Robert Hilburn is a famous music critic that worked at the Los Angeles Times for many years, writing reviews of albums and concerts and discussing rock and similarly-inspired music. This book takes a look at Hilburn's career and the many stars he has interviewed and befriended. It shows who Hilburn was inspired by and the artists he inspired.
Hilburn shares stories from all rock legends that have become household names within the past 40 years. His focuses are on Elvis, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, and U2 but he also touches on other influences in the industry like Elton John, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, Ice Cube, Willie Nelson, and Jack White. Subjects range from drugs and addition to song writing to sneaking chocolate.
Not having grown up in the LA area, I hadn't heard of Hilburn before I read this book. I also grew up after most of these artists had already become legends. You don't need to be a rock history buff to enjoy this book though. I'm just a general fan of rock and really enjoyed the little facts and sound bytes from the most celebrated men and women of the genre.
Hilburn also keeps his work relevant by expanding his musical repertoire to include rap music, which he seems to appreciate even though it feels like he's surprised that he does. Reading Hilburn's thoughts on the similarities between rock and late 80s/early 90s rap was quite interesting.
Despite the fact that Hilburn, by all rights, should be bragging about the friends he has made and the influence he has had, Hilburn never comes across as a music snob. Rather, in his most poignant point, he hopes that everyone can find music that inspires them in the same way rock and country has inspired him.
First Line: "John Lennon raced into Yoko Ono's home office in the mammoth old Dakota building with a copy of Donna Summer's new single, 'The Wanderer'. "