Kirkus Reviews QR Code


Volume One of the Best of the Blacklisted Journalist

by Al Aronowitz

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 2004
ISBN: 1-4107-7978-5

The sometimes scattered chronicles of the rock journalist's friendship with a few of the most recognizable music icons in rock and pop history.

It certainly takes a bit of hubris to say that "the '60s wouldn't have been the same without me." But coming from Al Aronowitz, the former music columnist for the New York Post who was often called "the godfather of rock journalism," such sentiment is perhaps justified. Here, in a compilation of many of his unpublished manuscripts, Aronowitz describes in candid yet affectionate detail his friendships with Bob Dylan and the Beatles. As a music writer and fan who recognized the musicians' limitless potential early in their careers, Aronowitz decided to bring them together for the first time, in a New York City hotel in 1964, a meeting that also involved the Beatles' introduction to marijuana. His prescience was soon bolstered by the 1965 releases of Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and the Beatles' Rubber Soul, both seminal albums that altered the landscape of pop music. This landmark moment is just one of Aronowitz's colorful memories and musings of being a hanger-on with these legends and their associates, including The Band, Beatles manager Brian Epstein, poet Allen Ginsberg, deejay Murray the K, and others. Specifically provocative are the accounts of Dylan's erratic behavior and short temper, which often led to fitful confrontations and even the ending of friendships, including that between Dylan and the author. It's also evident that Aronowitz was particularly fond of George Harrison, and the two remained friends until Harrison's death in 2001. Most remarkable is the close proximity he maintained to these rock gods, whether he was at their homes, hotel rooms, recording studios, or concerts. Though his personal life certainly had its share of woes (particularly bankruptcy and his wife's death), Aronowitz exhibits a marked sense of pride–and rightfully so–for playing a key role in music history.

An enticing backstage pass to the meeting of arguably the two most influential acts in rock history.