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

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

by David Hajdu

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Overview

The Beach Boys have been rolling, like the tide their great songs evoke, for more than thirty years, reaching professional peaks and tragic personal depths. In this electrifying account Steven Gaines reveals the gothic tale of violence, addiction, greed, genius, madness, and rock 'n' roll behind the wholesome, surf-and-sun image. Through candid interviews with close friends, family, and the Beach Boys themselves, Heroes and Villains portrays and evaluates all those who propelled the California myth, and the group who sang about it, into worldwide prominence: Murry Wilson, the corrosive father who abused them as children and exploited them as adults; Dennis Wilson, who explored every avenue of excess (including welcoming the entire Manson family into his home) to his inevitable self-destruction; the Wilsons' cousin, frontman Mike Love, whose devotion to Eastern religion could not quell his violent temper; the wives (more than ten), mistresses, managers, and producers who consumed huge pieces of the "musical pie"; and of course, the band's artistic center, Brian Wilson, the mentally fragile musical genius who achieved so much and then so little. With dozens of photos, Heroes and Villains recounts the bitter saga of the American dream realized and distorted and the music that survived.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786751044
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 1,077,401
File size: 549 KB

About the Author

Steven Gaines has written many books, including Obsession: The Life and Times of Calvin Klein and, as coauthor, The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles.

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

Customer Reviews

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Heroes and Villains; The True Story of the Beach Boys 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
THOUGH SOME OF HIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN DISPUTED BY OTHER BEACH BOYS SCHOLARS,GAINES'BOOK IS THE MOST INTERESTING VERSION I HAVE READ OF THIS STORY. HE GIVES MOST OF THEIR LATER MUSIC A SHORT SHIFT BUT THE BAND'S STORY IS TOLD HERE IN THE MOST LINEAR AND EASY TO UNDERSTAND WAY. ITS ALSO VERY EASY TO GO BACK AND RESEARCH THROUGH THE BOOK.OVERALL WELL WORTH YOUR TIME AND MONEY
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good chronological description of their lives. Liked the way the author included other artists, songs, and events along the timeline. Found the book good reading and anything but boring. However, I have less respect for the Beach Boys now after learning their lives were so problem-ridden and their behavior incorrigible, all brought on by themselves. A good, true story about how some musicians are unable to handle fame.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even if you are not a Beach Boys fan (and I am not), you will absolutely enjoy this book. A true insight into the tragic, turbulent and tumultuous lives of this legendary 60's band and its tortured leader and creative genius, Brian Wilson. From the physical and mental abuse the Wilson brothers suffered at hands of their cruel and controlling father, Murry, to fame and success to drug abuse and just plain bad behavior. This book is a must read! I could not put it down --- and believe it or not, I've read it three times! Order it today!