An eye-opening narrative of the rise of popular music in the brothels, dance halls, and dives of New York City.
Everybody’s Doin’ It follows the birth of popular music, including ragtime and jazz, to the convivial meeting places for sex, drink, music, and dance. Whether a single piano player or small band, live music was a nightly feature in New York’s spirited basement bars, dance halls, and concert saloons. There men and women, often black and white, mingled freely—to the horror of the elite. This rollicking demimonde drove innovative new music and dance styles. Irving Berlin with his hit “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band make appearances, but so do Stephen Foster and Charles Dickens.
To re-create this underground world, musicologist Dale Cockrell mines tabloids, court records, exposés, journals, and reports of undercover detectives working for private social- reform organizations. Everybody’s Doin’ It illuminates the how, why, and where of America’s popular music and its buoyant journey from Five Points uptown to Tin Pan Alley.