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Are You Popular? Dating, Gender, and the Double Coding of Rock and Roll

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When the practice of dating replaced that of calling on women in their homes during the 1920s, control of courtship shifted from parents to their children. Fearful of dating's opportunities for sexual intimacy, parents struggled to control it. Are You Popular?, a “mental hygiene” instructional film from 1947, illustrates their struggle to discourage “parking in cars with the boys at night.” The same ogre of parking underlies the Everly Brothers' 1957 hit, “Wake Up, Little Susie.” While its lyrics embrace parental values, its musical double coding, surrounding the pure country style of the bridge and verses with percussive power chords in the intro, choruses, and fade, introduces a transgressive, blues-based rock and roll questioning those values.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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