Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay

Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay

by Peter Guralnick

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"If you like rock and roll, you'll love this raunchy, rollicking anthology—great writers, great music, and astounding musicians dead and alive." —Carl Hiaasen
An electrifying collection of the finest, most entertaining, and illuminating writing on and from the rock and roll scene—from its earliest days to the present, from the brightest moments of


"If you like rock and roll, you'll love this raunchy, rollicking anthology—great writers, great music, and astounding musicians dead and alive." —Carl Hiaasen
An electrifying collection of the finest, most entertaining, and illuminating writing on and from the rock and roll scene—from its earliest days to the present, from the brightest moments of the biggest stars to obscure but compellingly significant treasures. The crazy, exhilarating, endlessly creative world of rock and roll has fascinated us—and some of our best writers—since the earliest days of the genre. William McKeen has assembled in this book the writing of those who played the music and pushed it to new limits, as well as those who were on the scene to witness and celebrate its magic. The story of rock and roll music and the rock and roll life lifts from these pages with marvelous immediacy, in selections ranging from Bruce Springsteen on his experience of backing up Chuck Berry, to Joan Didion sitting in on a Doors recording session, to Henry Rollins on Madonna, to Roddy Doyle's The Commitments. Tom Wolfe, Patti Smith, Don DeLillo, John Lennon, Frank Zappa, Nick Hornby, and many others contribute to this portrait of the music and its culture from its ancestors in the blues to its latest variants beyond grunge and rap. The book is organized into sections that create provocative and eye-opening juxtapositions, from "Superstardom" to "Weirdness," from "Present at the Creation" to "Soul." A section on rock critics shows how these writers matched the music with their own sharp rhythm, while "Tributes" rounds off the volume by remembering in their glory some of the greats who are making noise in the hereafter.

Editorial Reviews
Rockers from Pete Townshend to Patti Smith join the ranks of seasoned rock critics such as Lester Bangs and Peter Guralnick to talk -- and write -- about their generation in the pages of Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay. A no-holds-barred, freewheelin' collection of essays about the music that we love, this is a book that every rock fan should own.
Jim Abbott
Thumb to any page and expect to see something worthwhile.
Orlando Sentinel
[Selections] serve as proof that music can be written about with both passion and intelligence.
If your religion is rock 'n' roll, this just may be your bible.
Buffalo News
This is as great a rock party in prose as you could imagine.
Dallas Morning News
The anthology...succeeds in gathering some of the best pop-music writing that's ever appeared in print.
Laurina Gibbs
If your religion is rock 'n' roll, this just may be your bible.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
McKeen's anthology is a tease... but in a good way. All 94 selections will lead readers to the source of each writer's musical inspiration--from Elvis, Chuck Berry, Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan to Kiss, Prince, Nirvana and Marilyn Manson. Tantalizing people into listening to new music, as Guralnick points out in his introduction to Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 (reviewed above), is a sign of good rock 'n' roll prose. In "Rise of the Sacred Monsters," poet and onetime Creem magazine contributor Patti Smith projects her adolescent lust for The Rolling Stones. Readers' blood will rush in time with Smith's and be vicariously totaled by her crush. A personal favorite of McKeen's, which he uses in his writing classes at the University of Florida, is Yoko Ono's calm "Statement to the Press," in which she explains how she told son Sean about John's murder. Besides usual suspects Paul Williams, Dave Marsh, Greil Marcus, Robert Christgau, Nik Cohn and Lester Bangs, novelists Roddy Doyle, Don DeLillo, Irvine Welsh and Nick Hornby offer refreshing excerpts. Yet intelligent rock 'n' roll students will notice two significant holes in McKeen's coverage--rap and hip-hop--and a heavy bias toward 1960s and 1970s soul men and women (not that they don't deserve the space). Like the Da Capo collection, McKeen's has Guralnick as a selling point and may catch some of the ripples of publicity from Almost Famous. But the focus here is on musical stars, not on fabulous writing; in the long run, this volume is destined for social history syllabi. 20 photos. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
These two anthologies achieve different levels of success. The omnipresent Guralnick (Last Train to Memphis, Careless Love) has assembled an intriguing group of 35 articles, mostly reprinted from established magazines (e.g., the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair) with the intent of informing and entertaining the reader. Spanning country (Roseanne Cash's ode to father Johnny), jazz (David Hadju's portrait of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn), and rap-rock (David Moodie and Maureen Callahan's report on Woodstock 1999), this first edition in Da Capo's promising new series also includes some remarkable essays about the fate of the figures in Nashville's now-defunct Country Music Wax Museum and the obsessive, archival bent of self-proclaimed record collector king Joe Bussard. Though largely neglecting the mainstream rock press (Rolling Stone magazine, for instance, is not represented), this is an essential compilation for all music lovers. McKeen, a journalist who teaches rock'n'roll history at the University of Florida, undertakes a more ambitious project with less satisfying results. He presents 94 excerpts from novels, rock criticism, lyrics, interviews, speeches, personal recollections, and other sources to weave together the history of rock'n'roll. Though he includes some questionable material, McKeen successfully taps the rock'n'roll spirit with such amazing but little-reprinted pieces as William S. Burroughs's interview of New Waver Devo, Patti Smith's 1973 essay about the Rolling Stones from Creem magazine, and the Congressional testimony of Mae Boren Axton, the school teacher who wrote "Heartbreak Hotel," regarding payola. Despite the strength of some of the selections, McKeen divides the book into eight baffling sections that pair articles about John Lennon and groupies, James Brown and Dylan's turn to the electric guitar, and Jimi Hendrix and Madonna. The resulting mishmash leaves the reader overwhelmed and confused. Best used as a reader for a course on rock music under the guidance of an instructor.--David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
This anthology of almost 100 essays includes Joan Didion writing on a Doors recording session, Tom Wolfe on the Beatles, Patti Smith recalling her first response to the Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa testifying before Congress, and Yoko Ono explaining John Lennon's death to the press and her son. The offerings are divided into eight sections: a definition of rock 'n roll, ancestors of the genre, superstardom, weirdness (the excess of fame), first-hand rock experiences, soul, the critics, and tributes. A rock's gallery of glossy b&ws occupies the middle pages. McKeen is journalism chair at the University of Florida where he teaches courses on rock and roll. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
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6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.44(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Guralnick is widely regarded as the nation’s preeminent writer on twentieth-century American popular music. His books include Feel Like Going Home, Lost Highway, Sweet Soul Music, Searching for Robert Johnson, the novel Nighthawk Blues, and a highly acclaimed two-volume biography of Elvis Presley. He lives in Westbury, Massachusetts.

William McKeen is the author of Highway 61 and editor of Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay. A journalism professor at the University of Florida, he lives with his family near Wacahoota, Florida.

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