Entertainment Dale Cockrell explores sex, music and dance in old New York with book 'Everybody's Doin' It' "Everybody's Doin' It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917," by Dale Cockrell. Photo Credit: W.W. Norton & Co. By Joe Dziemianowicz Special to amNewYork Updated August 12, 2019 12:04 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Talk about dance fever. The 1910s were packed with suggestive, in-your-face dance styles, according to musicologist Dale Cockrell, author of “Everybody’s Doin’ It,” out Tuesday. That includes the grizzly bear — a craze in which people would “stretch out their ‘claws’ above their heads,” he writes, “and dance aggressively and provocatively.” The ursine-inspired boogie was so popular that it’s what the “It” in Irving Berlin’s 1911 hit song, “Everybody’s Doin’ It Now” — which Cockrell borrowed for the title of his painstakingly researched latest work — is actually referring to, he tells amNewYork. Subtitled “Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917,” the tome offers a deep dive into the musical and social history of old New York. It’s a tour that takes readers from Five Points to Tin Pan Alley to Harlem and beyond — specifically to brothels, dive and dance halls. That’s where popular music, from ragtime to jazz, took root and grew, says Cockrell, professor emeritus of musicology at Vanderbilt University and a research associate of the University of the Free State (South Africa) whose 1997 book “Demons of Disorder” explored black minstrelsy. Live music, whether from a single piano player or a small band, in these dives and joints, was an expression of working-class culture and life. “In New York you had African Americans making music with Irish making music with Germans and so on,” Cockrell tells amNewYork. “It was a musical mishmash and an ethnic mishmash.” “It’s no surprise, then, that music in a sexually charged environment is not going to be dirgelike,” he adds. “It’s going to be music that makes you want to get up and shake your booty.” By Joe Dziemianowicz Special to amNewYork Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.