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Unlike their rock 'n' roll predecessors many rock musicians of the mid sixties came to consider themselves as artists self consciously presenting themselves as creators of a new sonic medium Sixties Rock offers a provocative look at these artists and their innovations in two pivotal rock genres garage rock and psychedelic music Delving into everything from harmony to hardware Michael Hicks shows what makes this music tick and what made it uniue in its time Looking at bands like the Doors the Rolling Stones the Yardbirds and Love Hicks puts legends and flashes in the pan alike through a rigorous analysis that places their music within rock history while exploring its place in the oft swirling contexts of the time


10 thoughts on “Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions (Music in American Life)

  1. says:

    I've danced around with this book for a bit having started it at least three times and never getting past the first chapter This time I made it through all but the chapters devoted to close readings one of Hey Joe and the other of the Doors' Light My Fire I really value the chapters on the voice of singers in garage rock and the role of fuzz distortion I'd hoped for out of the chapter on psych rock and the closing chapter on modified endings to psych songs I also find it off putting when advanced musicological terms mixolydian moving to phrygian are used to discuss garage rock It's just a hard vocabulary to reconcile with the barbarian impulse of the garage punk and feels like an awkward attempt to fit it into the academy But maybe I favor culturaltechnologymedia studies of sound and music than musicological treatments per se so I'm acknowledging that a kind of bias might be involved here on my partThe chapter on psych rock was especially disappointing as Hicks didn't seem as familiar with the music much less with psychedelics and their relationship to music Hicks borrowed three enticing sounding terms from Leary to describe the psychedelic state but never really puts them to good use and relies too much on anonymous testimonies of psychedelic effects that are then shoehorned into descriptions of the music Ultimately the chapter felt vague and second hand Moreover some of the information there and there wasn't a whole lot was just weird like referring to Austin's 13th Floor Elevators as a San Francisco band that epitomized the San Francisco Sound Likewise I was disappointed to read that one of the traits attributed to psych rock was a slowness of tempo in the songs epitomized by the Vanilla Fudge's You Keep Me Hangin' On of all things or the Doors ponderous tracks A fair number of songs by the 13th Floor Elevators alone would suggest otherwise but there are countless other examples And while it seems that Hicks knows his garage rock I was surprised that he didn't address of the hybrid psychgarage bands like the Chocolate Watchband or Electric Prunes both of whom have plenty of accelerated psychedelic rave upsThe closing chapter on modified endings provided a useful taxonomy of psychedelic maneuvers but it didn't reflect on how this served a psychedelic effect or objective And again I was hoping that things might tie back around to the garage particularly through a closing synthesis of garage psych The book felt brief and could have used its own creative conclusionAll in all despite some nuggets of wisdom this was a bit of a disappointing read


  2. says:

    I read this as background research for an exhibit I'm working on It was way into the music theory of sixties rock than the cultural context which is what I had been hoping the book would be about so in the end it wasn't all that useful to me Still he's got some interesting arguments about rock and roll in the 1960s the section on The Doors' Light My Fire is the best


  3. says:

    The chapter about the history of the song Hey Joe and the one covering the way that The Doors gradually changed Light My Fire over time stand out