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Everybody's Doin' It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917

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Everybody’s Doin’ It is the eye-opening story of popular music’s seventy-year rise in the brothels, dance halls, and dives of New York City. It traces the birth of popular music, including ragtime and jazz, to convivial meeting places for sex, drink, music, and dance. Whether coming from a single piano player or a small band, live music was a nightly feature in New York’s sp Everybody’s Doin’ It is the eye-opening story of popular music’s seventy-year rise in the brothels, dance halls, and dives of New York City. It traces the birth of popular music, including ragtime and jazz, to convivial meeting places for sex, drink, music, and dance. Whether coming from a single piano player or a small band, live music was a nightly feature in New York’s spirited dives, where men and women, often black and white, mingled freely—to the horror of the elite. This rollicking demimonde drove the development of an energetic dance music that would soon span the world. The Virginia Minstrels, Juba, Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin and his hit “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” and the Original Dixieland Jass Band all played a part in popularizing startling new sounds. Musicologist Dale Cockrell recreates this ephemeral underground world by mining tabloids, newspapers, court records of police busts, lurid exposés, journals, and the reports of undercover detectives working for social-reform organizations, who were sent in to gather evidence against such low-life places. Everybody’s Doin’ It illuminates the how, why, and where of America’s popular music and its buoyant journey from the dangerous Five Points of downtown to the interracial black and tans of Harlem.


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Everybody’s Doin’ It is the eye-opening story of popular music’s seventy-year rise in the brothels, dance halls, and dives of New York City. It traces the birth of popular music, including ragtime and jazz, to convivial meeting places for sex, drink, music, and dance. Whether coming from a single piano player or a small band, live music was a nightly feature in New York’s sp Everybody’s Doin’ It is the eye-opening story of popular music’s seventy-year rise in the brothels, dance halls, and dives of New York City. It traces the birth of popular music, including ragtime and jazz, to convivial meeting places for sex, drink, music, and dance. Whether coming from a single piano player or a small band, live music was a nightly feature in New York’s spirited dives, where men and women, often black and white, mingled freely—to the horror of the elite. This rollicking demimonde drove the development of an energetic dance music that would soon span the world. The Virginia Minstrels, Juba, Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin and his hit “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” and the Original Dixieland Jass Band all played a part in popularizing startling new sounds. Musicologist Dale Cockrell recreates this ephemeral underground world by mining tabloids, newspapers, court records of police busts, lurid exposés, journals, and the reports of undercover detectives working for social-reform organizations, who were sent in to gather evidence against such low-life places. Everybody’s Doin’ It illuminates the how, why, and where of America’s popular music and its buoyant journey from the dangerous Five Points of downtown to the interracial black and tans of Harlem.

37 review for Everybody's Doin' It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nick Spacek

    self-important, bloviating tripe. i've never wanted to throw a book so hard across the living room as this one, especially after reading cockrell's introduction. it only goes downhill from there.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Doyle

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  4. 5 out of 5

    Luisa Toninelli

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Ward

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Pope

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  8. 4 out of 5

    Josh Firer

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brent

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mithah

  13. 4 out of 5

    Britt Smiley

  14. 5 out of 5

    BookFlirt

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Hudson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

  17. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

  18. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara Murray

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kay

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cymonesbookshelf

  25. 4 out of 5

    Allison

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katelin

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marine

  29. 4 out of 5

    Abe

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie (GnomeSweetGnome)

  31. 5 out of 5

    Chelisa

  32. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Bunyar

  33. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jasper

  35. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  36. 5 out of 5

    Tom Herring

  37. 4 out of 5

    Brian Tremaine

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