater, literature, and political movements converged to create such unique music. With great attention to the colorful characters behind the sounds, from trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie to Tito Puente, Bob Dylan, and the Ramones, he takes us through bebop, the Latin music scene, the folk revival, glitter music, disco, punk, and hip-hop as they emerged from the neighborhood streets of Harlem, the East and West Village, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. All the while, Fletcher goes well beyond the history of the music to explain just what it was about these distinctive New York sounds that took the entire nation by storm.


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From Tony Fletcher, the acclaimed biographer of Keith Moon, comes an incisive history of New York’s seminal music scenes and their vast contributions to our culture. Fletcher paints a vibrant picture of mid-twentieth-century New York and the ways in which its indigenous art, theater, literature, and political movements converged to create such unique music. With great atte From Tony Fletcher, the acclaimed biographer of Keith Moon, comes an incisive history of New York’s seminal music scenes and their vast contributions to our culture. Fletcher paints a vibrant picture of mid-twentieth-century New York and the ways in which its indigenous art, theater, literature, and political movements converged to create such unique music. With great attention to the colorful characters behind the sounds, from trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie to Tito Puente, Bob Dylan, and the Ramones, he takes us through bebop, the Latin music scene, the folk revival, glitter music, disco, punk, and hip-hop as they emerged from the neighborhood streets of Harlem, the East and West Village, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. All the while, Fletcher goes well beyond the history of the music to explain just what it was about these distinctive New York sounds that took the entire nation by storm.

30 review for All Hopped Up and Ready to Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77

  1. 5 out of 5

    J.

    Four and a half stars, in fact. Really well-executed and edited account of the musical movements of the twentieth century as seen from the vantage point of New York City. Trad Jazz, Swing, Latin Jazz, Bebop, Cubop, Jump, Jive, Rhythm & Blues, Doowop, Pop, Folk, Rock, Metal, Glam, Disco, Punk, New Wave, No Wave, Hiphop, Rap ... a complex story and no doubt difficult to condense. Fletcher's account manages to cover the major movements while backing up the story with the way New York was developing Four and a half stars, in fact. Really well-executed and edited account of the musical movements of the twentieth century as seen from the vantage point of New York City. Trad Jazz, Swing, Latin Jazz, Bebop, Cubop, Jump, Jive, Rhythm & Blues, Doowop, Pop, Folk, Rock, Metal, Glam, Disco, Punk, New Wave, No Wave, Hiphop, Rap ... a complex story and no doubt difficult to condense. Fletcher's account manages to cover the major movements while backing up the story with the way New York was developing as an urban center. All of which sounds kind of dry and curatorial, but it really isn't. Harlem teenager Cyde McPhatter would eventually front both the Dominoes and then the Drifters, but started in church, and from there an Apollo talent night... ... The only problem with McPhatter's gospel singing ? He didn't believe in it. "It was never explained to me what religion was all about" ... With more money available to young people in the postwar years, it was becoming a lot harder for parents to control their children by, quite literally, putting the fear of God into them. And with vocal music proving increasingly popular on the streets and stoops of Harlem, local gospel singers like McPhatter increasingly sought out secular singing opportunities ... (When record label) Federal sent the group straight into the studio, something unprecedented took place. On the Ward-Marks ballad "Do Something For Me," Mc Phatter sang lead with the gospel delivery of his church upbringing, giving full range to his melismas in the process. But his words were most certainly not dedicated to the Lord. Alternately begging and hustling the object of his affections, he vowed not to "sleep a wink tonight, unless you come over and treat me right," a proposition that required "teasing me" and "squeezing me" until his love would come "tumbling down". At first, the other Dominoes harmonized politely in the background-- until a middle-eight unison that suggested they were no less amorous than their leader. This was not just secular music; it was sexual music, and it went top ten on the R&B charts. From Dizzy Gilespie & Charlie Parker through a whole century to Afrika Bambaata and Grandmaster Flash, this is a lot of material to cover, and while no abridged account is going to satisfy everyone, this survey gets the music across. Recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Ozawa

    I really felt like this book was part of a stealth trilogy, along with “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and “Love Goes to Buildings on Fire”. Each book examines New York music culture and they overlap in some places but mostly talk about entirely different facets. This was my favorite of the three, because it is the most in-depth but never dry or academic.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This entertaining well documented history of five decades of music will keep you reading. Starting with latin music, it continues through big band, jazz, bop, r&b, rock and roll, rock, the girl groups, the folk scene, punk, rap, hip-hop. (And more). Whether you are a music fan or a history buff, the author keeps the rhythm. This is a fascinating look at how styles change, neighborhoods change, but people want music. Read it ... it was a delightful surprise for me. This entertaining well documented history of five decades of music will keep you reading. Starting with latin music, it continues through big band, jazz, bop, r&b, rock and roll, rock, the girl groups, the folk scene, punk, rap, hip-hop. (And more). Whether you are a music fan or a history buff, the author keeps the rhythm. This is a fascinating look at how styles change, neighborhoods change, but people want music. Read it ... it was a delightful surprise for me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gus Sanchez

    Having already established himself as an outstanding biographer and researcher with the stunning Keith Moon bio, Tony Fletcher outdoes himself in this exhaustive yet endlessly fascinating look at how the cultures, politics and social trends of New York City between 1927 to 1977 created some of the most enduring and well-loved music ever. Beginning with Mario Bauza and the birth of Cuban-flavored jazz, All Hopped Up and Ready to Go breathlessly and deeply explores the various musical trends that Having already established himself as an outstanding biographer and researcher with the stunning Keith Moon bio, Tony Fletcher outdoes himself in this exhaustive yet endlessly fascinating look at how the cultures, politics and social trends of New York City between 1927 to 1977 created some of the most enduring and well-loved music ever. Beginning with Mario Bauza and the birth of Cuban-flavored jazz, All Hopped Up and Ready to Go breathlessly and deeply explores the various musical trends that New York City gave to the world - bebop urban blues and protest songs, doo wop, the girl bands of the '60s', glitter, punk, disco and hip-hop. We're also introduced to the legends that have come out of the NYC music scene - Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Pete Seeger, George Gershwin, Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, Blondie, Grandmaster Flash, just to name a few - along with the unsung heroes - Tito Rodriguez, the Fugs, Kool DJ Herc. No detail is left out - Fletcher wisely and correctly spends a good amount of time focusing on the social and political trends of the day; for example, an analysis of the development of the Cross-Bronx Expressway isolated the South Bronx from the rest of NYC, which, in turn, sowed the seeds for hip hop as we know it. I was enthralled by this book, having been born and raised in NYC, and very familiar with the musical greats that have come from this city. This book is greatly recommended for music fans everywhere.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    I enjoyed this huge tome on New York music, even if it reads slightly like 12 or so novellas, rather than a co-ordinated whole. Some sections are great, really colourful, and full of anecdotes, I think the author is much more enthusiastic about jazz, 70s rock and hip-hop then he is over folk, Dylan, and 50s and 60s pop. The last 2 sections mentioned in particular, almost feel like lists of bands, their line-ups and records. But overall, even with its "all good music is rooted in New York" philos I enjoyed this huge tome on New York music, even if it reads slightly like 12 or so novellas, rather than a co-ordinated whole. Some sections are great, really colourful, and full of anecdotes, I think the author is much more enthusiastic about jazz, 70s rock and hip-hop then he is over folk, Dylan, and 50s and 60s pop. The last 2 sections mentioned in particular, almost feel like lists of bands, their line-ups and records. But overall, even with its "all good music is rooted in New York" philosophy, it is well worth checking out. The best bits for me were the moments of colour, the early gigs of the Lovin' Spoonful, the competition in the Harlem jazz scene, MCs defending their sound systems with hand guns during the blackout... that's what this book is about. Best line - Hilly Kristal of CBGBs on rebooking the Ramones after seeing them... "Uncertain that they could ever be quite so bad again, he promptly rebooked them".

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Great retrospective of NYC music. A little light on the early years as 1927-1960 is covered in the first fifth of the book. Has a fairly comprehensive survey of the 70's but lacks in showing how the jazz scene of the streets was really pushing the envelope of the Avante scene. This mix of "high art" and subculture also pervaded the 60s particularly with Terry Riley and John Cale; this could have been fleshed out more. Finally, the salsa scene was totally heating up in the 70s and writing about t Great retrospective of NYC music. A little light on the early years as 1927-1960 is covered in the first fifth of the book. Has a fairly comprehensive survey of the 70's but lacks in showing how the jazz scene of the streets was really pushing the envelope of the Avante scene. This mix of "high art" and subculture also pervaded the 60s particularly with Terry Riley and John Cale; this could have been fleshed out more. Finally, the salsa scene was totally heating up in the 70s and writing about this would have brought the book full circle back to 1927. But I'm really just nitpicking. It is a great survey. Combine this book with Will Hermes' Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, and you get a comprehensive look at NYC in the 70s

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Cook

    A pretty enjoyable survey of NY music progression over 50 years. Understandably, the book had to sacrifice depth for breadth, but I was hoping for more analysis of the overlap between movements - something that basically disappeared after the Brill Building section. I was pleased (and slightly puzzled) by the focus on a band like Suicide or even the Velvet Underground, especially since their importance to the moment is clearly revisionist. Nothing wrong with a bit of perspective to inform your b A pretty enjoyable survey of NY music progression over 50 years. Understandably, the book had to sacrifice depth for breadth, but I was hoping for more analysis of the overlap between movements - something that basically disappeared after the Brill Building section. I was pleased (and slightly puzzled) by the focus on a band like Suicide or even the Velvet Underground, especially since their importance to the moment is clearly revisionist. Nothing wrong with a bit of perspective to inform your book, but even if this was written in the '90s it would have been a very different piece.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marie Fouhey

    This book covers an amazing number of styles and groups - from jazz through girl groups and folk songs to hip hop. Parts of it are very interesting, especially where the author discusses the links between the social situation and the music, but there is so much covered and he mentions so many names and groups and styles that it gets rather confusing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Salim

    This book condenses the history of more than a dozen musical periods and styles, each to its own chapter. The synthetic approach gives clear focus to this history and context of each style. The author's ability to present eyewitness accounts as well as primary sources adds lustre to the stories about the music.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    Enjoyed this quite a bit. Seems like I've read 4 books covering the CBGB's era recently but I especially enjoyed the chapters on the evolution of disco, hip hop, the west village folk rock scene of the mid-60s, the east village scent of the same period, girl groups, brill building and bebop.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Glick

    Comprehensive, makes me want to attack each genre covered and learn more.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tad Richards

    The whole range of New York music, lovingly rendered. How could I have been so shortsighted, back in the 50s, not to go to the Palladium to hear the likes of Machito and Tito Puente?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Fantastic prelude to Will Hermes's "Love Goes to Buildings on Fire."

  14. 5 out of 5

    GNG

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frode Skjold

  16. 4 out of 5

    Robert Hosang

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  20. 5 out of 5

    David

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  22. 4 out of 5

    kate rushing

  23. 5 out of 5

    Scott Palmiter

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gary Bruce

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jay Silverman

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

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