Friday, January 27, 2006

TV a-Go-Go: Rock on TV from American Bandstand to American Idol by Jake Austen

There is a lot learn from reading TV a-Go-Go by Jake Austen:

  • How Bo Diddley introduced rock and roll to national television on The Ed Sullivan Show
  • How Dick Clark made so much money running American Bandstand, even after testifying to Congress
  • Why lip synching is not so bad
  • Why The Monkees succeeded while other made-for-TV rock series failed (though The Partridge Family did pretty well)
  • How the Archies got the song "Sugar Sugar"
  • Which musicians got their own weekly shows in the 1970s
  • How MTV started and grew
  • How Making the Band and American Idol began

Austen includes stories for young and old, and ends with an entire chapter devoted to the story of Michael Jackson and television. While documenting the history of rock music on television, the author also states his opinions without reservation. TV a-Go-Go is interesting reading for television and music fans.

Reference librarians will like the inclusion of a lengthy index and a thirteen page bibliography. Appendix 2 has reviews for television episodes the author wishes every one could see again, including Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episode 1509 with blues musician Otha Turner.

Not many libraries have this book yet. It is a good addition to a television history collection.

Austen, Jake. TV a-Go-Go: Rock on TV from American Bandstand to American Idol. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2005. ISBN 1556525729

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