Rock & Roll Generation – Teen Life in the 50s Our American Century
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None of his high-school classmates paid much attention to Elvis Presley. “He had no personality, if you know what I mean,” one later said, “Just acted kind of goofy, sitting int he back of class, playing his guitar.”
Quiet and awkward (although girls called him a good kisser), the teenager found refuse in music. His greatest treasure was a child-sized guitar. Sometimes he sang at parties, but he was so shy that he liked to turn the lights off first.
Elvis had still never performed as a professional when he walked into a local recording studio in 1953, the summer after graduation. The next year, he had a regional hit, and went onstage to promote it. In his nervousness, he moved his legs to the beat. The audience roared. “I went back out for an encore,” he recalled, “and I did a little more, and the more I did, the wilder they went.”
Two years later, he was a millionaire.
For parents shocked by his stage antics, Elvis’s sudden popularity was proof that ’50s teens lived in a world of their own. Rock & Roll Generations is a scrapbook of that long-ago teen scene that still seems so close today. It was a time of movie stars like James Dean–and Sandra Dee; of saddle shoes and ducktail haircuts; of Hot Rod, Seventeen, and Mad magazines. A time when racial barriers fell in some schools and hydrogen bombs made the end of the world seem all too near. And a time, above all, when teens gave the world a new music–the wild beat called rock and roll.
The editors of Time-Life Books have explored every avenue in telling the story of ’50s youth in Rock & Roll Generations. In addition to combing through the archives of Time and Life magazines, they talked to veteran hot rodders, guitar and jukebox enthusiasts, collectors of vintage 45s, and a host of ’50s high schoolers still happy to share memories of those magic years. They went everywhere from the Library of Congress to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The resulting book, containing more then 300 pictures and countless quotations, brings back the hopes, fears, and dreams of a one-of-a-kind generation, a generation that could only have existed in the fabulous, nifty ’50s.
|Dimensions||9.25 × .75 × 11.25 in|