Kirkus Star


A Life in Rock and Roll
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A lifetime of memories from classic rock’s heyday by one of the finest rock journalists of her generation.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Cameron Crowe’s misty-eyed classic Almost Famous comes to readers’ minds as they troll through this book by longtime New York Post and Vanity Fair journalist Robinson. The author covers her career from joining the Rolling Stones on tour in 1969 to more recent profiles of megastars like Eminem, Kanye West and Lady Gaga. It’s a fantastic collection of stories, partially due to the fact that Robinson is a top-notch writer and partly since she enjoyed completely unfettered access and the genuine friendship of figures ranging from John Lennon to Phil Spector. Most of the chapters cover major figures—David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and an elegiac remembrance of Michael Jackson, to name just a few—but Robinson also seems to have a foot in two worlds. While she jetted around the world with champagne in hand, she was also deeply embedded in the origins of the legendary New York City club CBGB. In its orbit, she bonded with gutter rats like the Ramones and introduced David Bowie to Lou Reed for the first time. There’s also a bittersweet melancholy that underpins much of the book. On the recent Zeppelin reunion, she writes, “I didn’t go. I prefer to remember them the way they were. It’s been a long time. The song couldn’t possibly be the same.” On learning there’s a “Joey Ramone Place” in the Bowery now, she recalls some lyrics by Bob Dylan: “They’re selling postcards of the hanging.” On punk rock: “Scenes aren’t meant to last. The best of them sneak or burst into the consciousness of a few. They blow up into something they weren’t to begin with. And then, they eventually burn out.” All of these movements have been written about before, but the scope of Robinson’s memoir lends it an extraordinary spirit.

A backstage pass to the greatest circus of the 20th century.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-59448-714-9
Page count: 420pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2014


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