ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG by Robert Duncan

ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Abysmally written, self-pitying, surfacy roll call of the dead rock 'n' rollers. Duncan begins his black-draped drumbeat with Hank Williams as the original for the deaths to follow, nearly all of which are tied to drugs, booze, madness and--in clean-living Buddy Holly's case--fate. At the height of his fame and already an alcoholic, Williams died of drugs at 29 in the back seat of his powder-blue Cadillac while being driven to a gig. His brief bio is followed by the even briefer history of Johnny Ace, who blew out his own brains on Christmas Eve, 1954, playing Russian roulette with a Colt .32. ""It makes a great story,"" Duncan comments. And about Holly's plane crash, he says, "". . .it is presumed that when that plane went down on earth, up in heaven, angels sang."" Sam Cooke was felled by gunfire, too. ""Eventually the police did get there. But the soul singer, like the dreams that so many people had invested in him, was strictly DOA."" The bitter demise of John Lennon reduces Duncan to an equally bitter and inchoate, ""Fuck you."" Who? It's not clear. But Duncan persists in making ties between Rock and Death, the bizarre and terrible tragic fates of Janis (heroin OD), Jimi (choked on his own vomit under drugs), Otis (plane crash), Bob Marley (brain cancer), Jim Morrison (heart attack under heroin), Karen Carpenter (heart attack/anorexia nervosa), John Belushi (OD), (""John Belushi had finally arrived. He was now a certifiably dead rock 'n' roll star""). Certifiable dreck.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1986
Publisher: Harmony/Crown