Woodstock. The Isle of Wight. Bowie at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1972. Nirvana at Reading, 1992. These were gigs that changed the face of music and the very foundations of popular culture. Now, leading rock journalist Mark Paytress recreates the sights, smells, and sounds of the 20th century's most talked about moments in the history of live music, debunking myths and recreating the bands'-and the fans'-experiences. There's something here for every musical taste-from Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall in 1938, to Bob Dylan, to Live Aid. Complete with amazing photographs that capture the essence of these now legendary shows, this is a true compendium for any music fan or anybody who's ever thought, "I wonder what it was like to be there."
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Mark Paytress is a leading rock journalist, experienced magazine editor and prolific biographer who contributes regularly to MOJO and Q magazines. A frequent guest on radio shows including Radio 4's Front Row, he also works as freelance consultant for several record companies. His Marc Bolan biography ("Absolutely brilliant", enthused Tony Parsons) remains the definitive rock life history, and his books on David Bowie and Sid Vicious are critically acclaimed. He has recently completed work on a critical guide to the music of Radiohead and his writing has the respect of music fans and journalists worldwide.From Publishers Weekly:
According to Paytress, this book "lifts the lid on a century's worth of classic performances... included here for their historical significance," But Paytress' "journey" begins in July, 1938, with the death of bluesman Robert Johnson, and "gig" means either one concert, an extended stay at a venue (Frank Sinatra's weeks at The Sands, 1966; The Beatles' stint at the Cavern Club, 1961-3), or a tour (Lollapalooza, 1992). The book lacks analysis of why most of the events are "historically significant," and many intriguing photos need explanations. Paytress' adolescent vision gleams in his description of the WOMAD Festival (July 1982), where he writes of "Echo and the Bunnymen's Ian McCullough bringing some monochrome, post-punk normality" to the event. The British Paytress' bias is toward UK gigs, perhaps explaining his choice of Bob Dylan's May 1966 show in Manchester over his famous electric debut in Newport nearly a year earlier. (And gear geeks will quickly notice that Dylan is pictured playing a Telecaster, not the Stratocaster Paytress describes.) The book is primarily an excuse for assembling hundreds of pictures, dozens of anecdotes and some of Paytress' questionable assertions of cause and effect, such as "the deaths of Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison at the turn of the '60s had prompted a mass flight into fanciful glam rock and progressive virtuosity." Colorful and beautifully printed, the volume puts style before substance, but, then again, the same can be said about most rock bands.
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