Ready For a Brand New Beat: How "Dancing in the Street" Became the Anthem for a Changing America - Mark Kurlansky
“Calling out around the world/ Are you ready for a brand new beat?” The answer in 1964 was a resounding “yes!” to Martha & the Vandellas’s “Dancing in the Street,” a song that both captured an era and remains a timeless classic. Ready for a Brand New Beat (Riverhead, $16) relives the heady sixties while it documents how the Motown hit rocketed up the charts with its sharp 4/4 beat and lyrics about taking it to the streets. Like so many tracks recorded at the “Hitsville, USA” studio in Detroit, this was a song targeted at everyone and was as much at home in the suburbs as it was at SNCC meetings or urban riots. As he did with works like Salt and Cod, Mark Kurlansky finds the perfect lens to put a whole period into perspective, and his prose is as vibrant as the song he analyzes and celebrates. This book will fascinate music lovers and cultural historians alike.