Essential for deep-dyed rock fans, collectors, and fans of literate music writing.



A sprawling yet strangely compact history of the years of rock’s golden age.

Austin-based music journalist Ward, co-host of the Let It Roll podcast, sets a daunting task: to say something new about the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, each of which fills libraries of criticism and biography. He answers by going deep here and there while painting a big picture view of the effect those groups had on the world, especially the United States. The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. By 1965, writes the author, “guitar bands were erupting everywhere,” a pack headed by the Byrds but made up of groups as various as the Lovin’ Spoonful, the McCoys, the Bobby Fuller Four, and the bizarre Nightcrawlers, of “Little Black Egg” fame. The Brits captured the most attention during that time, but things were happening on plenty of peripheries: Memphis, for instance, where Otis Redding was working hard to develop an audience and write a hit, and American towns everywhere, where one-hit wonders were doing their thing. “Who were Pidgeon? Rhinoceros? Kak? The Serpent Power? The Wildflower? Zakary Thaks? The Harbinger Complex? Crow?” Ward asks, answering, no one and everyone, sometimes capable of producing songs and artists that would go on to make history, such as guitar wizard David Lindley and Captain Beefheart. Of course, the Stones and the Beatles figure prominently in the narrative, but so do whirlwinds of bands who sometimes turn up a dozen to the page in Ward’s overstuffed narrative. As for the age-old question, Beatles or Stones? Ward delivers a nicely oblique answer: It depends on whether you like live or studio music. By the end of the book, which is full of interesting surprises—e.g., it was Frank Sinatra’s label that took a chance on Jimi Hendrix—readers will have encountered scores of bands they’ve never heard of and plenty of grist for the playlist.

Essential for deep-dyed rock fans, collectors, and fans of literate music writing.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-16519-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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