What You Want Is in the Limo: On the Road with Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, and the Who in 1973, the Year the Sixties Died and the Modern Rock Star Was Born

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Overview

An epic joyride through three history-making tours in 1973 that defined rock and roll superstardom—the money, the access, the excess—forevermore.
 
The Who’s Quadrophenia. Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies. These three unprecedented tours—and the albums that inspired them—were the most ambitious of these artists’ careers, and they forever changed the landscape of rock and roll: the economics, the ...
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What You Want Is in the Limo: On the Road with Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, and the Who in 1973, the Year the Sixties Died and the Modern Rock Star Was Born

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Overview

An epic joyride through three history-making tours in 1973 that defined rock and roll superstardom—the money, the access, the excess—forevermore.
 
The Who’s Quadrophenia. Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies. These three unprecedented tours—and the albums that inspired them—were the most ambitious of these artists’ careers, and they forever changed the landscape of rock and roll: the economics, the privileges, and the very essence of the concert experience. On these juggernauts, rock gods—and their entourages—were born, along with unimaginable overindulgence and the legendary flameouts. Tour buses were traded for private jets, arenas replaced theaters, and performances transmogrified into over-the-top, operatic spectacles. As the sixties ended and the seventies began, an altogether more cynical era took hold: peace, love, and understanding gave way to sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
 
But the decade didn’t become the seventies, acclaimed journalist Michael Walker writes, until 1973, a historic and mind-bogglingly prolific year for rock and roll that saw the release of countless classic albums, from The Dark Side of the Moon to Goat’s Head Soup; Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.; and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Aerosmith, Queen, and Lynyrd Skynyrd released their debut albums. The Roxy and CBGB opened their doors. Every major act of the era—from Fleetwood Mac to Black Sabbath—was on the road that summer, but of them all, Walker writes, it was The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Alice Cooper who emerged as the game changers.
 
Walker revisits each of these three tours in memorable, all-access detail: he goes backstage, onto the jets, and into the limos, where every conceivable wish could be granted. He wedges himself into the sweaty throng of teenage fans (Walker himself was one of them) who suddenly were an economic force to be reckoned with, and he vividly describes how a decade’s worth of decadence was squeezed into twelve heart-pounding, backbreaking, and rule-defying months that redefined, for our modern times, the business of superstardom.

Praise for What You Want Is in the Limo
 
“Required reading . . . 1973 is a turning point in popular music — the border between hippie-ethos ’60s rock ’n’ roll and conspicuous-consumption excess ’70s rock.”New York Post
 
“Loud and boisterous . . . Like a good vinyl-era single, it’s over before it wears out its welcome. You may even want to flip it over and start again when you’re finished.”Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 
“You don’t have to love the music or personas of the three bands highlighted here . . . to appreciate the vital roles that all three played in creating the modern rock star. . . . [Walker] is convincing and entertaining in explaining why 1973 was a seminal year in rock.”The Daily Beast
 
“[There’s] so much rock n' roll history packed inside.”GQ
 
“Very well written . . . It gives an intellectual immersion into these bands’ lives.”Led-Zeppelin.org
 
“[Walker] argues for [1973] as a tipping point, when big tours—and bigger money—became a defining ethos in rock music.”NPR

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Required reading . . . 1973 is a turning point in popular music—the border between hippie-ethos ’60s rock ’n’ roll and conspicuous-consumption excess ’70s rock.”New York Post
 
“Loud and boisterous . . . Like a good vinyl-era single, it’s over before it wears out its welcome. You may even want to flip it over and start again when you’re finished.”Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 
“You don’t have to love the music or personas of the three bands highlighted here . . . to appreciate the vital roles that all three played in creating the modern rock star. . . . [Walker] is convincing and entertaining in explaining why 1973 was a seminal year in rock.”The Daily Beast
 
“[There’s] so much rock n' roll history packed inside.”GQ
 
“Very well written . . . It gives an intellectual immersion into these bands’ lives.”Led-Zeppelin.org
 
“[Walker] argues for [1973] as a tipping point, when big tours—and bigger money—became a defining ethos in rock music.”NPR
Kirkus Reviews
Walker (Laurel Canyon, 2006) argues convincingly that rock experienced significant change in the early 1970s among artists, audience and industry alike. It's regrettable, then, that some quality writing and incisive analysis is undermined by the author's peculiar focus on three bands and one year. Readers may well wonder why a book that takes its title from a 1975 David Bowie hit ("Fame") is instead about Led Zeppelin, the Who and Alice Cooper in 1973. That year, all three launched massive tours the author sees as fraught with epochal impact, the likes of which "the world has not seen since and probably never will again." Walker has a weakness for such grandiose pronouncements (he also bids us, "Welcome to 1973--the year the sixties die"); fortunately, he's usually a smart observer and reporter. Because so much has already been written about the other two groups, Alice Cooper initially seems to be the odd band out, but it's the one to which the author apparently had the most access and certainly does the best job of putting in fresh perspective, as originators of a style of theatrical showmanship that would leave an imprint on rock tours to come. In the early '70s, peace and love gave way to harder drugs and more outrageous debauchery; the audience got younger, the bands richer and the business more cutthroat. Rock became a different animal, and Walker does an often provocative, never-less-than-serviceable job of showing how and why. He vividly captures the frustrations of the Who, the excesses of Led Zeppelin and the jealousies within Alice Cooper. It should also be noted, however, that he draws heavily on what has long been known and already written, and his odd decision to slip into the present tense for extended stretches does not improve the narrative's coherence. Heavy on style, light on revelation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812992885
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/23/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 171,908
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Walker
Michael Walker is the author of the national bestseller Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll’s Legendary Neighborhood. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 4, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A stunning history of a great era of rock n' roll. The author go

    A stunning history of a great era of rock n' roll. The author goes into great detail and it makes for a great read.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved this book. Great insight into the sex and debauchery of th

    Loved this book. Great insight into the sex and debauchery of the rock and roll biz.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Ever wonder what life would be like on tour with a big name rock

    Ever wonder what life would be like on tour with a big name rock act? Take for instance - The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Alice Cooper. Well now you can know all the backstage gossip in Michael Walker's expertly told What You Want is in the Limo. The stories really pack a great punch.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2013

    What you want is in the book

    I purchased this book thinking I was going to read a tell all of groupie and boys will be boys stories from these 3 bands on the road in 1973. Though there were some stories of hotel trashing, there were more stories of the interworking of moving these rock and roll circus' around the world. This book was an intellectual look into the machines that rewrote the play book of touring. Very interesting, very educational and very entertaining. Even if you think you know all there is to know about Alice Cooper, Who or Led Zepplin - you have not read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 11, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

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