Two Men Your Kids Should Know Who Changed the Course of Music

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I can’t dance to save my life. Unless I imbibe some liquid courage, my moves resemble an flailing old person who waves her arms like some psychotic bird who happens to have a pair of jazz hands. I look all confused and paranoid because I’m making sure that no one is looking at me … when it’s almost certain that everyone is looking at me. But as much as I stink, I accept my stinkiness (as a dancer, that is), and realize that I’m no Elvis Presley, a man who, in his early years, could move like no one else, thus seducing a nation of teenagers and inspiring legions of impersonators.

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Fortunately for author Mark Alan Stamaty, not only did he discover the music of Elvis at an early age, he also learned the King’s dance moves like a pro and has lived to tell about it in his own children’s book, Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down! Centering on the moment that Stamaty heard “Hound Dog” for the first time (and his mother’s wish that he hadn’t), the book is a personal story that every little kid (or adult) who has ever been yelled at for turning their sound past 10 can relate to.

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Part memoir, part musical history lesson, this must-have children’s book teaches the beginnings of rock-‘n’-roll in a way that the Internet cannot (sorry, Internet): with witty anecdotes, colorfully engaging illustrations, and a well-told true-life story about Stamaty’s relationship with music, his mother, and his desire to tell the world about it.

Of course, another man, a decade or so later, turned the nation on to his moves in a new and equally frightening way. Known as the Lizard King, Mr. Mojo Risin’, Jimbo, just plain Jim, and probably an acid-load of other names, Jim Morrison, lead singer of the The Doors, writhed in his leather pants, defied rules, yelled at cops, and really didn’t care what anyone thought of him. He was pretty much the first to be considered a bona fide punk rocker that future legit punks would strive to be like.

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Morrison constantly walked the line between the madness of his mind and the blandness of reality, and he did things that “normal” people wouldn’t dare to do — like walk on rooftops in the middle of the night while under the influence and cite poetic verses.

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To embody the soul of this hero of outcasts, The Doors Kid’s Retro T-Shirt (with art by world famous artist Randy Tuten) displays the inner angst of a wild tortured artist who the under-10 crowd might very well relate to. Because when you’re young, you hate being told what to do, and you try your best to see what you can get away with, just like Jim — and Elvis. With the poster of the band’s July 25, 1969 gig at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on a brilliant red, 100% cotton t-shirt, mini Doors fans are sure to let you know that the “Lizard King” title is something you’ll refer to them as from now on.

Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down is available here.

The Doors Kids Shirt can be found at Wolfgang’s Vault.

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