This infamous book has enjoyed a lively underground reputation since its first publication in 1970. Richard Meltzer (a.k.a. R. Meltzer) took his training as a young philosopher and applied it with unalloyed enthusiasm to the lyrics, sound, and culture of rock and roll. Never before had anyone noticed the relationship between the philosophy of Heidegger and a tune by Little Anthony and the Imperials, heard the cries of agony in the Shangri Las’ Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand)”, or transcribed every “papa-ooma-mow-mow” in the Trashmen’s Surfin’ Bird.”From Dionne Warwick to Plato, Jim Morrison to Bert Brecht, Conway Twitty to Miguel de Unamuno, Meltzer subverts high and low culture in his search for meaning, emotion, and codes in popular music. At once an earnest investigation and a crypto put-on, the book can be read for its nuggets of information and insights or for its humor. Here with Greil Marcus’s new introduction, yet another generation of readers can be outraged and inspired.
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