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on 19 June 1999
After zillions of angry essays about whatever's got him mad this week, it's fun to see Marsh write about something he loves. I heartily recommend. My only complaint -- how come "In the Midnight Hour" isn't one of the top 20?
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on 5 July 2013
There's a lot of good writing in this book. There's many great records in this book. There's some wonderful stories in this book. Unfortunately there's also a ton of factual errors in this book. Marsh is good on the 50s and 60s but after that his choices are, frankly, embarrassing.
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on 7 June 1999
Dave Marsh makes the reader wish for an old hi-fi and an armful of "45's. The writing takes the reader back to sometimes wonderful, sometimes painful (sometimes wonderfully painful) memories that are all a part of the music we listened to growing up. The intensity comes as much from remembering what was going on when a particular song was on the radio as it does from the memory of the songs themselves.
Buy two, and send one to a good friend from back in the day. You will spend many happy hours arguing about whether "You've Lost That Lovin Feelin" evokes more memories that "Stay in My Corner"; and why "MacArthur's Park" made the list, but "Hey Jude" did not (or was that vice versa?)
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on 25 May 1999
There's never been a better book written about American music. Politically insightful and endlessly entertaining, Marsh takes you on a ride from the dawn of the rock and roll era through the rise of punk and rap. Hundreds of good stories about the records and the world they helped shape. But the best thing about the book is that you'll never hear your favorite records the same way after you've read it. It'll teach you to hear.
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on 7 July 1999
I should start by saying that I am a little prejudiced against Dave Marsh's criticism. It seems to represent everything that is boring, pompous, sentimental and tame about rock writing. He's the kind of critic that Byron Coley, Jimmy Johnson, Steve Albini and Gerard Cosloy were born to dethrone.
When I first read this book, though, I was impartial toward him. That changed quickly. Sorry Dave, I may be a little young but I do respect tuneful and emotional music as well as stuff with a little (or a lot) of threat to it. Your tastes are a little bland, mellow without being necessarily melodious. You ranked Van Halen's "Jump" above anything by the Beatles, and "Heard it Through the Grape Vine" above any other song in all of rock and soul.
These tunes are your favorites because they are associated with tender moments in your life, I understand that. But they will never have the same emotional resonance with the rest of us, especially the youths who make up most of the rock audience.
I think that Marsh's sensibility is a little too sensitive and nostalgic to be touting records to other people. Because we'll just be let down, as I was so many times.
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