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The Boy Looked at Johnny: The Obituary of Rock and Roll Paperback – 1 Dec 1987


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x93769c3c) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94683708) out of 5 stars ...but I LIKE the Clash!! 10 Aug. 2001
By DJ Joe Sixpack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A British history of punk, written as the history was being made. The authors went out of their way to try and be offensive and audacious, though their most pointed barbs are aimed at American rockers like the New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders who were better at being junkies than they were at toeing the line as "true punks". The Clash, the Damned, the Stranglers and pretty much everyone who wasn't the Sex Pistols get similar treatment. This is chatty and snide; just the book to curl up with at home on a rainy day, sipping tea while your old Iggy albums wreck another phonograph needle.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9468375c) out of 5 stars This Book Looks at More Than Johnny 20 May 2007
By Groovin' guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book features Iggy Pop, David Bowie,Blondie, with black and white photos of them.

It also includes some Sex Pistols experiences. It is a very short and easy to read book.

It was hard for me to get my copy and I keep it for its nostalgia.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9432f5b8) out of 5 stars Nice Front Page Hatchet Job, John 4 Nov. 1999
By U. O'broin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is singularly the most important and stridently semtexed analysis of the Punk Rock genesis in the late 1970s. It is completely scurrilous, vicious, nasty, alienated, cataclysmic, sinister. It belts along at a blistering pace, executing an absolute demolition job on poseurs like The Clash, The Jam and Iggy Pop and a triumphalist proclamation of the Sex Pistols and X-Ray specs as the real royalty of their generation . Parsons and Burchill have nothing good to say about anybody, but have a special contempt for Americans. What more could you want? Buy this and put it on eBay for 100 dollars as a Rock and Roll eSwindle.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x946839e4) out of 5 stars Acidic and informative. 22 May 2013
By B. North - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the best books about rock and roll and its social context ever written. Burchill and Parsons do to the punk/new wave scene what it sought (and to some extent succeeded) to do to the established pre-1975 popular music and fashion culture. While their treatment of some groups may be open to dispute (ie: The Clash) their overall take no prisoners and do no favours approach is always entertaining, humorous and informative. A nasty, swift kick in the pants to a genre that richly deserves it.
HASH(0x94683984) out of 5 stars THE BOY LOOKED AT JOHNNY - PUTTING PUNK TO THE SWORD 4 Feb. 2015
By A. J. Mcconnachie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a young and impressionable 18 year old when I first came across "The Boy Looked At Johnny - The Obituary of Rock and Roll". At the time I reacted with a degree of shock and revulsion, much as many reacted to the advent of punk itself.
The amphetamine-fuelled vitriol of Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons not only skewers those overpaid and overhyped acts whose smug complacency inadvertently inspired the punk ethic, but also reserves its greatest savagery for many - no most - punk artists themselves.
No one is safe on this scabrous roller coaster ride. Just about everyone, from late sixties proto punks the MC5 ("a fumbling mating of screeching headbanging Heavy Metal and fashionable politico platitudes") to The Clash ("When po-faced Joe (Strummer) could be coaxed away from the microphone, Mick Jones chanted stray battle cries like a harassed housewife"), cops it in the neck.
Burchill and Parsons don't give a tinker's cuss about the sensitivities of their audience. Each word is written for maximum - and often hilarious - effect.
Although it does all seems a bit juvenile all these years later, there's no denying that "The Boy Looked At Johnny" has a scattergun, cynical power. The only acts who emerge even vaguely unscathed are Talking Heads, Polly Styrene and The Tom Robinson Band. Pretty much all of the other punks and their predecessors are gleefully gunned down without mercy.
Despite the relentless put downs, there is actually method to the madness. Burchill and Parsons' thesis is that punk sprang out of a bloated music industry obsessed with commercial success at the expense of the iconoclasm, energy and attitude that made rock and roll great in the first place. There can be no arguments on that score. But, according to our correspondents at least, punk itself then grew to be all about the image and the money as well. Exhibit A in this regard is of course The Sex Pistols, who were always refreshingly open about their pursuit of a few quick and dirty quid while they still could.
Burchill and Parsons took punk's ethos and applied it in their writing - everything was a target and was begging for a good bollocking. Nothing was sacred.
This is not a book to be taken too seriously. Any right thinking fan of rock and roll will take issue with many of the subjective judgments therein. I, for example, am still vaguely offended at the extended, withering attack on the "snobbish and fey" Television. But it doesn't really pay to take this kind of thing to heart.
Written over a few days and first published in 1978 at the height of the punk movement, "The Boy Looked At Johnny" is a searing, snotty faced relic of the times. It's endlessly challenging, controversially entertaining and drips with venom. Every home should have one.
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