Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977
A prizewinning historian and journalist who has covered the pop music scene for more than three decades, James Miller brings a powerful and challenging intellectual perspective to his recounting of some key turning points in the history of rock. Arguing that the music underwent its full creative evolution in little more than twenty-five years, he traces its roots from the jump blues of the forties to the disc jockeys who broadcast the music in the early fifties. He shows how impresarios such as Alan Freed and movie directors such as Richard Brooks (of Blackboard Jungle) joined black music to white fantasies of romance and rebellion, and then mass-marketed the product to teenagers. He describes how rock matured as a form of music, from Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Marvin Gaye, defining a decade of rebellious ferment. At the same time, he candidly recounts how trendsetting rock acts from Jim Morrison and the Doors in the late sixties to the Sex Pistols in the late seventies became ever more crude, outrageous, and ugly -- "as if to mark," writes Miller, "the triumph of the psychopathic adolescent."
Richly anecdotal and always provocative, Flowers in the Dustbin tells the story of rock and roll as it has never been told before.
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Review: Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977User Review - James Carmichael - Goodreads
Much better written than most rock/pop hagiographies; picks an emblematic moment in each step in the progression of rock and elucidates it with a brief (3-7 page) essay. Terrific. Read full review