The war was won. Ike was in the White House. The world was as sensible as Pat Nixon's cloth coat. It was the '50s, and every teen was a Wally Cleaver or a Betty Anderson. Then something happened. Those submissive students of Miss Brooks and Mr. Peepers became rowdy rebels. Ed Sullivan had to dump the opera stars and Chinese acrobats and give them Elvis.
What caused the change? Rock-'n'-roll and the men who brought it over the airwaves into homes and cars. In The Pied Pipers of Rock 'n' Roll, Wes Smith examines the phenomenon of the AM deejays who captivated a generation and helped define the counterculture that has forever changed the landscape of American youth.
Broadcasting on signals that often reached across half the continent, these men - Alan Freed, Dick Biondi, Hunter Hancock, Zenas Sears, Jocko Henderson, John R. Richbourg, Gene Nobles, Hoss Allen, and Wolfman Jack - developed followings as devoted as those of the stars whose records they played. Their loyal listeners would lie in darkened bedrooms for hours each night, transported from rural isolation, urban frustration, adolescent awkwardness to a place spun from the heady power of music and mesmerizing deejay lingo.
Wally greased his hair, Betty started smoking, and Woodstock was only a decade away. Smith takes a close look at nine of the men who made this happen and explores the reasons for their influence and its lasting effects on the generation whose lives still unfold to the soundtrack laid down by these platter-spinners of their youth.