In the 1960s rock ‘n’ roll music began crossing the Atlantic Ocean—with The Beatles and The Who leading the British Invasion of the United States—and the Pacific Ocean, as American and European rock slowly began to take hold in Japan. This insightful study from visionary rock musician Julian Cope explores what really happened when Western music met Eastern shores. The clash between traditional Japanese values and the wild renegades of 1960s and 1970s rock ‘n’ roll is examined, and the seminal artists in Japanese post-World War II culture are all covered. From itinerate art-house poets to violent refusenik bands with penchants for plane hijacking, this is the story of the Japanese youths and musicians who simultaneously revolutionized a musical genre and the culture of a nation.
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Julian Cope is a rock musician and music reviewer. His previous books include Krautrocksampler, The Megalithic European, and The Modern Antiquarian.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. Though British, this author's exploits as a rocker and musicologist qualify him to explore the modern clash between traditional, conservative Japanese values and the wild, renegade post-WWII rock 'n' roll influence of the West. His breathtaking knowledge of the scene doesn't hurt, either; thorough throughout, Cope (Krautrocksampler) reels out Japanese political, social and cultural history from the mid-Nineteenth Century on before delving into early hits like the prescient 1950s "TV idoru" genre (meaning, literally, TV idols) and the Beetles' generation-defining Japanese tour ("Waving goodbye... was somewhat akin to watching four divinities departing Earth") that sparked the Group Sounds movement. Cope covers everything from psychedelic, progressive and blues rock to chamber, experimental and ambient music, the Miles Davis-influenced jazz scene, the drug culture, the Tokyo production of Hair and, of course, Yoko Ono. Cope also lists, with helpful caveats, his 50 favorite albums of the era, including Speed, Glue & Shinki's Eve, Les Rallizes Denudes' Blind Baby Has Its Mothers Eyes, and the Flower Travellin Band 's Anywhere (from which the book draws its cover, a photo of naked, motorcycle-mounted Flower Travellin' Bandmembers). Though a cavalcade of unfamiliar Japanese names and terms may intimidate, Cope's arresting commentary is alternately serious, opinionated and flip (think Lester Bangs, not Chuck Klosterman), and a great discovery for any fan of rock music.
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