Night Beat: A Shadow History of Rock & Roll

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9780385484350: Night Beat: A Shadow History of Rock & Roll
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Few journalists have staked a territory as definitively and passionately as Mikal Gilmore in his twenty-year career writing about rock & roll. Now, for the first time, this collection gathers his cultural criticism, interviews, reviews, and assorted musings in one essential and illuminating book. Beginning with Elvis and the birth of rock & roll, Gilmore traces the seismic changes in America as its youth responded to the postwar economic and political climate. He hears in the lyrics of Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison the voices of unrest and fervor. He charts the rise and fall of punk rock in brilliant essays on Lou Reed, The Sex Pistols, and The Clash and observes its manic impact twenty years later, resurfacing in the music of a Seattle, Washington, trio called Nirvana. Mikal Gilmore describes Bruce Springsteen's America and the problem of Michael Jackson. And like no one else, Gilmore listens to the lone voices: Al Green, Marianne Faithfull, Sinéad ad O'Connor, Frank Sinatra.

Four decades of American life are observed through the inimitable lens of rock & roll, and through the soulful heart of Mikal Gilmore, whose intelligence is informed by passion and whose passion for pure sound is palpable. More than a collection, Night Beat describes the way we live, the way we love, and how music redeems us. Cumulatively, the pieces gathered here go beyond the personal, expressing between the lines how rock & roll has become a powerful political force and what it has set free in American culture.

Gilmore closes this anthology with a series of stories about endings--the history of rock & roll, after all, would be incomplete without it. Eulogized in these pages are those who lived and died exuberantly, disastrously, beautifully, and tragically: Phil Ochs, Marvin Gaye, Jerry Garcia, and Kurt Cobain, to name a few. But perhaps it is in his penultimate essay, writing on the voice of poet Allen Ginsberg, where Mikal best describes the disenfranchised soul of those of us who need rock & roll and its redemptive power when he writes, "Ginsberg's voice will never leave us. Its truths and purposes will echo across our future as a clarion call of courage for the misfits, the fucked up, the fucking, and the dying. And we--all of us, whether we understand or not--are better for it."

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Praise for Night Beat:

"There is such an openness and generosity of spirit in Mikal Gilmore's sensibility that the only question is whether his writing can live up to it. It seems to do so effortlessly."
--Greil Marcus, author of Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes

"More than a collection of essays, this book is a literary box-set from one of our finest voices. Music means more because Mikal Gilmore has written about it."
--Cameron Crowe

"Mikal Gilmore understands the soul of rock & roll artists. He's as good as it gets."
--Danny Goldberg, President and CEO, Mercury Records

"Quite simply, Night Beat contains some of the most revelatory writing about popular music that's ever been done."
--Michael Azerrad, author of Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana

Praise for Shot in the Heart:

"The making of art is supposed to be cathartic, but often the catharsis does more for the audience than for the creator. Shot in the Heart is a gesture of sustained courage that just happens to be a page turner."
--Daphne Merkin, The New Yorker

"Shot in the Heart is a most extraordinary and original book, and both the story and the storyteller utterly transcend the genre into a league of their own."
--Bob Shacochis, author of Easy in the Islands

About the Author:

Mikal Gilmore has covered and criticized rock & roll, its culture, and related issues for many national publications.  He was music editor for the L.A. Weekly and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and for twenty years has worked on the staff of Rolling Stone, where he has profiled many national figures.  His first book, Shot in the Heart, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.  

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780385484367: Night Beat: A Shadow of Rock & Roll

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ISBN 10:  0385484364 ISBN 13:  9780385484367
Publisher: Anchor, 1999
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9781447267942: Night Beat

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9780330368919: Night Beat: Shadow History of Rock and Roll

Picador, 1999
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