Waiting for the Sun
Barney Hoskyns
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Buy *Waiting for the Sun: A Rock and Roll History of Los Angeles* by Barney Hoskyns online

Waiting for the Sun: A Rock and Roll History of Los Angeles
Barney Hoskyns
Backbeat Books
420 pages
March 2009
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Though he is an Englishman, author Barney Hoskyns writes about American music and culture just about better than anyone. Here, his hardcover book from 1996 is available in paperback with an updated chapter.

Here, in his own words, is what Waiting for the Sun is about.

"What I'm really attempting in Waiting For the Sun is a study of the peculiarly Californian interplay between light and darkness, or good and evil. If the history of the LA music scene can be traced partway along a line that stretches from Doris Day to Charles Manson via Day's son Terry Melcher and his sometime-surfer pals the Beach Boys, then the book's aim is to explore the reasons why such an unlikely chain of relationships should unfold there. It will become clear as the narrative progresses that my own LA heroes are the ones whose music most obviously combines the light with the dark: the Brian Wilsons and Phil Spectors (recently sent to prison for the rest of his life for second degree murder) and Arthur Lees of the world."
Hoskyns has an uncanny ability to untangle knots, insert pieces in the puzzle, and in his own words "Explain ... why." Why the music of Love intertwines with Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, and how that resonates all over the music of the Beach Boys, and so many more connections beautifully explained.

He does miss the mark when he says of Van Halen, "At the eleventh hour ... [they] decided against becoming a punk band." The legendary four-piece hailing from Pasadena, California, never had any intentions of becoming a punk band, much less the musical inadequacies needed for playing that style of music. In fact, "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," a track from their self-titled first album, was a direct stab at and parody of what they thought punk music was. That song is about as heavy as anything to emerge from the hard rock scene growing in Hollywood in the late '70s and '80s.

But this is still an excellent book for putting everything in its place. Barney is a master, and if you need to be schooled by anyone, there is no one better.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Deborah Adams, 2009

Also by Barney Hoskyns:

buy *Waiting for the Sun: A Rock and Roll History of Los Angeles* online
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