Powered by Smartsupp

“All Shook Up: How Rock ‘n Roll Changed America,” Book Review

People may turn to music for comfort when they are going through difficult circumstances, and the soundtrack to their life has the potential to transform them. In his book titled “All Shook Up: How Rock ‘n Roll Changed America,” Glenn Altschuler tells the story of how the rock ‘n roll craze of the 1950s changed American society by transforming its social structure as well as its cultural norms. This story is told in Altschuler’s book “All Shook Up: How Rock ‘n Roll Changed America.” Altschuler investigates how the phenomena changed the dynamics of race and gender, as well as the pop music business and society’s perspectives on the sexuality of adolescents. The author is a historian who now teaches at Cornell University; among his other works are books on the school’s history and its alumni.

The book’s first chapter delves into how members of society respond to the disruption of the previously established order and standards. In the America of the postwar era, with its backyard bunkers, the “crusade against Communism,” and the era of wonderful economic prosperity, parents allowed their children to live just as they did while pursuing the American Dream. This was even though the country was still recovering from World War II. Because of this, the eruption of the rock ‘n’ roll rebellion prompted a broad moral panic, resulting in the cancellation of shows and banning musicians and disk jockeys from radio stations. Psychologists liken the fad to an “epidemic of dancing anger” in the Middle Ages.

The politicians denounced it as a “plot to damage the morality of a generation of Americans,” which they believed was their responsibility (Altschuler 6). The music business tried to whitewash the origins of rhythm and blues by enlisting white singers like Elvis Presley and Pat Boone to record versions of songs that black artists originally performed in a more subdued manner. The newly emerging civil rights movement, which was “committed to desegregation and real racial equality,” and the new musical style were seen by Americans as an effort to subvert the foundations of American culture. This created a climate of unease in the United States. Because of this, rock ‘n’ roll was seen to be encouraging juvenile delinquency, inappropriate conduct, and general non-conformism; the older generations were appalled as the phenomena spread like wildfire.

The topic of discussion for the next chapter is the impact that rock ‘n’ roll had on race relations, particularly in drawing attention to challenges with racial identity and economic disparities. The movement of African Americans from the South to other parts of the United States after World War II “provided further fuel to the attempts to overcome racial segregation.” The “new political dynamics” was something society did not quickly embrace. The proponents of segregation saw the “violent mayhem” of the music as evidence of the presumed savagery of Black people. In contrast, extremely devout Black listeners were wary of the blatantly sexual undertones of some songs due to their religious beliefs. Black artists’ high-energy performances were seen as primitive and wicked; older generations were outraged that younger generations liked performers like Little Richard, LaVern Baker, and Fats Domino, and African American musicians were barred from performing in live events. On the other hand, Nat King Cole was a prominent participant in the Civil Rights movement; nonetheless, individuals of his own race fiercely attacked him for performing in front of all-white “Jim Crow audiences” (Altschuler 41). Despite the efforts of the business, rock ‘n’ roll was still able to break down racial boundaries as young people interacted with one another at dances and provided financial rewards to Black performers.

In the third chapter, the author demonstrates how rock ‘n’ roll contributed to creating an atmosphere in which old moral standards on sexuality were subjected to scrutiny and ultimately altered. The taboos were breached in various ways, including the provocative gestures Elvis used when performing on television and the explicitness of some songs, like the notorious original lyrics to “Tutti Frutti.” It was said that even the “prehistoric rhythmic trance” character of the dance was unacceptable, putting it outside the bounds of what was considered appropriate. On the other hand, the television program American Bandstand, which has been described as a “weekday afternoon habit for millions of American youths,” portrayed a more subdued perspective, which assisted society in seeing teenage conduct in a more favorable light (Altschuler 85). Teenage sexuality and premarital sex were normalized by rock ‘n’ roll, allowing adolescents to express their uniqueness and feel the pleasure life had to offer. Rock ‘n’ roll was able to do this because it “placed sexuality in a framework of love” (Altschuler 67).

The next chapter examines how older generations eventually passed on their economic power to younger generations, even though older generations were originally reluctant to give up their economic authority. The America of the postwar era “yearned for peace and security.” As a result, the parents of rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts considered their children’s aspirations for instant fulfillment unreasonable. These kids want the financial means to buy albums and memorabilia, and the industry saw an opportunity to increase the amount their parents spent by taking advantage of the “thriving economy.” The increasing media presence of genre stars resulted in the creation of new dress trends; as a result of being exposed to all of these changes, the older generation was obliged to embrace the “modes of behavior, the preferences, and the notions of life” of the younger age (Altschuler 111).

The next chapters of the book focus on the struggle of the new music trend to establish its foothold in popular culture and to maintain its widespread appeal among people of all ages. The author states that Alan Freed “gave rock ‘n’ roll its name – and was its most famous casualty” while focusing on the flamboyant persona of Freed, who was a pioneering disk jockey who was prosecuted for bribery and tax avoidance as a way to remove him from the industry. This was done to remove him from the industry (Altschuler 22). Freed passed away in 1965 while living in poverty, yet his legacy will be remembered forever. His opponent, Dick Clark, who had more connections, gave a more sanitized version of the genre phenomena, contributing to the wider appeal of the genre as a whole.

According to the allegations, Clark evaded a conviction because of his friendships with several influential business executives of the day. However, before the Beatles were on the scene, rock music experienced a lull as other genres ruled the sound waves; in addition, important performers were missing from the scene. This was the case until the Beatles came along. Elvis Presley was serving in the United States Army and stationed in Germany then; Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens had just passed away, and numerous notable artists were in jail. Despite this, rock ‘n’ roll managed to thrive; the music was an essential component of the counterculture youth movement of the 1960s, and in the shape of punk rock, it served as a soundtrack to the economic difficulties of the 1970s. This music continues to have a place in the hearts and minds of many generations of Americans, as is shown by the success of Bruce Springsteen’s career.

When rock ‘n’ roll first became popular among adolescents, observers, and even influential professionals in the business, they anticipated that it would not last long. Nevertheless, the style had an influence well beyond music; as a social and cultural phenomenon, it helped mold today’s America. Altschuler provides a persuasive argument for his point of view about how this music contributed to shifts in the postwar society’s ethnic relations, cultural standards, and economic power balance. It is reasonable to argue that rock ‘n’ roll is directly responsible for the people that the United States of America has become today.

Work Cited

Altschuler, Glenn C. All shook up: how rock’n’roll changed America. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with GradeSmiths
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Thank you so much, for the incredible annotated bibliography you provided for my economics assignment. Your meticulous research and careful selection of relevant sources greatly enhanced the quality and credibility of my work. I am truly grateful for your hard work and expertise you shown on this task.
Customer 452451, June 2nd, 2023
Religious studies
Thank you for an excellent paper.
Customer 452513, July 19th, 2024
Art (Fine arts, Performing arts)
I was highly satisfied with the academic writing service when I received an exceptional book review that was meticulously crafted and showcased a deep understanding of the subject matter. The attention to detail and insightful analysis made it evident that I had made the right choice.
Customer 452457, June 11th, 2023
Business Studies
I was thrilled with the business plan I received from GradeSmiths. They followed all the instructions given and my professor was genuinely impressed. The plan was well-organized, included all the necessary components, and showcased a strong understanding of the subject matter. Thanks to GradeSmiths, I received high praise for submitting a top-notch business plan that met and exceeded expectations.
Customer 452447, June 1st, 2023
My Accounting paper done by GradeSmiths for my Master's level was well-researched, expertly written, and showcased a deep understanding of the subject matter.
Customer 452455, June 8th, 2023
I was very impressed with my experience on Gradesmiths for my argumentative essay. The quality of the work delivered surpassed my expectations, and I am extremely satisfied with the outcome.
Customer 452457, June 11th, 2023
Excellent for the given time frame. A great help for writer's block. Thanks for your time.
Customer 452493, April 24th, 2024
The admission essay I ordered from GradeSmiths exceeded my expectations in every way. The writer demonstrated a deep understanding of the topic and expertly crafted a compelling narrative that showcased my unique qualities and aspirations. I am confident that this exceptional essay will greatly enhance my chances of securing admission to my desired institution.
Customer 452447, June 1st, 2023
I am extremely satisfied with the services provided by GradeSmiths for my dissertation. My assigned writer was not only highly knowledgeable in the subject matter but also demonstrated exceptional availability and responsiveness throughout the process. They promptly addressed my professors' ever-changing comments and ensured that my dissertation chapters were revised and polished to perfection. Thanks to GradeSmiths, I was able to successfully navigate the challenging dissertation journey with confidence. I highly recommend their services to any student in need of reliable and professional dissertation writing assistance.
Customer 452449, June 1st, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
My Human Resources Management (HRM) paper was impressive. It showed a clear understanding of the topic, with thorough research and a well-organized structure. The writer's expertise and professionalism was evident, Thank you GradeSmiths.
Customer 452455, June 8th, 2023
I appreciate the excellent work done on my chemistry lab report. The report was well-structured, thorough, and met all the requirements provided. Thanks to your expertise, I received a high grade on the report, and I am grateful for your contribution to my academic success.
Customer 452451, June 2nd, 2023
Classic English Literature
I received the paper early and immediately loved it. I made minor tweaks to make it more me. But literally nothing much only changing the fact that I'm black instead of Hispanic.
Customer 452503, May 14th, 2024
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Show more