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Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York that Changed Music Forever [Format Kindle]

Will Hermes

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Can literature change your life? Yes ... along came Will Hermes, who cost me several hundred pounds on iTunes and ruptured my relationship with guitars (Nick Hornby Believer magazine)

It was the best of times, it was the best of places: Will Hermes captures the creative incandescence of New York in those five years that changed music (Richard Williams)

Brings depth and discernment and an eye for odd detail, making his book an essential work of cultural history (Luc Sante)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire by Will Hermes - Five Years in New York that Changed Music Forever

'A must-read for any music fan' (Boston Globe)

Crime was everywhere, the government was broke and the city's infrastructure was collapsing, but between 1974 and 1978 virtually all forms of music were being recreated in New York City: disco and salsa, the loft jazz scene and the Minimalist classical composers, hip hop and punk.

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith arrived from New Jersey; Grandmaster Flash transformed the turntable into a musical instrument; Steve Reich and Philip Glass shared an apartment as they experimented with composition; the New York Dolls and Talking Heads blew away the grungy clubs; Weather Report and Herbie Hancock created jazz-rock; and Bob Dylan returned with Blood on the Tracks.

Recommended by Nick Hornby, this fascinating and hugely inspiring book will be loved by readers of Just Kids by Patti Smith, Chronicles by Bob Dylan, How Music Works by David Byrne and The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross.

'Can literature change your life? Yes ... along came Will Hermes, who cost me several hundred pounds on iTunes and ruptured my relationship with guitars' Nick Hornby, Believer magazine

Will Hermes was born in Queens, in the city of which he writes. He is a senior critic for Rolling Stone, and also writes for the New York Times and the Village Voice. He was co-editor of SPIN: 20 Years of Alternative Music.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 6576 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 342 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0865479801
  • Editeur : Penguin (27 mars 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00IB2N4IE
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°323.751 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  33 commentaires
22 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 To understand a critical period in music history 21 décembre 2011
Par Kirk McElhearn - Publié sur
First, a disclaimer: I knew Will very well back in the mid- to late-70s; we hung out together and went to many concerts. (A whole group of us were regular concert goers.) So my opinion of this book is certainly influenced by that personal connection.

In any case, Will looks at a somewhat arbitrary 5-year period in the 70s (he easily could have extended it a year or two in either direction), and goes into great detail about the NYC music scene during that time. Not only did it see the rise of groups from CBGBs and Max's Kansas City (Talking Heads, Ramones and others), the minimalists (Steve Reich, Philip Glass), performance artists, and the early days of hip-hop, but it also was a key time for the ascendancy of salsa, singer-songwriter rock (Springsteen, Patti Smith, etc.) and jazz. Will was always an eclectic listener, and among my friends, was the one with the most varied record collection. He writes here about all these styles of music - yes, even disco, which sucked - with erudition and feeling.

As I look back on the 70s from a distance, I realize that not only were those formative years for my own musical tastes, but that they did, indeed, have lasting influence. Will points out how much of this gestation was under the radar for years before becoming influential, and highlights a number of forgotten musicians and artists that were essential back in the day. (And there were plenty of non-NYC bands that passed through: the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes, Genesis - okay, I was a prog rock fan), Santana, the country rock bands like Lynard Skynard and the Marshall Tucker Band, and so much more.)

New York City in the late 70s was an amazing city for concerts. My friends and I would go to one or two a month, and many more in the summer (we'd hang out on the hill beside the Wollman skating rink in Central Park to listen to many of the concerts that we didn't care enough to pay for. Madison Square Garden, the Palladium, even the Nassau Coliseum were places we frequented, seeing shows by the big rock bands of the time, and in smaller venues, seeing an even broader range of performers. (And in spite of our lack of funds, these concerts were affordable.)

So there's a lot of nostalgia for me in the book. For others, who are younger, or not from NYC, you'll certainly learn a lot about the music scene, but especially understand how much of a connection there was among the different genres of the time. If you love music, read this book; you'll enjoy it.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Tying the Knots 22 février 2013
Par Soulboogiealex - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I’ve often felt that in the mainstream rock press mainly ignored the advent of Hip Hop and Disco and overstated the importance of Punk Rock. The cultural significance of Hip Hop and Disco often found little appreciation with writers on popular culture. Only in recent years has Rolling Stone magazine begun to take Hip Hop serious for example, a mere 40 years after its conception.

Will Hermes book does a lot to place Hip Hop and Disco in the proper context. Not only does he seem to have a fond appreciation of the genres, he places them against a political and social economical backdrop that does a lot in explaining why the genres would grow as big as they did. Such insights were long overdue in writings about popular culture.

But the book even goes further than that. Will Hermes restores Bruce Springsteen’s place in the early seventies Rock and Punk scene. Because Springsteen became an act of mega proportions it is easy to forget how close he was to acts like the Tuff Darts, the Dictators and the Heartbreakers early in his career when he played the same joints as the Ramones and Patti Smith.

Hermes also analyses parallel developments in classical music, Jazz and Latin-American music. Minimalism seems to have been a common trend across the board as a response to the dire economical times.

Will Hermes often writes form the perspective as a fan, tells about his own experiences seeing some of the now legendary acts when they were just coming up, thus adding a contagious flavour to the book. But he also seems to have gone to great lengths to familiarize himself with the genres that did not necessarily play an important part in the soundtrack of his youth.

The book portraits a full picture of an era without coming of too academic. Though the book comes off as a bit fragmentary at times I applaud the author in how he avoids creating connections where there are none, but leaves the reader to discover the common thread. Will Hermes has managed an enthusiastic but to the point style, which left me curious for music I would not have considered listening to before reading this book. I highly recommend reading Love Goes to Buildings on Fire with a little help from Spotify, mister Hermes and the music will take you on a trip through the Big Apple that by now has (sadly) disappeared.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Everything but what matters 12 juillet 2013
Par gtra1n - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
"Love Goes to Buildings on Fire" is a social history of music, of a sort. Except it's not a history, it's a set of anecdotes laid out consecutively through a five year time period that, as the subtitle indicates, changed the world of music. Not a bad premise at all, considering that the period saw the advent of punk music, the repetitive minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, and the creative melding of roots-jazz, fusion and free music in the loft-based jazz avant-garde. Hermes tells you when and where people played, and what records they put out, seasoned with some of his personal experiences, but tells you almost nothing about the music.

It's a problem for what purports to be a music history. But then this is music history Rolling Stone style, where it's about who know who and who slept with who and what dugs they took. You'll never know about any developments of rhythm, structure, harmony, anything, because pop-music critics like Hermes, whether they may have good 'taste' or not, don't know how music is made, how musicians listen and work together. So while you can read about so-and-so musician playing such-and-such music, you have no idea what the quality was, how they got there and why it matters. His knowledge of pop music is decent enough, he has heard enough of minimalism to appreciate it, he can't hear jazz and his coverage of latin music is dutiful and seems mostly about music he's never heard.

The book actually makes little attempt to connect any of these different musics, except in the obvious and unsurprising affinity between artists like Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith. There is a forced epilogue that all of a sudden makes and argument for aesthetic cross-fertilization, but it's nothing more than an assertion and, in a city and era when so many musicians were moving between pop, jazz and latin, he has absolutely no example of ideas moving between those genres. It's interesting enough to read as it goes along, but leaves no impression at the close.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Wil missed the bus but caught the vibe 29 janvier 2015
Par Len Scaffidi - Publié sur
I thoroughly enjoyed this somewhat flawed book because it describes a parallel universe to the one I experienced. Moving back to my native NYC as a record exec in 1975, I witnessed the same scene through a different lens. Wil Hermes fan-boy adulation for minimalist anti-music from the likes of the Dead Boys, Mink DevIlle, Phillip Glass, Steve Reich, et al is tempered by his comprehensive research – after all, he was only 15 at the time. While I was working with the likes of George Benson, Ron Carter and Grover Washington, there was another jazz scene going on. Although I doubt Hermes got to witness much of it first-hand, he describes the avant-garde loft jazz scene in detail. Props for that –demerits for casting aspersions on popular jazz, fusion and any variations on the genre that adhered to accepted scales and modes.
While I was trying to soak in as much mainstream classical music as my schedule would permit, I learned (from this book) that Phillip Glass was performing his magnum opus when not driving a cab to support himself. I’m the first to admit that “I don’t get it” when it comes to Glass, Reich, Cecil Taylor and most of the leading edge of 70’s modern music, and I’m happy to read about the music without having to listen to it again.
The truly entertaining part of the book for me was reading about Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Talking Heads and Ramones; artists I worked with and respect. Being “the guy from the record company” my relationship was strictly professional, and as such, there was another level to their personalities I rarely saw. Hermes portrays their lives, relationships and music in a way that I found refreshing and, along the way, he reveals much about them I did not know.
Hermes also describes the nascent hip hop scene, disco culture and what was happening in Latin music. NYC was such a roiling melting pot of genres that it would be impossible for anyone to witness it all first-hand.
There’s a tremendous amount of anecdotal information that must have been culled from hundreds of hours of expert interviewing, and it makes for an entertaining read. So, I have to say this book is a success in spite of the author demonstrating a primary lack of appreciation for most music that would find its way onto the pop charts.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good breadth of coverage, a bit overwritten 20 novembre 2012
Par bobdc - Publié sur
Because I recently read the excellent "Please Kill Me" and the mediocre "Velvets to the Voidoids," which together form the basis of the punk rock coverage in "Love Goes to Buildings on Fire," I skimmed those parts, but as Talking Heads fans might guess from the book's title, Hermes' coverage of that band's history is better. This book's coverage of minimalist classical development is pretty good, and its coverage of the early days of salsa, hiphop, disco, and especially the loft jazz scene are excellent. Even before I got to the epilogue, where Hermes mentions the glaring gap of the 1970s in Ken Burns' Jazz documentary, I was thinking that this book helps to make up for that.

The writing, though, is at times grating. Hermes rarely resists the chance to shoehorn as many hyperactive adjectives and adverbs into each sentence as possible. There's too much coverage of his own life in this period--although he omits his discovery of Tom Wolfe, who clearly made a big impression on him, because he's too fond of Wolfe's "new journalism" gimmick of writing about historical events in the present tense ("He tries to get the orchestra to stop, but they keep on pounding it out, Johnny Pacheco conducting wildly in an unbuttoned white dress shirt and stacked heels, hair flying like a crazed Caribbean Beethoven"). And "the mania around the just-released Born to Run... pulsed through the Village like pheromones radiating up from the pavement"? Really?

The research, the stories, and the connections he shows between different artists do make it an enjoyable read overall if you can grit your teeth through the writing style. The paperback will make a good beach read for music fans.
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