A memoir by one of the founders of rock criticism, on the era that gave him his vocation and ultimately broke his heart.
Goldstein (Homocons: The Rise of the Gay Right, 2003, etc.) whose work in the Village Voice of the 1960s showed that it was possible to write serious criticism of the music of his generation, grew up in the Bronx as a nerdy kid who would sneak out of his neighborhood with a pair of sandals hidden in a bag so the neighborhood toughs wouldn’t beat him up. But his true passion was early rock ’n’ roll, doo-wop and the girl groups. He also became aware of the civil rights movement and took part in the 1963 March on Washington. Acquaintance with the likes of Lou Reed and Andy Warhol, combined with a Columbia journalism degree, led to a job writing about music and pop culture for the Voice. The cachet of the Voice got him into the hotel rooms of every major rock star of the era. While many treated him as just another newspaperman, he made friends with others, including Janis Joplin. Goldstein was also keeping his hand in the radical political scene, ultimately making a trip to the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. That marked the beginning of his disillusion with the ideals of his generation, as the radical resistance to the nomination of Hubert Humphrey culminated in the election of Richard Nixon. A series of deaths in the rock world—most devastating to Goldstein, that of Joplin—depressed him further. He felt the machinery of hype had taken the music away from those who loved it. Writer’s block set in, along with a crisis of identity that led him to recast himself as a gay rights advocate. Goldstein gives a deeply felt and largely compelling portrait of an age that indelibly marked everyone who took part in it.
Indispensable for understanding the culture of the ’60s and the music that was at its heart.