Jonathan Lethem and Kevin Dettmar's Shake It Up invites the reader into the tumult and excitement of the rock revolution through fifty landmark pieces by a supergroup of writers on rock in all its variety, from heavy metal to disco, punk to hip-hop. Stanley Booth describes a recording session with Otis Redding; Ellen Willis traces the meteoric career of Janis Joplin; Ellen Sander recalls the chaotic world of Led Zeppelin on tour; Nick Tosches etches a portrait of the young Jerry Lee Lewis; Eve Babitz remembers Jim Morrison. Alongside are Lenny Kaye on acapella and Greg Tate on hip-hop, Vince Aletti on disco and Gerald Early on Motown; Lester Bangs on Elvis Presley, Robert Christgau on Prince, Nelson George on Marvin Gaye, Nat Hentoff on Bob Dylan, Hilton Als on Michael Jackson, Anthony DeCurtis on the Rolling Stones, Kelefa Sanneh on Jay Z. The story this anthology tells is an ongoing one: “It’s too early,” editors Jonathan Lethem and Kevin Dettmar note, “for canon formation in a field so marvelously volatile—a volatility that mirrors, still, that of pop music itself, which remains smokestack lightning. The writing here attempts to catch some in a bottle.”
Martin’s interview with Jonathan Lethem and Kevin Dettmar was originally recorded June 7, 2017.