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We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock [Hardcover]

Gerri Hirshey
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Hardcover, April 2001 --  
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; First Edition edition (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871137887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871137883
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 16 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,120,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In the nineties, African-American women could swap truths in spirited, Oprah-inspired reading groups called Go On Girl. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough collection of women in rock 15 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
A rather scholarly collection of the role women have played in rock music. There are some great stories in here of triumph over adversity, but also of tough times for those mentioned. The prose is a little stiff, so it's not the biggest of page-turners at times, but this is made up for by the sheer thoroughness of research and stories from some of the more obscure artists mentioned that you wouldn't find anywhere else.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books on "rock" 17 Nov 2003
By Jacob Whatley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Gerri Hirshey reveals in We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock that the press coverage of women in "rock" in 1997 was one of the reasons she wrote this book. Her point is to establish that women were always there in "rock." [Hershey's use of the term "rock" is elastic enough to include Mariah Cover and Celine Dion among others.]
The full title of her book is We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock. After reading the book, you may feel the full title of the book should be: We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock and the Clothes They Wore And the Way They Did Their Hair and Makeup.
If you're interested in hearing about the evolution of the Ronettes hair, then this is the book for you. Hirshey also manages to get Ronnie Spector on record discussing the very important musical issue of "eye liner" at length.
Hirshey appears defensive early in the book when she explains that clothes and make up are so very important. Why even James Brown has told her about the first outfit he wore on stage. That may be so but neglects to mention the outrage of Rolling Stone readers when Hirshey's Rolling Stone Interview with Tina Turner graced the magazine in the eighties. Readers used to a comprehensive discussion of the musician's recordings (past and present) were distressed to find nothing on music but everything on clothes. Hirshey breathlessly panting over the skirt Tina wore to Live Aid demonstrated the obvious limitations of her reporting. Surely, any other RS interviewer bringing up Live Aid might have asked about the humanitarian nature of the concerts themselves or about how you connect with an audience when you are one of many performers and your on stage time is so brief.
Leave it to Hirshey to focus on Tina's skirt and set the record for all time worst Rolling Stone Interview. (One wisely left out of the book The Rolling Stone Interviews: The 1980s.)
Her focus on fashion at the expense of music should cause her to feel defensive when writing a book on music. More to the point, her glaring lack of music history should embarrass her. I stopped counting factual errors in this book after I reached one hundred. But I was left with the clear impression that Hirshey knows little about popular music (rock, pop, soul or whatever).
More importantly, I was left wondering whether or not The Atlantic Monthly Press bothers to employ a fact checker?
Two examples out of a over a hundred:
1) On Dusty Springfield, Hirshey tosses out that the "finest example of what would become known as 'blue-eyed soul' was her 1968 album, Dusty in Memphis." That will certainly be "news" since Dusty in Memphis came out in 1969.
2) Writing on Carole King, Hirshey notes the song writing partnership with Goffin at the beginning of King's career. Hirshey's wrong that Goffin & King wrote only for girl groups.
(Even if one omits later hits for The Byrds, Aretha Franklin and the Monkees, the fact remains that from the start Goffin & King wrote for Tony Orlando, Bobby Vinton, etc as well as for girl groups.) But more distressing is the fact that three times she mentions Goffin and never once gets his first name correct. His name is "Gerry Goffin," not "Jerry Goffin." A Rolling Stone contributing editor should know better.
A larger issue is the coverage of women. Please note, there's no evaluation of music, no serious discussion on anything. She does "shout outs" -- as though she were writing a gossip column (Rolling Stone's Random Notes?) and not a history on women in music. While "giving her props" in this book supposedly on music, she can shout out three songs co-written by Valerie Simpson but never manage to name Simpson. The Mamas and the Papas are also ignored (Cass Elliot gets two shout outs -- both having to do with her weight). While ignoring these and other women in a book supposedly about women in music, she manages to work in multiple shouts outs to Elvis, Johnny Cash and James Dean. (Dean qualifies for this book how?)
A book concerned with establishing the fact that women have always been a part of popular music needs to do a better job covering the women; and when setting history right is the goal, a writer needs to have the facts right. Hershey fails on both counts. Anyone with even a basic understanding of popular music in the last forty years will find this a frustrating read as Hershey mangles facts and ignores a large number of women who contributed to popular music to instead note the "importance" of Marlon Brando wearing blue jeans.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Girls CAN and DO rock 11 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an admittedly subjective history -- a chronicle of Hirshey's experiences covering everyone from the Supremes to Marianne Faithful for Rolling Stone. Filled with cool stories, neat lil tidbits, and priceless quotes from the divas we have all come to love.
Arranged by decade, it is a good overview of women's music. Places female recording artists in context of political & social events, trends in the biz, and everything else.
A great read.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting clips, but not a good book 4 Sep 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It took me a couple months to get through this book. Although there are many interesting clips [from the author's magazine interviews over the years], the book does not hang together. It appears that the author attempted to weave the stories together into some kind of themes, by decade: but there is really no "greater insight" provided. I would have preferred to read an anthology of more in-depth commentaries on a few female artists. I also found Ms. Hirshey's ornate writing style to be difficult reading.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The only thing this book has going it is it's dust jacket 4 April 2001
By C. L. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a disappointment!
This book is a complete waste of time and money, and if you are looking for a "true, tough story of women in rock" you've come to the WRONG PLACE.
It says nothing of any substance about Women in rock, makes all sorts of references to non-female acts, and skips around through a bunch of nothing subjects.
There are no discography's in it, no chronilogical list of women's accomplishements over the past decades, no anything.
It rambles on and on, places labels on this and that, jumps around from unrelated non-topic to unrelated non-topic.
The only think this book has going for it is the picture of Courtney on the cover.
Don't buy it; it's a waste of money. I'd give it a zero rating, but the scale does not incorporate that. I say "no stars" for this one.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 70 years in 269 pages, eh? 23 Jan 2006
By E. Kutinsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Give credit where credit is due: Gerri Hirschey is such a talented writer that it took me nearly 100 pages of her nimble, fluid prose to realize I wasn't actually reading about anything. Her We Gotta Get Out Of This Place is entertaining (I, for one, found it good enough bathroom material), and the truth is our love of trailblazing women in the music industry will allow us to get through the most prosaic accounts of these women. What that means is that it takes some time to adjust to Hirschey's real goal, one that's far less ambitious than the book you might think you've gotten into - it's merely a survey of the women who've made one advancement after another in the constantly shifting haze of pop culture. Hirschey comes at this goal admirably enough - she dazzles with stories of Bessie Smith's early diva antics or Whitney Houston screaming "My girl Mary [J. Blige] - she knows how to tell a story!" It's a natural instinct to want more from the book, I think, which has to do with its "then this woman came out and she was great" repetitiveness - people expecting an Easy Riders, Raging Bulls of the music industry will need to keep looking. Still, it can't be denied Hirschey's fluid eloquence carries this exiguousness fairly far - at the point of her fascinating, sobering talk with Lauryn Hill, you're happy you stuck around.
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