• Twilight of the Gods

  • A Journey to the End of Classic Rock
  • By: Steven Hyden
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (193 ratings)

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Twilight of the Gods

By: Steven Hyden
Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
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Publisher's Summary

The author of the critically acclaimed Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me offers an eye-opening and frank assessment of the state of classic rock, assessing its past and future, the impact it has had, and what its loss would mean to an industry, a culture, and a way of life.

Since the late 1960s, a legendary cadre of artists - including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Black Sabbath, and The Who - has revolutionized popular culture and the sounds of our lives. While their songs still get airtime and some of these bands continue to tour, idols are leaving the stage permanently. Can classic rock remain relevant as these legends die off, or will this major musical subculture fade away as many have before?

In this mix of personal memoir, criticism, and journalism, Steven Hyden stands witness as classic rock reaches the precipice. Traveling to the eclectic places where geriatric rockers are still making music, he talks to the artists and fans who have aged with them, explores the ways that classic rock has changed the culture, investigates the rise and fall of classic rock radio, and turns to live bootlegs, tell-all rock biographies, and even the liner notes of rock’s greatest masterpieces to tell the story of what this music meant, and how it will be remembered, for fans like himself.

Twilight of the Gods is also Hyden’s story. Celebrating his love of this incredible music that has taken him from adolescence to fatherhood, he ponders two essential questions: Is it time to give up on his childhood heroes, or can this music teach him about growing old with his hopes and dreams intact? And what can we all learn from rock gods and their music - are they ephemeral or eternal?

©2018 Steven Hyden (P)2018 HarperAudio

What listeners say about Twilight of the Gods

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

not what I had hoped

I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. I had hoped the book would be part elegy to, part dissection of what made rock music such a vital force for so long and what led to its marginalization in popular culture. Unfortunately, Steven Hyden has much more confidence in the inherent interest and generalizability of his own encounters with rock music as primary research than he should. What does it matter which of the three Springsteen concerts he attended in one tour was the best? Or how drunk he got at a Phish show? Or which Dylan song is his favorite? The result is that too-often the book comes off as either self-indulgent blogging or else lazy research—neither of which is edifying for either the author or reader. This uncertainty regarding intention also extends to questioning who the intended audience is. If the audience is long-time lovers of rock, then much of the storytelling is already well-trod with little fresh news. If the presumed audience is unfamiliar with the subject, then it will fail to convince of its importance. Ultimately, the definitive story on the subject of rock’s amazing capacity to maintain potency through the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s only to become sidelined in the aughts still waits to be told. Perhaps it works as something more like a love letter, but then it should have been called something like “Why I Still Love Rock.”

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Snarky

I expected to like this book because I am such a fan of the genre. What I didn't expect was for the author to be so snarky. It's not even that his opinions were so different from mine, I am open minded and willing to hear a differing opinion, that's how we learn -for example, he LOVES him some Bruce Springsteen - this was the one subject that interested me, as I'm not a fan of his voice and knew nothing about him, and the author makes Bruce interesting enough that I am actually going to purchase his autobiography Born To Run, as he sounds like a complex, kind, deep and very real person I would like to know more about. So, he REALLY likes Phish, while I spent two painful hours I can never get back (the tickets were free and I feel cheated) listening to this truly awful mess that, with every single identical-sounding song, wrapped each song up by whipping themselves into a loud and unpleasant frenzy that seemed endless - and he REALLY doesn't like the Eagles or Gene Simmons. I tend to concur about Simmons, but after about the third bitchy reference to his "sex addiction" , we GET it, enough already, the guy is egotistical and a womanizer, it's a note that is simply hit way too often. if you played The drinking game to every unpleasant reference about Simmons alone, you'd be drunk by "track 2" ( it's "track" instead of "chapter" ). The Eagles, I saw live several times from the very beginning of their career, and I was never disappointed. My boyfriend and I, both being musicians, were very impressed with their ability to play, put their instruments down, and rotate to play each others' instruments, and do it very well. He made several comments about "their" song Take It Easy. I'm not sure what his problem is with that song, but it's actually a Jackson Browne song, the Eagles just sang it, and a lot of people apparently liked the way they performed it because it was a fairly substantial success. He made an awful lot of comments like the following "Paul McCartney is older than many of the stadiums he plays in." Nasty and unnecessary. He makes countless similar mentions of the Stones being "really old". I have given this two stars because, despite how unpleasant i find the author's comments to be, he actually does write well.

5 people found this helpful

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An important book that is a must read for any real music lover

What an accomplishment. A book I’ll definitely revisit a few more times throughout the years just to be reminded of why music matters so much.
Thank you

4 people found this helpful

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The Longest "Rolling Stone" article that "Rolling Stone" never published

I suppose “Classic Rock”, so called, will be forever haunted by its Ur Nemesis, “Rolling Stone”; a pitiful magazine that assumed early on the role of “Star Maker”. Rolling Stone magazine knew better than you did of what you should pay attention to. Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced” was panned in the very first issue.

The author, Steven Hyden, seems to have read one too many issues of Rolling Stone. Listening to this is like listening to 8 hours of that magazine. He does have a flair for the vibe of that rag. The vibe? It goes like this: Take whatever artist is raking in the most money at the moment from the sales of their records and concerts, then assign someone to follow them around for — oh, about a week, and then write an article about why the fact that you, and everybody like you, are a fool for digging this artist, band, etc. “Rolling Stone” will tell you what is cool.

And in that way Steven Hyden, too, will try to do the same. The author gets credit for… for trying? I must give him some slack simply for being too damn young for the job - if not in Earth years, than certainly in years of some other kind. Steven. You weren’t there man!

The author gets everything right. He gets everything right because he parrots perfectly everything he was brainwashed to say and think about this music. But, ultimately, he gets everything completely wrong. Or rather, he simply doesn’t get it… period. In a word, he likes all the right stuff for all the wrong reasons.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent book

While I found the performers voice a bit annoying, Hyden proved once again to be a genuinely insightful critic no matter which topic he chooses to focus on.

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a self aware love letter to classic rock

not a fan of this narrator, but this is the book you want if you're looking for a self aware yet loving account of classic rock, particularly if you came to it later, like I did. this is the rare classic rock book not tied to boomer nostalgia.

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  • PK
  • 01-21-22

a nice perspective

wonderful book about a section of rock history and how it has changed and is changing still. This book explains the philosophy and challenges of what clasic rock is and where it came from. Fun for any music fan who wants to think a little deeper about the evolution and decline of rock music.

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Loved the introspection

I thought Hyden was awesome here. Validating without placating. Recommending to two friends tonight

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Good stuff...for the most part

Great book. Funny, informative, interesting, and thought-provoking.

Except for the forced political pandering in one chapter and at the end. Skip that chapter and the last ten minutes and you’ll be gold.

And I’m a fan of things being wrapped up and seeing how a whole comes together. Oh well. Courtney Barnett sucks and music is good or bad because it’s good or bad, not because of the sex or sexual preference or race of the person singing. Propping up terrible writers like Courtney Barnett only cheapens the rock brand, makes it less interesting to converts, and makes it impossible for the next Janis Joplin or Patti Smith to get noticed - or to get judged based on their merits, not their plumbing fixtures.

Sad!

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A fun classic rock journey

It was fun going down memory lane with the author! A lot of the stories he told struck just the right nostalgic chord with me.

The only real negative is that discussion forum and twitter debate tone and political content crept into the story in a few chapters, but I guess that’s part of the story too.

An enjoyable listen for sure- recommended for any rock fan.