Television's Marquee Moon (33 1/3) Paperback – 11 Aug 2011
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[Waterman's book] will delight both Television fans and nostalgists of seventies punk-era New York. http: //eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2011/08/03/five-questions-with-bryan-waterman-author-of-marquee-moon/#more-22304 --New York Times
About the Author
Bryan Waterman teaches American literature and culture at New York University. His previous books include, with Cyrus R. K. Patell, The Cambridge Companion to the Literatures of New York City.
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At times sound a bit redundant in its being so thorough, the author did his homework indeed which is good, but can be a bit boring sometimes.
Almost no juicy anectodtes on song composing, nor studio trickery and all that: in case you like these sort of things.
What's worse is the thinness of the analysis. I admit i had set ny bar high expecting something along the lines of Ian MacDonald's mighty "Revolution in the Head" or Simon Goddards equally exhaustive tome on the Smiths.
Instead we get 150 pages of second or third hand gossip. And 30 year old gossip at that. If i wanted a who's who of the CBGB scene i's have read Clinton Heylin. Oh wait. i have read Clinton Heylin. And Love goes to buildings on fire. And the hundreds of interviews, articles and essays that are miles better than this.
I wanted a book about "Marquee Moon" the album, not another "and richard said to Tom, and Tom said to Patti and Patti said to Debbi" account from someone who was 12 at the time and living in Nowhere, Idaho.
AND THEN when we finally get to the album, what does our Bryan have to say? What does he latch his insight to, when analyzing an album that set the sonic template for the next 30 years, that featured not One but TWO of the best guitarist of their era? The LYRICS!!!! Even with lyrical Titans like Dylan or Waits, the words are only half the story. With a songwriter as oblique as Verlaine, your on a long ride to nowhere there my friend. Especially when you get the words wrong. (it's fly a Phantom, not fly a fountain. Try reading the sleeve next time)
My advice. Borrow a copy off this off anyone who's got it. Read the bibliography, and then go and read them. Don't waste your time with this dreck
Thus we get a fascinating account of the history of the New York club, its initial tranche of bands including Television, The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith and Talking Heads (prompting, again for me, the perennial, though essentially superfluous, debate around whether The Ramones were really the only 'punk’ band among them), the fractious relationships leading to Richard Hell leaving the band, the 'gossip nugget’ that Patti Smith and Debbie Harry were bitter rivals, the Smith-Verlaine relationship, the difficulties Television had in getting a record deal and, finally, an attempt to decipher Verlaine’s lyrics and interpret the songs on the album. It’s addictive stuff and provides a fitting testament to a timeless masterpiece.
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