Punk rock and hip-hop, disco and salsa, the loft jazz scene and the downtown composers known as Minimalists - in the mid-1970s, New York City was a laboratory where all the major styles of modern music were reinvented, all at once, from one block to the next, by musicians who knew, admired, and borrowed from one another. Crime was everywhere, the government was broke, and the city’s infrastructure was collapsing; but rent was cheap, and the possibilities for musical exploration were limitless.
Love Goes to Buildings on Fire is the first book to tell the full story of the era’s music scenes and the phenomenal and surprising ways they intersected. From New Year’s Day 1973 to New Year’s Eve 1977, the book moves panoramically from post-Dylan Greenwich Village, to the arson-scarred South Bronx barrios where salsa and hip-hop were created, to the Lower Manhattan lofts where jazz and classical music were reimagined, to ramshackle clubs like CBGB and the Gallery, where rock and dance music were hot-wired for a new generation.
As they remade the music, the musicians at the center of the book invented themselves: Willie Colón and the Fania All-Stars renting Yankee Stadium to take salsa to the masses, New Jersey locals Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith claiming the jungle land of Manhattan as their own, Grandmaster Flash transforming the turntable into a musical instrument, and David Byrne and Talking Heads proving that rock music “ain’t no foolin’ around”.
Will Hermes was there - venturing from his native Queens to the small, dark rooms where the revolution was taking place - and in Love Goes to Buildings on Fire he captures the creativity, drive, and full-out lust for life of the great New York musicians of those years, who knew that the music they were making would change the world.
©2011 Will Hermes (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Love Goes to Buildings on Fire is an almost perfect portrait of New York music culture: specific yet comprehensive, enthusiastic yet objective, and as informed as it is personal. The four-page section of what (seemingly) every interesting person in NYC was doing on the night of the ’77 blackout could have been a book unto itself.” (Chuck Klosterman, New York Times best-selling author)
“Meticulously researched and engaging.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Revelatory.” (Entertainment Weekly)
Yes to Will Hermes... Adam Verner mispronounced many many names within the book. I am shocked that the author and Audible let this go without making sure at least most were pronounced correctly .
Not based on this one...
If you're interested in the art and culture of 1970s NYC, you'll love the book, but you will also laugh out loud more than once at Verner's mispronunciations.
The paperback caught my eye some years back and I liked it so much I had to get the audiobook. It's a text tht reads like a novel with multiple characters. We follow Philip Glass Steve Reich, Bruce Sspringsteen, Grandmaster Flash, Patti Smith, Lou Reed etc etc, through their development in the time span 1970-75. There is SO much information here I am listening for a third time right now. But I always do this. In my opinion, a good book is only good if it makes you want to re-read. I mean, considering how easy it is with audio.
What's so great about this text is that it covers all styles from punk over minimalism ,DJing, salsa, to jazz. For example the New York loft scene, the Bronx street parties with power tapped from street lights.
I used to live in NYC so there's a special affection there but this will be thrilling for any music fan.
Well written / read, but for something claiming to trace groundbreaking years, it is provincial and nearly claustrophic. Imagine a book constructed entirely of footnotes. I expected something larger.
Yes. I'd at least go, as I did with this, halfway.
Yes. Movie might be better.
Worth a listen if you temper your expectations, and probably wonderful if you grew up in NYC in the early 70's listening to groups this marginal but convinced you were at the center of the universe.
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