A mind-expanding dive into a lost chapter of 1968, featuring the famous and forgotten: Van Morrison, folkie-turned-cult-leader Mel Lyman, Timothy Leary, James Brown, and many more Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend, a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. In his first book, acclaimed rock musician and journalist Ryan H. Walsh unearths the album's fascinating backstory--along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed it: Boston 1968.On the 50th anniversary of that tumultuous year, Walsh's book follows a criss-crossing cast of musicians and visionaries, artists and "hippie entrepreneurs," from a young Tufts English professor who walks into a job as a host for TV's wildest show (one episode required two sets, each tuned to a different channel) to the mystically inclined owner of radio station WBCN, who believed he was the reincarnation of a scientist from Atlantis. Most penetratingly powerful of all is Mel Lyman, the folk-music star who decided he was God, then controlled the lives of his many followers via acid, astrology, and an underground newspaper called Avatar.A mesmerizing group of boldface names pops to life in Astral Weeks James Brown quells tensions the night after Martin Luther King is assassinated; the real-life crimes of the Boston Strangler come to the movie screen via Tony Curtis; Howard Zinn testifies for Avatar in the courtroom. From life-changing concerts and chilling crimes, to acid experiments and hippie entrepreneurs, Astral Weeks is the secret, wild history of a unique time and place....
|Title||:||Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968|
|Number of Pages||:||368 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Astral » Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968|
Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 Reviews
Not for the casual fan of Van the Man, but people who love Astral Weeks (the album) or follow the Boston music scene will appreciate this detailed history. I reviewed Astral Weeks (the book) for The Current.
I realize that an author is not required to write the book that any reader would prefer from him/her, but rather should follow his/her muse and be true to that. However, with a book entitled Astral Weeks, one really might expect a really thorough study of Van Morrison's seminal album. If that is what a reader expects (as I did), this is NOT the book. Readers must wait for ch. 11 (final chapter before the epilogue) for even a step by step explanation of the three recording sessions. Walsh does al ...more
This book talked about a LOT of things I love. I did want to hear a little more about the general population and their experience of Boston in 1968 in contrast to the hippies and cult members and musicians he talks about here. The chapter on movies and the Boston strangler was my favorite because of that bigger picture stuff.
I don't know for whom this book is intended. The title is clearly designed to lure fans of Van Morrison, and the lure worked on me. However, there is actually very little about Morrison and his work in this book. Instead there is a lot of random information about people and events in Boston around the same time that Morrison was there. There are gangsters, a folk music cult, happenings, psychedelic public television, a bank robbery and LSD. I couldn't have cared less about any of it and abandone ...more
Should have read the description more carefully. If you care about Van Morrison or folk music scene in Boston in 1968, it's probably good. I'm not at all interested in either.
I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways.
There were so many interesting stories and back stories in this book, that it either needed to be longer or to shorten its scope. The Fort Hill Community alone could have taken up the entire book, as could Van Morrison and his time in Boston. Trying to mash them together, though in time period they really were in sync, does them both a disservice. Then you throw in everything else that was happening at around the same time--Dylan goes ...more