This book has been on my shelf for years, but jumped up to the top of the heap with the unexpected passing of David Bowie at the start of this year. That period, musically speaking, has always been pretty interesting. It saw the birth of lots of musical movements. But it’s one I didn’t know a whole lot about aside from the explosion of awesome sounds that came from it.
The book covers the early careers of Bowie, Pop and Reed starting in the late sixties and their varying associations with Andy Warhol’s factory members and follows each man through the end of the 1970s. Each man had his own unique sound and his own unique demons that followed him through the decade.
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It wasn’t a bad book by any means. But my interest in the subject matter was much higher than my interest in this book. Perhaps it was Thompson’s writing, which often comes off like so many pretentious music snobs. Maybe, with regard to my musical heroes, I don’t like seeing how the sausage is made. Perhaps I’d just prefer to believe that Bowie magically plucked Space Oddity out of the aether rather than find out it was a gimmick song written after the first moon walk. Regardless, if I were to recommend a memoir from this era, I’d recommend Just Kids by Patti Smith first.