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Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock [Paperback]

Nik Cohn
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Oct 2001
Written in 1968 and revised in 1972, Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom was the first book to celebrate the language and the primal essence of rock 'n' roll. But it was much more than that. It was a cogent history of an unruly era, from the rise of Bill Haley to the death of Jimi Hendrix. And while telling outrageous tales, vividly describing the music, and cutting through the hype, Nik Cohn would engender a new literary form: rock criticism. In his book's wake, rock criticism has turned into a veritable industry, and the world of music has never been the same.

Now this seminal history of rock 'n' roll's evolution is available once more -- as riotous a spree as any in rock writing.



Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; Reprint edition (24 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802138306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802138309
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
MODERN pop began with rock 'n' roll in the middle fifties and, basically, it was a mixture of two traditions - Negro rhythm 'n' blues and white romantic crooning, coloured beat and white sentiment. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Nik Cohn was only twenty-two when he wrote this book back in 1969. If he had been forty-two, you still would have called him precocious. It's frightening - Cohn has caught the time and the zeitgeist with a precision that defies belief. From Bill Haley [...] through to the drug-driven hype of a marketing bonanza which was 'flower power'.
This is the definitive story of the growth of modern pop culture at its most vibrant and colourful - and if Cohn's hero is ultimately one of its earliest giants... well, I'm a Little Richard fanatic as well! This account is biased, opinionated, outrageous, and completely captivating - you won't find a better introduction to rock and roll than this, nor any better reason to lament its bastardisation in the years since Cohn chronicled its finest years. Buy it!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still very good 2 Jun 2014
By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Written in 1969, this remains for me one of the best books about rock and pop music between 1955 and 1968. It documents the rise of Rock & Roll, the Beatles and the Stones, flower power, psychedelia and so on, all of which has been very well done by others, too, but Nic Cohn was *there* and had been there recently. Not only that, but he has a wonderful writing style and a sharp, incisive take on things.

Cohn's style is fairly hip, cool and opinionated. I like it a lot, like his summing up of the difference between music in Britain and the USA in the early 60s: "Elvis became a god. Tommy Steele made it to the London Palladium." Or, on hearing Little Richard: "The message went
'Tutti frutti, all rootie,
Tutti frutti, all rootie,
Tutti frutti, all rootie,
Awopbopaloobop alopbamboom.'
As a summing up of what pop is really all about, this is little short of masterly."

Or try this more extended example of his style, describing Tina Turner (remember this was in the mid 60s):
“I remember seeing them [Ike and Tina Turner] in a London Club one time and I was standing right under the stage. So Tina started whirling and pounding and screaming, melting by the minute, and suddenly she came thundering down on me like an avalanche, backside first, all that flesh shaking and leaping in my face. And I reared back in self-defence, all the front rows did, and then someone fell over and we all immediately collapsed in a heap, struggling and cursing, thrashing about like fish in a bucket.
“When I looked back up again, Tina was still shaking above us, her butt was still exploding, and she looked down on us in triumph. So sassy, so smug and evil. She’d used her arse as a bowling ball, us as skittles, and she’d scored a strike.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 13 July 2014
By MikeB
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
All fine - arrived on time etc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight from a young R&R critic 27 Aug 2002
By Ron Ulrici - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just read a recent review of this book which was very negative. The critic didn't like the young Nik Cohn's opinions. Well, I am 60 years old and was there at the dawn of rock 'n roll and loved this book. I was pleasantly surprised that a 22 year old Brit back in 1968 could have captured the essence of the fifties music scene and also described in detail what happened soon thereafter. In fact, I agreed with most of his very descriptive analyses and even when I didn't, I understood his point of view. His knowledge on the topic and style of writing was superb.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 12 Aug 2006
By No Damn Credit Card - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Not everything you need to know about rock 'n' roll, but the best nonintellectual critique of the period ever, and all the better for it. Cohn has the manic energy of period reflected in his writing. Clapton was indeed God. Hell, I was there!
5.0 out of 5 stars Still very good 2 Jun 2014
By Sid Nuncius - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Written in 1969, this remains for me one of the best books about rock and pop music between 1955 and 1968. It documents the rise of Rock & Roll, the Beatles and the Stones, flower power, psychedelia and so on, all of which has been very well done by others, too, but Nic Cohn was *there* and had been there recently. Not only that, but he has a wonderful writing style and a sharp, incisive take on things.

Cohn's style is fairly hip, cool and opinionated. I like it a lot, like his summing up of the difference between music in Britain and the USA in the early 60s: "Elvis became a god. Tommy Steele made it to the London Palladium." Or, on hearing Little Richard: "The message went
'Tutti frutti, all rootie,
Tutti frutti, all rootie,
Tutti frutti, all rootie,
Awopbopaloobop alopbamboom.'
As a summing up of what pop is really all about, this is little short of masterly."

Or try this more extended example of his style, describing Tina Turner (remember this was in the mid 60s):
“I remember seeing them [Ike and Tina Turner] in a London Club one time and I was standing right under the stage. So Tina started whirling and pounding and screaming, melting by the minute, and suddenly she came thundering down on me like an avalanche, backside first, all that flesh shaking and leaping in my face. And I reared back in self-defence, all the front rows did, and then someone fell over and we all immediately collapsed in a heap, struggling and cursing, thrashing about like fish in a bucket.
“When I looked back up again, Tina was still shaking above us, her butt was still exploding, and she looked down on us in triumph. So sassy, so smug and evil. She’d used her arse as a bowling ball, us as skittles, and she’d scored a strike.”

If you like that, you'll like the book. You certainly won't agree with everything he says because he's opinionated, slick, controversial and sometimes downright wrong, but I think this is a fascinating, funny and really enjoyable read. 45 years on it's still very rewarding and I recommend it very warmly.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book 15 Jan 2013
By Good Neighbor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you like old Rock 'n Roll like I do, then you will enjoy this book. It gives you more than you'll ever want to know about the golden age of rock 'n roll and a whole new insight into Little Richard.
5.0 out of 5 stars ROCK ON!!! 19 Dec 2011
By lindsay devereux - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First Published in 1970 and then updated in 1973 Nik Cohn's observations during the historic Rock and Roll revolution
of the 50's 60's remains unsurpassed in music journalism.
Nik was one of the first of the Rock and Roll commentators in print media long before Rolling Stone magazine.
Some other U.K. Publications such as Melody Maker etc were operational but Nik's regular print contibutions still stand
out today.
Superb Book!!
Must own! for all those who have an interest in the 50'S and 60'S and for all of us who were there and can fondly remember
the absolute best era's in Rock music!
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