For neo-glamsters, a blueprint for how to get things done; for oldsters, a nostalgic look into a shining, glittery era.

SHOCK AND AWE

GLAM ROCK AND ITS LEGACY, FROM THE SEVENTIES TO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

“In the early seventies, decadence was what we’d nowadays call a ‘meme.’ ” The wide-ranging rock journalist probes the highs and lows of glam.

What was the first glam rock song ever released? Little Richard may be in the running, but for Reynolds (Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past, 2011), the era begins in the later 1960s, when John’s Children began to morph into Tyrannosaurus Rex and then T. Rex, even as hippie Marc Bolan became hippie with platform heels. As the author writes, glam rock—the term is slippery, one of those “you know what I mean” things—was a reaction to the “earnestly uncamp” rock of the era, “when things got heavy and bluesy, rootsy and backwoodsy,” leaving kids like David Jones, soon to become David Bowie, out in the cold. The case of Bowie is instructive: reacting to a complaint from his father that he wasn’t bringing down enough income as a rocker, he divined that he could mix cabaret into his act, even if his first efforts were “deemed too clever for the cabaret circuit.” Then there’s the sexuality aspect of it: gay kids needed a way to rock, too, and in the face of the “drabness, the visual depletion of Britain in 1972,” they found a subculture in shag haircuts, high shoes, and feathers. For Bowie, interested not just in sex, but in its theatrical possibilities, glam was the way forward. With him came lesser bands that sometimes morphed into great ones: Slade, Mott the Hoople, Cockney Rebel, and particularly Roxy Music, whose 1973 album “For Your Pleasure” may be the finest moment in all of glam. Reynolds gets a little gluey when he gets theoretical—“other songs on “Roxy Music” aren’t disjointed horizontally (structural extension through time) but vertically (the layering together of jarring textures and incongruent emotions)”—but for the most part, this is straightforward music/cultural history.

For neo-glamsters, a blueprint for how to get things done; for oldsters, a nostalgic look into a shining, glittery era.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-227980-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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