In 1966, twenty-two year old Goldstein walked into the Village Voice and invented the job he wanted: rock critic. During his time doing this, he had some amazing adventures and met a lot of the great rock innovators. He became friends with Janis Joplin, was a passenger in a car driven by a completely stoned Dennis Wilson (who at one point in the trip said “Whoa! The road is doing these weird things.”), and had the Velvet Underground play at his wedding. But in this time of social upheaval, music came to seem less important than politics and protests. His beat changed to protests, he became friends with Abbie Hoffman, and hung with the Black Panthers. Later he became a chronicler of pop culture, and then a worker for gay rights.
The book really only spans a few years, but so much happened during that time- the core of the hippie subculture came and went. Music went from being all about the music to selling out to commercial interests. The drug scene went from happy, smiling potheads to bikers selling the hard, injectable stuff. The innocence was lost.
The book is a personal memoir, but Goldstein’s life is inextricably meshed with so much of the history of the time that you cannot tease them apart. He changed as the times did.
I loved reading this book; I was born in 1954 so I was too young to appreciate much of what was happening in the world even though I was aware of it. This was a nice trip back through time, viewed through a critical eye.
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