• Cloth: $99.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5917-3
  • Paperback: $28.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5936-4
  • Quantity
  • Add To Bag
  • Acknowledgments  ix

    Introduction  1

    1. Putting Over a Song: Crooning, Performance, and Audience in the Acoustic Era, 1880–1920  37

    2. Crooning Goes Electric: Microphone Crooning and the Invention of the Intimate Singing Aesthetic, 1921–1928  74

    3. Falling in Love with a Voice: Rudy Vallée and His First Radio Fans, 1928  126

    4. "The Mouth of the Machine": The Creation of the Crooning Idol, 1929  160

    5. "A Supine Sinking into the Primeval Ooze": Crooning and Its Discontents, 1929–1933  208

    6. "The Kind of Natural That Worked": The Crooner Redefined, 1932–1934 (and Beyond)  264

    Conclusion  311

    Notes  333

    Bibliography  375

    Index  411
  • Co-Winner, 2016-2017 SCMS Best First Book Award

    2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title (Choice Magazine)

  • "[A] rich, intriguing account of how microphone-assisted heartthrobs won over American ears in the early 20th century." 

    "A painstakingly researched book, sure in its thesis and apt in its presentation, this versatile study is of immediate appeal to those interested in music but will also be a valuable resource for those in gender studies, African American studies, American studies, and all concentrations of history. Highly recommended. All readers."

    "... marvelous... The author’s evidently deep research increases the pleasure of reading the book—and creates a nagging desire to stop reading it to seek out clips from the movies and songs she discusses."

    “As befits an academic author, McCracken is primarily concerned with the social aspects of the phenomenon, especially the sexual implications as the style developed in the late 1920s. … Recommended for readers interested in American social history, popular culture, popular music, and gender studies.”

    "Real Men Don’t Sing: Crooning in American Culture is an excellent book. Those looking for ways to blend modern theory, historical context, and popular culture (in this case music and film) would do well to use McCracken’s work as a model. She tackles many complex issues, from queer theory to technology and its impact, in a way that’s readable and succinct."

    "[A] stunning account of crooning and the development of American pop."

    Awards

  • Co-Winner, 2016-2017 SCMS Best First Book Award

    2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title (Choice Magazine)

  • Reviews

  • "[A] rich, intriguing account of how microphone-assisted heartthrobs won over American ears in the early 20th century." 

    "A painstakingly researched book, sure in its thesis and apt in its presentation, this versatile study is of immediate appeal to those interested in music but will also be a valuable resource for those in gender studies, African American studies, American studies, and all concentrations of history. Highly recommended. All readers."

    "... marvelous... The author’s evidently deep research increases the pleasure of reading the book—and creates a nagging desire to stop reading it to seek out clips from the movies and songs she discusses."

    “As befits an academic author, McCracken is primarily concerned with the social aspects of the phenomenon, especially the sexual implications as the style developed in the late 1920s. … Recommended for readers interested in American social history, popular culture, popular music, and gender studies.”

    "Real Men Don’t Sing: Crooning in American Culture is an excellent book. Those looking for ways to blend modern theory, historical context, and popular culture (in this case music and film) would do well to use McCracken’s work as a model. She tackles many complex issues, from queer theory to technology and its impact, in a way that’s readable and succinct."

    "[A] stunning account of crooning and the development of American pop."

  • "Allison McCracken explores the blurred genders of the croon through intimate historical detail, impeccable research, and a sense of the ever-shifting mores of sexual identity. She understands how technology influences artistry, and how the core of musical seduction remains constant, a voice whispering in the ear, a man singing to a woman in her own lingual."  — Lenny Kaye, author of, You Call It Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon

    "Allison McCracken's subject in this animated and incisive study is less than ten years of swooning Prohibition-era American pop, but she'll make you a quick believer that it forever changed what it means to listen to 'men' and 'women' singing. Cue up some Rudy Vallée and be prepared to never hear the recorded male singing voice the same way again."  — Josh Kun, University of Southern California

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Images/Art

    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Mail:
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
  • Description

    The crooner Rudy Vallée's soft, intimate, and sensual vocal delivery simultaneously captivated millions of adoring fans and drew harsh criticism from those threatened by his sensitive masculinity. Although Vallée and other crooners reflected the gender fluidity of late-1920s popular culture, their challenge to the Depression era's more conservative masculine norms led cultural authorities to stigmatize them as gender and sexual deviants. In Real Men Don't Sing Allison McCracken outlines crooning's history from its origins in minstrelsy through its development as the microphone sound most associated with white recording artists, band singers, and radio stars. She charts early crooners’ rise and fall between 1925 and 1934, contrasting Rudy Vallée with Bing Crosby to demonstrate how attempts to contain crooners created and dictated standards of white masculinity for male singers. Unlike Vallée, Crosby survived the crooner backlash by adapting his voice and persona to adhere to white middle-class masculine norms. The effects of these norms are felt to this day, as critics continue to question the masculinity of youthful, romantic white male singers. Crooners, McCracken shows, not only were the first pop stars: their short-lived yet massive popularity fundamentally changed American culture.
     

    About The Author(s)

    Allison McCracken is Associate Professor of American Studies at DePaul University.
Explore More
Share

Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue.


Contact Us

  • Duke University Press
  • 905 W. Main St. Ste 18-B
  • Durham, NC 27701
  • U.S. phone (toll-free): 888-651-0122
  • International: 1-919-688-5134
  • orders@dukeupress.edu