A Brief History of Rock, Off the Record

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The birth of rock ‘n’ roll signaled the blossoming of a new teenage culture, dividing generations and introducing a new attitude of rebellion and independence. From Chuck Berry to the Beatles, from punk rock to hip hop, rock ‘n’ roll has continuously transformed alongside or in reaction to social, cultural, and political changes.

A Brief History of Rock, Off the Record is a concise introduction to rock history and the impact it has had on American culture. It is an easy-to-read, vivid account written by one of rock’s leading critics. Pulling from personal interviews over the years, Wayne Robins interweaves the developments in rock music with his commentary on the political and social events and movements that defined their decades.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Robins presents his [work] with enthusiasm and breezy good humor, yet manages unpretentiously to hammer home his historical points and musical opinions... His tone is ideal for the topic and format, a welcome relief from the disproportionate number of self-important academic treatises on modern popular music..." - Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews
With approximately three zillion available books on the history of rock, why should anybody bother banging out another one?Veteran rock journalist Robins (Billboard, Rolling Stone, Village Voice) answers that question with a resounding, Why the heck not? He must have figured that if he has the knowledge (check), the writing chops (check) and a point of view (check), it was worth a shot. While it most definitely can be read from beginning to end, some might feel that the most enjoyable way to attack this sweet little tome would be randomly. Stick your finger in the middle of the book, and you might land on a sharp essay about the parallel paths taken by the Beach Boys and the Beatles circa 1966, or a diatribe about the effect MTV had on hair metal bands (and vice versa), or a tongue-in-cheek sidebar on Doors front man Jim Morrison's astoundingly childish behavior. Robins presents his dissertation with enthusiasm and breezy good humor, yet manages unpretentiously to hammer home his historical points and musical opinions. The story of criminally underappreciated soulster Curtis Mayfield, for instance, is told with love and reverence, and his respectful bit on the Eagles and the early-'70s California school of rock (Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, etc.) makes you recall that at one point in time, these laid-back troubadours were considered pretty cool. His tone is ideal for the topic and the format, a welcome relief from the disproportionate number of self-important academic treatises on modern popular music. Hardcore rock geeks likely won't learn anything new here, but probably will agree that it's nice to have all the factoids, as well as some authoritative criticism, in one place. With itshigh readability factor and bite-sized portions, this is the ultimate rock-'n'-roll bathroom book-and that's meant with nothing but the utmost respect and admiration. A rehash, sure, but if you're going to cover ground that's already been covered, this is the way to do it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415974721
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Wayne Robins is a noted writer on rock and social history. From 1972-75, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the influential rock magazine, Creem, working with such legendary writers as Dave Marsh, Greil Marcus, and Lester Bangs. From 1975-94, he served Pop Music Critic for Newsday, where he was among the first to profile artists ranging from Madonna to Billy Joel. He is the author of several books, including 1968, a history of the music and culture of that seminal year. He currently works for Billboard magazine.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: What is Rock? 2. The 1950s: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Alan Freed, Rosa Parks, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, the Everly Bros., Jerry Lee Lewis, the Coasters and many, many more 3. The 1960s: JFK and the Twist, Phil Spector, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Motown, James Brown, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks, The Doors, Plus, war, riots, assassinations, civil disorder, acid and weed 4. The 1970s: Transition: Sly Stones and Black Rock. The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, the New York Dolls, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Singer-Songwriters and Southern California, Punk Rock. Heavy Metal. Disco. Prog. Southern Rock. Bruce Springsteen. 5 The 1980s: Heartland Rock, MTV, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, Hair Bands, Prince, Metallica and Speed/Thrash Metal, The Smiths et al 6. The 1990s: Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Grunge, Britpop, Hip-Hop, Radiohead, Green Day. The Rest of the Best: Festivals, Napster, iTunes, The End

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