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The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll by…

The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll

by Eric Segalstad

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I feel sorry for kids these days. They've got no rock heroes of their own, and must look back at the performers of yesteryear for inspiration. In many cases, the rock stars in questions (if they were still living) would be old enough to be their grandparents.

For this generation, the book 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock and Roll celebrates iconic musicians (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain--the usual suspects) who died at the age of 27 or thereabouts. The book is interestingly, if distractingly, illustrated but the text is incoherent and skips around a lot. Odd details are emphasized. For example, a brief section on Brian Jones describes in detail a scene in which an ex-girlfriend pleads for child support, but I had a hard time finding the place in the book where Jones' mysterious drowning death, and the many theories surrounding it, were actually discussed.

This is a book for browsing rather than reading straight through. ( )
  akblanchard | Oct 29, 2010 |
From the first time I heard about this book on a podcast, I felt mixed feeling. I immediately requested it from the library, but when it came in I was hesitant to pick it up. I thought that it would be dry and uninteresting, like many books written about rock and roll. (It never fails to astound me that though rock and roll has the most interesting and exciting history, writers always seem to make it dry and boring as if they are writing about the history of lint.) Eventually, I bit the bullet and picked it up and from just from the cover I knew that it would be a wild ride!

The book is about the rock and roll myth/legend that all influential and groundbreaking rock musicians die at the age of 27. Such casualties include Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain (just to name a few). The book gives a brief biography of each of these famous, and at times infamous, singers while showing their impact on history and culture. The authors also try to integrate the myth, its history, and culture into the story of each artist.However, the most impressive aspect of this book is the artwork. Every page has a different theme and design; each of which is beautiful. At times, it even distracts the reader from the narrative. Still, it ensures that the entire book feels like rock and roll with flashy colors, shocking collages, and thought provoking cartoons.

Such a book is a huge undertaking, which is why I was not surprised when it fell short. Though the beginning was exceptional, the biographies of each person eventually melded together and became confusing. I thought that each chapter would focus on the biography of a different musician. Instead, each singer is introduced only to be dropped within a few pages and picked up again in the next couple of pages. The authors also jump around in time which is quite confusing for someone who is not completely familiar with the lives of each musician. I enjoyed how the narrative wove the myth into each person’s story but found that it led to some tangential issues that did not need to be addressed in the book such as the history of Dionysus. There are supplemental stories and tid bits in the margins, most of which help the reader understand what is being stated in the overall narrative. However, some of the marginal stories are misleading and just distract the reader from the larger story. As previously stated, the drawings and designs on each page are gorgeous and make the reader feel as if he/she is immersed in the rock and roll culture. The beauty of these pages also has negative side effects because it distracts the reader. Personally, I found myself turning the pages not because of the narrative but to see the next drawings. Overall, I think that the premise of this book is exceptionally fascinating but this particular book is a bit too confusing and distracting to be as effective as I had hoped.

www.iamliteraryaddicted.blogspot.com ( )
  sorell | May 19, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0615189644, Perfect Paperback)

When Delta bluesman Robert Johnson died poisoned by whiskey in 1938, he started a mysterious pattern of premature deaths among rock & roll musicians at age 27.

The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll tells the fascinating and complete story about music's most eclectic phenomenon. In addition to stories & anecdotes about the lives and legacies of thirty-four 27s, the book delves into numerical and astrological meanings behind the number 27.
Adding tension to a gripping narrative, The 27s is beautifully illustrated throughout and the art complements or create visual tangents intended to draw the reader further in to The 27s' universe.

Inventive use of maps, timelines, and sidebars aid the reader with a sense of place, additional information, pop cultural placeholders, and more.

The 27s include crooner Jesse Belvin ("Earth Angel," "Goodnight My Love"), Rudy Lewis of the Drifters, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Malcolm Hale of Spanky And Our Gang, Alan Wilson from Canned Heat, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Arlester Christian of Dyke And the Blazers, Jim Morrison, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan of the Grateful Dead, Pete Ham of Badfinger, Gary Thain of Uriah Heep, Roger Lee Durham of Bloodstone, Helmut Köllen of Triumvirat, Chris Bell of Big Star, D. Boon of Minutemen, Pete de Freitas of Echo & the Bunnymen, Mia Zapata of the Gits, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Kristin Pfaff of Hole, Raymond "Freaky Tah" Rogers of Lost Boyz, Sean McCabe of Ink & Dagger, Jeremy Michael Ward of De Facto and The Mars Volta, Bryan Ottoson of American Head Charge, Valentin Elizalde.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:58 -0400)

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