What does it all mean, this thing called ?rock and roll?? This is different from asking what happened, and who did what. A lot books have dealt with these questions. The meaning of rock music in American Culture is another matter entirely. From its roots in the black and white ?under-classes,? through its clash with the established culture and the inevitable backlash, to its multi-faceted incarnation today, rock and roll has both fostered and reflected a genuine cultural revolution which has gone on to influence the world. Looking at this phenomenon is what distinguishes You Say You Want a Revolution from all the others. Specifically, during the brief history of rock music, American culture has undergone a period of continuous turbulence, with the fundamental values pertaining to race, sex, work and authority undergoing challenge and change. You Say You Want a Revolution examines the interplay in this period between the larger American culture and this musical phenomenon that has become so much a part of it. One Reviewer notes: ?This is one of the most accurate and significant books ever written describing the impact of rock 'n' roll as a cultural form that worked to transform American culture.? [Richard Koenigsberg, Ph. D. New York]
Robert gives an overview of the book:
As I was passing as unconsciously as possible through one of humanity's most insidious institutions, junior high school, something dramatic yet subtle was taking place in my teenage consciousness. I didn't recognize it for what it was at the time. Nobody did. But it was happening to all of us, just the same. It didn't take long for the adult world to tell us what it was, however, and they weren't very happy. They called it primitive, African, the work of the devil, communistic, filthy, smutty, and obscene. We called it rock and roll. We were both right.Today, with almost sixty years of hindsight available, the whole thing seems relatively clear, and, if possible, even more provocative than at its inception. What my fellow sufferers and I were experiencing was the beginnings of America's first genuine cultural revolution. This statement may seem exaggerated for two seemingly contradictory reasons. First, we've always been taught that America's war of independence from England was a true revolution, something of an exaggeration in itself. Second, and more important, we’re reluctant to give up the American myth of a slow and steady (but inevitable) progress toward an earthly perfection. Americans have always tolerated many more disagreements over the nature of their goals than over how they could be achieved. The process was expected to be rational, well ordered, and continuous, though some small conflicts were probably inevitable. So even to suggest the possibility of a cultural revolution in America must appear not only factually absurd, but blasphemous as well. Revolution is as heretical a doctrine in America as abolishing the monarchy would be in England.