Sonic Cool: The Life and Death of Rock 'n' Roll

Overview

(Book). In the tradition of Nick Tosches, Tom Wolfe and Lester Bangs comes an epic and riveting history of rock and roll that reads like a novel. Sonic Cool presents the saga of rock and roll as the closest thing we have to genuine "myth" in the modern world, and it is the first book about rock to be written in the spirit of rock. Immense, fierce, opinionated and hilarious, Joe Harrington masterfully presents rock as a movement of near-religious proportions, against a backdrop of social factors and important events such as the invention of the
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Overview

(Book). In the tradition of Nick Tosches, Tom Wolfe and Lester Bangs comes an epic and riveting history of rock and roll that reads like a novel. Sonic Cool presents the saga of rock and roll as the closest thing we have to genuine "myth" in the modern world, and it is the first book about rock to be written in the spirit of rock. Immense, fierce, opinionated and hilarious, Joe Harrington masterfully presents rock as a movement of near-religious proportions, against a backdrop of social factors and important events such as the invention of the guitar, the jukebox, LSD, the 12-inch phonograph record, the '70s recession, the Reagan Revolution, and the Internet. This is the history of rock as it's never been told, as the legend of a massive cultural movement, one that had meaning, but ultimately failed because it sold its soul. Radically egalitarian in its assessments towering figures such as Lennon, Dylan and Cobain stand along side lesser-known but equally influential artists like the MC5, the Misfits and Joy Division Sonic Cool is gripping reading for anyone who ever believed in the music. Includes a 16-page black-and-white photo insert. Joe S. Harrington began writing at the age of 10, an act that provoked a rejection slip from Mad magazine. He has written about music for the Boston Globe , Boston Phoenix , New York Press , Seattle Stranger , Lowell Sun , Wired , Reflex , Raygun , High Times , Seconds , Rollerderby and numerous fanzines. He is currently employed as an on-line jazz critic at Amazon, and lives in Portland, Maine. Softcover.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Harrington, music columnist for the Casco Bay Weekly in Portland, ME, sets out to document the entire history of rock'n'roll in the tradition of critics like Lester Bangs and Nick Tosches. While the author's quirky and manic style always engages (and often outrages) the reader, his fixation on rock stars' drug taking and bed jumping often gets in the way of the music itself. Some questionable scholarship also mars the book (e.g., Michael Nesmith was not the only member of the Monkees to play his own instrument; Peter Tork was a multi-instrumentalist). Names of (deservedly) obscure rock and pop bands fly like broken beer bottles in a rowdy roadhouse-perhaps a case of "let's see how much trivia I can pack in." Despite these flaws, Harrington makes some sense out of rock, especially in his analysis of societal response to it and deft deconstruction of famous critics, including Bangs, Tosches, Jon Landau, and Robert Christgau. Biting, opinionated, and take-no-prisoners in approach, this is not a history for the uninitiated. Readers will either love it or hate it. Recommended for larger public libraries as a complement to Charlie Gillett's classic The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock'n'Roll and James Miller's Flowers in the Dustbin.-James E. Perone, Mount Union Coll., Alliance, OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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