Heroes and Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics, and Culture

Heroes and Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics, and Culture

by David Hajdu

Paperback(Original)

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Overview

Heroes and Villains is the first collection of essays by David Hajdu, award-winning author of The Ten-Cent Plague, Positively 4th Street, and Lush Life. Eclectic and controversial, Hajdu’s essays take on topics as varied as pop music, jazz, the avant-garde,
comic books, and our downloading culture. The heart of Heroes and Villains is an extraordinary new piece of cultural rediscovery, original to this book. It tells the untold story of one of the most important—and, ultimately, one of the most tragic—figures in American popular music, Billy Eckstine. Through exhaustive new research, Hajdu shows how this great, forgotten singer, once more popular than Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, transformed American music by combining sex appeal, sophistication, and black machismo—in the era of segregation. The cost, for Eckstine, was his career—and nearly his life.

Other essays in this expansive book deal with topical and surprising subjects like Beyoncé, Bobby Darin, Kanye West, Marjane Satrapi, Woody Guthrie, Will Eisner, the White Stripes, Elmer Fudd, Elvis Costello, Harry Partch, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, and more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306818332
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Edition description: Original
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

David Hajdu is the music critic for The New Republic and the author of The Ten-Cent Plague, Positively 4th Street, and Lush Life. He is a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, and he lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Foreword David Yaffe ix

I B'S World 1

The Man Who Was Too Hot Billy Eckstine 3

II Whose Standards? 19

Mos Def and the American Songbook 21

Rodgers and Hart 27

Two Lives Sammy Davis, Jr. 34

Anita O'Day 40

Roman Candle Bobby Darin 45

Susannah McCorkle 50

III Blues and The Abstract Truth 55

A Hundred Years of Blues 57

Alan Lomax 66

Dinah Washington: Queen 74

Ray Charles 81

IV Growing Up 87

Elvis Costello at Fifty 89

Brian Wilson and the Lost Masterpiece 96

Sting the Lutenist 103

Joe Sacco and Daniel Clowes 108

The White Stripes 116

Abbey Lincoln and Mark Murphy 122

Three Women in Pop Taylor Swift Beyonce Lucinda Williams 128

V Cultural Machinery 135

The Blogging of American Pop 137

MySpace 144

The Music of Starbucks 150

Rick Rubin and Kanye West 156

Open-Source Remixing 162

VI Life with the Lions 169

Woody Guthrie Ramblin' Man 171

Will Eisner 178

Elvis and the Colonel 187

Ken Burns and the Great Men of Jazz 194

The Life John Lennon 201

Paul McCartney's Chaos and Creation 206

Joni Mitchell's Shine 212

Wynton Marsalis 218

VII Otherwise Engaged 237

Harry Partch 239

Elmer Fudd 250

Walt Whitman and Fred Hersch: The Jazz Leaves of Grass 255

Michel Petrucciani 261

Book of Longing Philip Glass Leonard Cohen 270

Jules Feiffer at the Village Voice 276

John Zorn 283

Josh Groban 289

Marjane Satrapi 295

Acknowledgments 305

Credits 307

Index 309

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