Everybody's Doin' It is the story of popular music’s seventy-year rise in the brothels, dance halls, and dives of New York City. It traces the birth of popular music, including ragtime and jazz, to convivial meeting places for sex, drink, music, and dance. Whether coming from a single piano player or a small band, live music was a nightly feature in New York’s spirited dives, where men and women, often black and white, mingled freely―to the horror of the elite.
That this world of sex, dance and music was interracial is crucial to Mr. Cockrell’s book Everybody’s Doin’ It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917. It makes the connection to his scholarly specialty and passion: American popular music and its black vernacular roots ... Mr. Cockrell’s identification with his black and white childhood peers informs his scholarship to this day. Everybody’s Doin’ It is a book to read and ponder.
...[an] explosive history of sex, music, and dance in New York City ... Cockrell’s fascinating story and soundtrack of disorderly old Gotham will delight New York City historians and music buffs alike.
Drawing on newspaper reports, court records, song lyrics, reform tracts, and travel guides, among many other sources, Cockrell fashions an abundantly populated narrative featuring musical performers and composers...dancers, club owners, madams, prostitutes, gangsters, reformers, preachers, policemen, politicians, and exuberant patrons of dance halls, bars, and saloons ... A well-researched and spirited cultural history.