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The 20th Century's Greatest Hits: A Top 40 List

Williams, Paul

16 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0312873913 / ISBN 13: 9780312873912
Published by Forge Books, New York, 2000
Condition: Good Soft cover
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First Printing is SIGNED and Inscribed by Author on half-titile: "For ___, I had fun writing this, hope you'll have fun reading in it.Warm regards, your friend Paul Williams June 2003". Wrap roll; creast at tail corner; rubbing along extremities; corner wear; discolored nick at rear tail w spot of soil there and 2 more on tail of tecxt-block. Dings at tail of text-block. Interior age-tanned, ow unmarked, clean. "The man who invented rock criticism in the 1960s gives his take on what 20th century works of art should be remembered, and why. His list mixes high art and pop culture and is sure to leave no one who reads it unmoved. "The best writer around whose subject is rock and roll".--"The Rolling Stone".'--publisher Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 010206

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The 20th Century's Greatest Hits: A Top 40 ...

Publisher: Forge Books, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Soft Cover

Book Condition:Good

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Printing.

Book Type: Used

About this title


The book that will make you think about the 20th Century.

This book lists and discusses the "top 40" artistic events of the 20th century, using a quirky and personal list created by Paul Williams, which is illuminated by forty short essays discussing his choices. That alone would suffice. But in addition, Williams has created an entertaining, readable book-length work on personal and subjective responses to art.

Everybody loves top-40 lists: Will it have your own secret favorites on it? Or will there be some stuff you never heard of? Or hate? Bob Dylan? Sure, but what by Dylan? Every list provokes delight an danger and, if it is a good one, illumination and surprise. Paul Williams's lists mixes high art and popular culture, and is sure to leave no one who reads it unmoved. But a list only takes one page--and the rest of this book is Williams's thoughts on how everyday people connect with art and performance, subjects on which Williams is brilliant, insightful, and entertaining. This is a good and serious book that is fun to read.

From Publishers Weekly:

Rock journalists are known for building their careers on "best of" and "worst of" listsDshaky critical structures that fit nicely in magazine columns and readers' shrinking attention spans. Thankfully, Paul Williams (Outlaw Blues; Das Energi), founder of rock journalism in the 1960s and of the seminal Crawdaddy magazine, adds some substance and spontaneity to the much-loved and loathed form. A self-described "tease," his breezy top-40 list is not a buyer's guide at all, but "a catalogue for some kinda future (multimedia) museum show"Dhigh and low objets d'art that move Williams on a deeply personal and unpretentious level. He opens enthusiastically with The Beatles' little-known "Things We Said Today," not because it's his all-time-favorite Fab Four tune or a shoo-in for the century's best but because he responds to it on a highly emotional level: "Art," he observes, "exists not so much in the moment when it is created as in the moment when it is received." Classic albums and songs account for about a dozen entries, but Williams also riffs like a young, ardor-spreading college professor on novels (James Joyce's Ulysses), short stories (Theodore Sturgeon's "Mr. Costello, Hero"), poems (Allen Ginsberg's "Howl"), paintings (Pablo Picasso's "Girl Before a Mirror") and films (Bob Dylan's Renaldo & Clara), often cross-referencing seemingly disparate works. Reading each rambling, chatty entry in its entirety is challenging, because Williams compels readers to start brainstorming their own lists and revisiting the various forms of art that have struck a vital nerve in them most deeply. It is Williams's goal to motivate his readers to pause and reflect, and he achieves it. Though he is the father of rock journalism, Williams's name alone will not pique the attention of music geeks the world over. But the historical context in which he places his subjects will appeal to those interested in pop culture. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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