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All Shook Up: Hollywood Learns To Rock

From Bill Haley to the Beatles

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0188
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$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
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UK theatrical release poster

Rock music exploded on the big screen in 1955 when Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” played behind the opening credits of Blackboard Jungle. Frenzied teenagers danced in the aisles and there were reports of violence and vandalism at theaters around the world. Rock’s instant notoriety would end up contributing to the movie’s appeal. Hollywood recognized the power of the teen audience and began to unleash a series of films featuring rock and R&B musicians performing their hits as the soundtrack to movies about rebellious high schoolers, daredevil hotrodders, antics-prone college students, and the like. Movies and rock formed a valuable commercial partnership, whether it was Elvis Presley singing in 31 mostly forgettable films or the Beatles’ groundbreaking A Hard Day’s Night in 1964.

Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, looks at rock movies’ first decade and how Hollywood benefited from the power of this music—and its target audience—around the world.

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