Ready for a Brand New Beat
How "Dancing in the Street" Became the Anthem for a Changing America
By Mark Kurlansky
Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9781594487224, 263pp.
Publication Date: July 11, 2013
List Price: $27.95*
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The Beatles had landed in the U.S. in early 1964. By the summer, the sixties were in full swing. The summer of 1964 was the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the beginning of the Vietnam War, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the lead-up to a dramatic election. As the country grew more radicalized in those few months, Dancing in the Street gained currency as an activist anthem. The song took on new meanings, multiple meanings, for many different groups that were all changing as the country changed.
Told by the writer who is legendary for finding the big story in unlikely places, "Ready for a Brand New Beat "chronicles that extraordinary summer of 1964 and showcases the momentous role that a simple song about dancing played in history.