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Can't Slow Down

How 1984 Became Pop's Blockbuster Year

Michaelangelo Matos


List Price: 30.00*
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The definitive account of pop music in the mid-eighties, from Prince and Madonna to the underground hip-hop, indie rock, and club scenes

Everybody knows the hits of 1984 - pop music's greatest year. From "Thriller" to "Purple Rain," "Hello" to "Against All Odds," "What's Love Got to Do with It" to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," these iconic songs continue to dominate advertising, karaoke nights, and the soundtracks for film classics (Boogie Nights) and TV hits (Stranger Things). But the story of that thrilling, turbulent time, an era when Top 40 radio was both the leading edge of popular culture and a moral battleground, has never been told with the full detail it deserves - until now. Can't Slow Down is the definitive portrait of the exploding world of mid-eighties pop and the time it defined, from Cold War anxiety to the home-computer revolution. Big acts like Michael Jackson (Thriller), Prince (Purple Rain), Madonna (Like a Virgin), Bruce Springsteen (Born in the U.S.A.), and George Michael (Wham!'s Make It Big) rubbed shoulders with the stars of the fermenting scenes of hip-hop, indie rock, and club music.

Rigorously researched, mapping the entire terrain of American pop, with crucial side trips to the UK and Jamaica, from the biz to the stars to the upstarts and beyond, Can't Slow Down is a vivid journey to the very moment when pop was remaking itself, and the culture at large - one hit at a time.

Praise For Can't Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop's Blockbuster Year

"Imagine a time when people bought millions of CDs, pop musicians
had the larger-than-life allure of movie stars, and nearly every genre, from
Top 40 to hip-hop to indie, was thriving. That year was 1984, and Michaelangelo
Matos' rollicking and deeply researched Can't Slow Down hurls you back
to a time when pop music wasn't just thriving; it welcomed anyone and everyone
to revel in its crossover dreams."—David Browne, author of Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970

"Can't Slow Down reads like a "We Are the
World"-style celebrity mega-single in book form. It is a delightfully
jam-packed group bio that brings together characters from Morrissey to Cyndi
Lauper, Michael Jackson to Sade. All jostle for their star turns in this
ingeniously structured account of pop music's watershed year. Wearing a massive
amount of research lightly and displaying his gift for both the industry "big
picture" and the (at times hilarious) artist thumbnail sketch, Matos proves himself
to be among the most entertaining and erudite chroniclers of contemporary
American popular music."—Emily J. Lordi, author of The Meaning of Soul

"Through rigorous research and engaging storytelling,
Michaelangelo Matos offers a comprehensive look at a breakthrough year in pop
music. By giving equal weight to major and lesser-known cultural signposts, Can't
Slow Down
is an insightful read for even the staunchest music fan."—Marcus J. Moore, author of The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America

"At last-the whole glorious saga of the 1984
pop explosion. Can't Slow Down has the full untold story of how rockers
and rappers and dance-floor rebels came together to invent the future, changing
how music has sounded ever since. Michaelangelo Matos tells this epic tale in
all its detail-it's a definitive scholarly history, but he also turns it into a
thriller and a love story, with an infectious joy that practically dances off
the page. A pure delight."—Rob Sheffield, author of Dreaming the Beatles

Hachette Books, 9780306903373, 480pp.

Publication Date: December 8, 2020

About the Author

MICHAELANGELO MATOS is the author of The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America (Dey Street, 2015) and Sign 'O' the Times (Bloomsbury, 2004). He contributes regularly to Mix-mag and the New Yorker and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.