Twilight of the Gods
A New York Times Book Review "New and Noteworthy" selectionOne of Newsweek's 50 Best Books of 2018“A wise meditation on why classic rock stars keep trucking, both on the road and in our dreams. Every page is an irresistible argument starter.”—Rob Sheffield, Rolling StoneThe author of the critically acclaimed Your Favorite Band is Killing Me offers an eye-opening exploration of the state of classic rock, 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, its 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, Steven Hyden asks.In this mix of personal memoir, criticism, and journalism, 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?

Twilight of the Gods Details

TitleTwilight of the Gods
Author
ReleaseMay 8th, 2018
PublisherDey Street Books
ISBN-139780062657152
Rating
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, History, Culture, Pop Culture, Autobiography, Memoir

Twilight of the Gods Review

  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Twilight of the Gods by Steven Hyden is a 2018 Dey Street Books publication. Sex, Drugs, and Rock -n- Roll …This is yet another of a spate of recently released books, lamenting the death of rock music, seeming to finally admit and accept, that the rock icons still living are the last of a dying breed- no pun intended. In the past couple of years, we have lost some heavy hitters, which has left us to face the sobering reality that once those huge icons like Paul McCartney, The Stones, and Bob Dyl Twilight of the Gods by Steven Hyden is a 2018 Dey Street Books publication. Sex, Drugs, and Rock -n- Roll …This is yet another of a spate of recently released books, lamenting the death of rock music, seeming to finally admit and accept, that the rock icons still living are the last of a dying breed- no pun intended. In the past couple of years, we have lost some heavy hitters, which has left us to face the sobering reality that once those huge icons like Paul McCartney, The Stones, and Bob Dylan are gone- the last vestiges of the rock star mythology will die with them. This book doesn’t delve into the music so much, but is more of an examination of who, why and how rock stars built a legendary, creative, mythos that served to protect the image and longevity of the rock industry, especially during the sixties and seventies. The author confesses straight up that he did not, in fact, grow up during the era that produced the epic music we refer to now as ‘Classic Rock.’. He studied it, admired it, respected it, read books about it, and maybe even obsessed over it like people my age did in rock music’s prime. But, my son, and my husband, have watched every documentary, every fictionalized movie, tons of history channel programs and read countless books about world war two. This may make them feel like experts or like an aficionado on the subject, but nothing they can learn from doing all that can match the experience of being there, living during that time period, or serving in the armed forces. This is often the way I felt while reading this book. I was there, I grew up to 'classic' rock, and some of the author’s philosophies, conjectures, analyzations, presumptions and opinions contrasted sharply with my memories and opinions. Although presented with an air of humor, there were a couple of occasions when I felt my face go hot with indignation and could literally feel my blood pressure spike. In some places, where my memory conflicted with the author’s assessment, I was able to hop on over to YouTube for a quick refresher. Bob didn’t look discomfited to me during ‘My Back Pages’ at ‘Bob Fest”. I don’t know if David Bowie ever had a healthy glow about him, always looking gaunt and near starvation, but so much of that was makeup, and part of David’s genius at giving people false impressions.The author tries a bit too hard to add a dose of humor, which fell flat on several occasions, but he did manage to coax a smile from me here and there, reminding me not to take everything so seriously, to lighten up and enjoy the trip down memory lane. The author did make some valid points I could only have conceded to in hindsight, such the success and popularity of bands like Styx, Journey and Foreigner- bands I LOVED back in high school- and still listen to them today, on occasion. So, what were some things that helped create the rock star myth?Neil Young's performing at the Band’s farewell show- ‘The Last Waltz’ - with a rock of cocaine stuffed up his nose, the legendary creation and death of Ziggy Stardust, the fascination with ‘Mr. Crowley’, the destruction of motel rooms, various sordid tales involving groupies, epic and copious drug and alcohol use and abuse, and the travails of life on the road. But, of course, it wasn’t all just creativity, acting, performances, and talent that propelled some into the international spotlight. Some money exchanging hands, some deliberate promotions of an album, while ignoring equally talented groups or music, gave a few mediocre bands a big push forward. You didn’t think this was a fairy tale did you? Of course, the rock industry, DJ’s, radio, and music studios were corrupt, which is a side the author also briefly touches on, but it is not exactly news to many people, at this point.One thing that really stands out like a sore thumb, especially in hindsight, is how racist and misogynist classic rock is. Rock didn’t exactly start off that way- if you’ll recall- Little Richard and Chuck Berry- in the fifties were listed as rock stars- but this was not necessarily the case with 'Classic' Rock of the seventies, in particular. It was all rock music in one form or another, but it seems anyone who was not a white male was listed in some other category or genre. Women, with a few notable exceptions, were not considered ‘real rock’. Some chapters address the occasion when even the zenith of rock stars made bad albums, but they might be so bad they are still good- and how rock music has played a role in politics and spirituality, and other heavy subjects, such as life and death. At the end of the day, people have been claiming rock was dead, practically since the phrase was first coined, but it has managed to pull itself up from the ashes time and time again to prove the critics wrong. But, as for me, this time I think it might finally be time to wave the white flag and surrender- not the music, mind you, but the mythos surrounding the rock star. As long as the music lives on, as long as we still have living proof of the influence of the music and the artist, the magic can still be conjured up. It might continue on for a long time after our rock heroes are all gone, at least while there are people like Steven out there who are working to keep the myths and the legends alive in our minds and hearts, even if, like gossip, it's hard to recognize it once it circles back around to you. But, as time passes, for those of us who were a part of classic rock before it was considered ‘Classic, it’s hard to capture its essence, to bottle it, and release to future generations. It somehow gets lost in translation, is not completely understood, and will sadly continue to lose its power and strength. When that song streams on your device, if it doesn’t conjure up a memory, it doesn’t bring back a feeling or create an aura around events or reignite a passion or atmosphere for you, then you can’t really ‘get’ it- not unless you lived through it- unless you were there. And man, does that make me sound old! How depressing. Rock music is still around, it still has an audience, and will for a long time to come, but it has been knocked off its pedestal, is humbled, and forced to compete in a way it never has before. But, as it has time and time and time again, it could rise up, could once again capture the public’s imagination, set the standards for fashions, opinions, and attitudes, but I don’t know that it will ever have the same power and influence of the music and rock stars that encapsulated ‘Classic Rock’. While this book has been praised and critically acclaimed by some, for me, this was almost a bittersweet journey. The author obviously loves his subject, and considers himself an authority on it, but I almost felt as though my memories were the victim of a retelling of events, a skewed view of my personal experiences, told with an air of flippancy, that reduced the intensity of the very atmosphere the author is trying to explain to the reader. One part of me enjoyed seeing events from the viewpoint of someone who, although they are in awe of the classic rock era, is able to analyze it with a more critical eye. But, on the other hand, I feel almost offended, searching for my lost sense of humor, struggling to laugh at myself. So, like the icons that are slowly fizzling away from the public’s consciousness, I am left with the frank realization that my time and place has passed, and is fizzling right along with them. The author intended this book to be fun, a sort of fan- boy homage, an ode to the rock star, and he meant well, I’m sure. If you look at it from the right angle, it is informative, and even thought provoking, and certainly has its moments of entertainment and nostalgia.
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    Twilight of the Gods is an awesome read from cover to cover. Definitely enjoyed pretty much every page and will read it again down the road. This book is an ode to the art for, known as classic rock and a must read for anyone who grew up before the advent of Napster and Spotify changed the music world. Hyden draws the period from Sgt. Pepper to now as the classic rock period and sees that era changing because people now make playlists and don't buy albums, which used to occupy a hallowed place i Twilight of the Gods is an awesome read from cover to cover. Definitely enjoyed pretty much every page and will read it again down the road. This book is an ode to the art for, known as classic rock and a must read for anyone who grew up before the advent of Napster and Spotify changed the music world. Hyden draws the period from Sgt. Pepper to now as the classic rock period and sees that era changing because people now make playlists and don't buy albums, which used to occupy a hallowed place in our apartment living rooms. You'd check out someone's record collection when you visited or dated them to see what cool stuff they had or what crass commercial crap they were sporting. Music is becoming less categorized, less divided. And, the old rock arena dinosaurs are dying off. And, their latest concerts are possibly their last with a lineup of young substitutes and nephews replacing former band members. But what's fun about this book - which is just a blast to read - is all the discussions about Led Zeppelin vs. Floyd. About the big albums and he endless Rolling Stones lists. Chapters delve into The Rolling Stones, the Doors, Black Sabbath, Phish, Prince, the commercial success of corporate rock (REO and Chicago and Styx), etc, etc. Thanks to Harper Collins for providing a copy for review.
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  • Gus Sanchez
    January 1, 1970
    The main takeaway from Steven Hyden’s fantastic and much-deserved meditation of classic rock is that the mythology of what constitutes classic rock is greater than its sad and sordid truth. As our heroes have either departed this mortal coil (Bowie, Prince, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen, etc.) or are contemplating retirement, we now find ourselves reckoning with what classic rock truly means. Hyden presents several illuminating (and hilarious) arguments on what Led Zeppelin and Keith Richards and Bru The main takeaway from Steven Hyden’s fantastic and much-deserved meditation of classic rock is that the mythology of what constitutes classic rock is greater than its sad and sordid truth. As our heroes have either departed this mortal coil (Bowie, Prince, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen, etc.) or are contemplating retirement, we now find ourselves reckoning with what classic rock truly means. Hyden presents several illuminating (and hilarious) arguments on what Led Zeppelin and Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen mean to us: surrogate fathers, road-weary keepers of solitary truths, magnificent fuck-ups whose stories serve as cautionary tales. From these, both the bands/artists and their fans have cultivated a mythology that will perhaps stand the test of time. Written as both critical essay and a love letter, “Twilight of the Gods” brilliantly explains what fandom truly means. Highly recommended.
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  • Donkey21
    January 1, 1970
    Read this very quickly and liked it a lot. Hyden tackles all the classic rock mythology of performers like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Springsteen and Tom Petty. The tone is not mournful, more wistful. Hyden is a very fluid writer and he writes bothe entertainingly and with insight.
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  • Stefan Fergus
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*A lot of great stuff, that I really connected with, but also a fair amount that I didn't - mainly, because of the bands covered. When it was a band I was familiar with, I was all-in; when I wasn't familiar with the band, or not a fan of their work, then my attention drifted. Also, the first few chapters could get a bit bogged down with setting things up for the later chapters.If you're a fan of music, I'm sure you'll find a lot to like, but sometimes this will depend on your interest in the 3.5*A lot of great stuff, that I really connected with, but also a fair amount that I didn't - mainly, because of the bands covered. When it was a band I was familiar with, I was all-in; when I wasn't familiar with the band, or not a fan of their work, then my attention drifted. Also, the first few chapters could get a bit bogged down with setting things up for the later chapters.If you're a fan of music, I'm sure you'll find a lot to like, but sometimes this will depend on your interest in the artists covered.
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  • John Spiller
    January 1, 1970
    To put "Twilight of the Gods" in a perspective that Steven Hyden would appreciate: it is the "Goat's Head Soup" of rock books. Let me explain.If you have an interest in "Twilight of the Gods," you are undoubtedly familiar with the Rolling Stones' "Goats Head Soup". "Goats Head Soup" is many things -- underrated and overrated -- precisely because it contains both great songs and terrible songs. (This is the band that created "Exile on Main Street"?)Hyden's "Twilight of the Gods" alternates betwee To put "Twilight of the Gods" in a perspective that Steven Hyden would appreciate: it is the "Goat's Head Soup" of rock books. Let me explain.If you have an interest in "Twilight of the Gods," you are undoubtedly familiar with the Rolling Stones' "Goats Head Soup". "Goats Head Soup" is many things -- underrated and overrated -- precisely because it contains both great songs and terrible songs. (This is the band that created "Exile on Main Street"?)Hyden's "Twilight of the Gods" alternates between pithy and accurate taxonomic dissections of "classic rock" and boring hagiography of "Dad rock" like Bruce Springsteen. When Hyden examines how "classic rock" came to exist, I found myself nodding in agreement. When he posits his five most important rock shows, it set my teeth on edge. (Altamont, really?)Hyden's regional bias is also unmistakable. He spends considerable time breaking down second-tier Midwest classic rock, but he never mentions Lynyrd Skynyrd or ZZ Top.Please take my review with a grain of salt. If you grew up listening to AOR on FM radio in the 1970's, still like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, and like "newer" bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, I think you will enjoy this book immensely.
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  • Ace Boggess
    January 1, 1970
    What Chuck Klosterman does for hair metal in Fargo Rock City, Twilight of the Gods does for classic rock. Hyden's book, like Klosterman's, is part journalistic take on a musical genre and part memoir exploring the author's experiences with and nostalgia for that music. The book is filled with insights, but also marvelously laced with humor. I was as surprised by how many times I thought, "Wow, I didn't know that," as I was by how many times I found myself laughing out loud. This is a strong work What Chuck Klosterman does for hair metal in Fargo Rock City, Twilight of the Gods does for classic rock. Hyden's book, like Klosterman's, is part journalistic take on a musical genre and part memoir exploring the author's experiences with and nostalgia for that music. The book is filled with insights, but also marvelously laced with humor. I was as surprised by how many times I thought, "Wow, I didn't know that," as I was by how many times I found myself laughing out loud. This is a strong work. I wouldn't call it important writing, but if you're interested in music (especially classic rock), you'll enjoy this book. If you haven't read Klosterman's book, trust me when I say this book and that fit together like an old married couple. Give them both a shot.
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  • Julien L
    January 1, 1970
    I have so many thoughts about this book, that I doubt I'll be able to get them all out in a cohesive manner, but needless to say I enjoyed it. The exploration of classic rock through its history, sociology, and mythology from the perspective of both fan and critic is extraordinarily well done in this book. It details thoughts I've thought before while looking at things from angles I hadn't considered. There are times where the book goes off into tangents that don't exactly go back into the core I have so many thoughts about this book, that I doubt I'll be able to get them all out in a cohesive manner, but needless to say I enjoyed it. The exploration of classic rock through its history, sociology, and mythology from the perspective of both fan and critic is extraordinarily well done in this book. It details thoughts I've thought before while looking at things from angles I hadn't considered. There are times where the book goes off into tangents that don't exactly go back into the core thesis of this book, but even those are enjoyable to read. This is a genre of music I've grown up on and have only sort-of critically examined, but this book made me re-examine my relationship to a musical form that does and doesn't always get its due. This is the kind of analytical talks about music that fans and critics only have with each other in book form, and I love that.
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  • Ross
    January 1, 1970
    Just wonderful. From growing up with classic rock as back ground music to running errands with my mom in our station wagon to all the years hence, this music is a part of me. I loved this book from start to finish.
  • Patrick Macke
    January 1, 1970
    I was never really sure where the author was going with this book. At times the book feels like a compact history of Classic Rock, but it isn't that. What it is is a road trip through the Classic Rock landscape with stops at about fifty of Classic Rock's roadside shrines (some more meaningful than others). The dude in the driver's seat took me down a bunch of streets and back alleys I didn't want to travel down. On the radio, he wanted to skip songs I loved and then he played (really loud) songs I was never really sure where the author was going with this book. At times the book feels like a compact history of Classic Rock, but it isn't that. What it is is a road trip through the Classic Rock landscape with stops at about fifty of Classic Rock's roadside shrines (some more meaningful than others). The dude in the driver's seat took me down a bunch of streets and back alleys I didn't want to travel down. On the radio, he wanted to skip songs I loved and then he played (really loud) songs I can't stand. On more than one occasion I wanted to pull the car over and ask him to get out, but of course, I couldn't because he was driving. Still, the entire trip was a celebration of Classic Rock, a subject and a lifestyle that is really important to a lot of us ... And for organizing and sweating over this "celebration," I really ended up digging Steven Hyden. If you read a lot of books about rock music and bands, then you'll probably have the same reaction to this book that I did (flawed, but some wonderful Classic Rock moments); if you read this type of book sparingly, however, you just might find this book a fantastic, quirky overview of the greatest musical time and place the world has never known.
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  • Jack Wolfe
    January 1, 1970
    Hey hey, my my... Rock and roll will probably dieIt doesn't matter if you burn out or fade awayBecause we all die, oh yeahNeil Young once said something like that?Steven Hyden isn't the first person to notice the curious fascination classic rock has with time and death. But what makes "Twilight of the Gods" special is that, as a member of Generation X, Hyden came to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Springsteen, Bob Seger, et al as someone "out of time," a kid who thought this stuff was eternal, that it Hey hey, my my... Rock and roll will probably dieIt doesn't matter if you burn out or fade awayBecause we all die, oh yeahNeil Young once said something like that?Steven Hyden isn't the first person to notice the curious fascination classic rock has with time and death. But what makes "Twilight of the Gods" special is that, as a member of Generation X, Hyden came to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Springsteen, Bob Seger, et al as someone "out of time," a kid who thought this stuff was eternal, that it represented a sort of high watermark for music that would last long after the pop fluff of the contemporary moment has drifted away on the breeze...We see now, of course, that rock is not eternal. The stars themselves, for one, keep literally dying. In the past couple of years, we've lost Bowie, Prince, Tom Petty, Glenn Frey, and fucking Lemmy. It seems like it's been a rough stretch, until you think about all the geriatric rockers who are still with us. The Stones (most of em), Paul and Ringo, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Ray Davies, Page and Plant and JPJ, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend... Though they probably all should be dead, they continue to record, tour, and plagiarize Cliffnotes for Nobel Prize speeches. How much longer do any of them have?Classic rock has shown to be mortal in a metaphorical sense, too. In the past couple of decades, page after page of smart, well-intentioned criticism has set out to delegitimize the "classic rock" idea, showing how the genre was essentially created by radio execs to sell merchandise to an aging populace, how it was designed to exclude artists of color and women, how its appeal has notoriously been for the lunkheaded homophobe set (see the awful "Disco Demolition Night"), how most of the music's greatest practitioners are, to put it lightly, cruel and self-absorbed billionaire junkie brats who sleep with ten year olds, how the whole thing is, at best, kind of phony and dumb, and at worst, perniciously reactionary.I came to classic rock in a way not unlike Mr. Hyden. When I was beginning to break free from my parent's stifling regime of 80s and 90s pop country (much of which, in retrospect, rules (thanks mom and dad)), I was kind of alarmed by what was on the radio. Truly, the pop and rock of the early 2000s was even sillier and shittier-sounding than Tim McGraw. I found refuge in earlier tymes. The Beatles opened my eyes to a whole separate way of being. Zep immediately followed, and then Pink Floyd, and then the Doors, and then Nirvana. This was the stuff that seemed REAL, the stuff made by true artists, the stuff that would last. It had style, it was played by people who had "talent" (oh how obsessed I was with "talent"), it was where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Because it wasn't just music. It was CLASSIC ROCK.Well you grow up and you read about things and you talk to women and you realize that nothing about, oh, "Won't Get Fooled Again" is objectively better than, say, "Spice Up Your Life" (one graciously takes less than TEN MINUTES to make its point). I'm tempered my enthusiasms for the myths and ideas and guitar riffs of mid-period rock and roll-- I've incorporated hip-hop and electro and disco and girl groups and so many New Yorker articles about, you know, how that stuff matters, white man. But the rock music of the 60s and 70s is still, nevertheless, my chief occupation in life. So I related to "Twilight of the Gods" completely, and read it in, like, a day. It was hard to stop. It was like reading myself, as described by Black Sabbath songs.So familiar was "Twilight of the Gods," that, well, I sometimes wondered what its purpose is. The majority of the book is a retelling of the fables of rock, stories that most of the Hyden's readers (i.e. people who will vouch passionately for the merits of "The Crunge") will have already heard dozens of times (Altamont, Dylan "going electric," something about a mud shark, eww). Indeed, the artists he discusses most are artists who have hundreds of books written about them-- the Beatles, Dylan, the Stones, Springsteen-- artists who might actually last beyond the umbrella of the term "classic rock." Even the supposedly revisionist opinions he espouses about those bands are opinions that, well, I hold dear, and therefore can't be considered too radical ("Black and Blue" by the Stones is a TERRIFIC album, you nincompoops. And yeah, Wings > the Beatles.). At the end of the book, Hyden acknowledges the groups he wanted to write about at length but didn't-- "Queen, the Beach Boys, Rod Stewart and the Faces, Rush, Genesis, Elton John, John Mellencamp, Joni Mitchell, the Kinks, ELO, Cheap Trick, the Guess Who, Billy Joel, and Warren Zevon." I think I would've rather read three hundred pages about THESE bands, several of whom are still "controversial" to canon builders. (I humbly submit Genesis as the most needlessly destructive band of the 20th century.)I can't hold the book's somewhat middling quality against it, though. I mean, "middling" is like the word you use to describe your local classic rock station, right? "Sweet Emotion," "Hotel California," "The Joker." "Twilight of the Gods" works as a time capsule of an era, and an affectionate love letter to that era's stars, and a thoughtful meditation on growing old and dying. It's written with humor and warmth, and Hyden seems like he'd be a great guy to "talk music" with: fiercely opinionated, but open-minded and self-aware.But he likes Phish. Who are terrible.
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  • Zachary Houle
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve gotten a little behind the eight-ball in my reviewing, so my apologies to everyone (the author of this book being reviewed included) for being late on this five-star book. Twilight of the Gods is essentially an essential survey of classic rock and poses the question, is classic rock a dead genre? It may seem to be so in that its icons have either died or are on the verge of launching their farewell tours, even though new acts (Alabama Shakes and Car Seat Headrest, I’m looking at you) are tr I’ve gotten a little behind the eight-ball in my reviewing, so my apologies to everyone (the author of this book being reviewed included) for being late on this five-star book. Twilight of the Gods is essentially an essential survey of classic rock and poses the question, is classic rock a dead genre? It may seem to be so in that its icons have either died or are on the verge of launching their farewell tours, even though new acts (Alabama Shakes and Car Seat Headrest, I’m looking at you) are trickling into the void. Part of my reason for putting this book on the backburner is directly correlated to why I don’t review music anymore: music doesn’t speak to me in the way it once did. Pitchfork.com, once the Bible of everything I aspired to be as a rock critic, has recently become a web version of The Source. Nothing against rap, especially when it’s such an important genre, but living out outlandish fantasies of being a powerful messiah figure don’t appeal to me in the same way that listening to my instrumental jazz vinyl collection does. So I quit. I resigned — not only from music criticism, but music in general, perhaps.Still, if I’ve retired from music apart from old stuff that I either grew up with (the dad rock of the Byrds, which my dad liked) or had a passing fancy always to explore (jazz music, after a friend lent me a bunch of CDs that really, well, jazzed me up on the genre), a book such as Twilight of the Gods is an addictive and important read. It codifies a lot of my feelings about classic rock, and why that genre of rock might very well be on life support. I can emphatically say that — since author Steven Hyden is one big classic rock nerd who is even apologetic in his acknowledgements for the book in not writing about certain bands (how can you write about Phish, but not add space about Rush?) — this book covers a lot of ground. If you’re looking for thoughts on why the music of Dylan, Springsteen and Prince hold fascination, this book will articulate them for you. Have any guilty pleasures? Though he doesn’t want to use that term in today’s instant gratification age, Hyden goes on at length about good “bad” albums and how they impact the overall canon of any classic rock musician.Read the rest here: https://medium.com/@zachary_houle/a-r...
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  • Paul Olkowski
    January 1, 1970
    From the very moment I received Twilight of The Gods in the mail, I was hooked. I looked at this book as a look back at the music of my youth. Although Steven Hyden and I liked different bands and artist of CLASSIC ROCK, we both still love the genre. I was more into southern rock and California country rock. I did love Bob Seeger and The Silver Bullet Band, while Mr. Hyden loved the Who and Bowie. No two people confessing the love of classic rock are going to like the same bands. Who you like de From the very moment I received Twilight of The Gods in the mail, I was hooked. I looked at this book as a look back at the music of my youth. Although Steven Hyden and I liked different bands and artist of CLASSIC ROCK, we both still love the genre. I was more into southern rock and California country rock. I did love Bob Seeger and The Silver Bullet Band, while Mr. Hyden loved the Who and Bowie. No two people confessing the love of classic rock are going to like the same bands. Who you like depends upon the way you grew up. It is what spoke to you about your life and relationships. I could spend days on end listening to nothing but Linda Ronstadt records over and over and finding deeper and deeper meanings at each listen. I totally understand what Mr. Hyden was getting at in most of his essays in the book. If your new to Classic Rock this book may not mean much at all to you.You haven't listened long enough to understand it .If your a 50 something guy like myself, You'll get every chapter even if you do not like the topic of the chapter. The one thing that Mr. Hyden did miss in his book is the Elephant in the room fact that the reason that Classic rock still has a format on today's radio, is today's music on the radio SUCKS!!! Corporate radio ruined great music. It was already in its infancy during the Classic Rock heyday , but today's radio is totally under control of broadcasting corporations and the handful of program directors that work for them. It ruined local radio everywhere. The only place you could actually find good radio is online or Sirius XM. Even there half of XM stations are under control of program people. The Jock was killed off by the late 70's and probably will never return. My. Hyden was correct at the end of the book. Classic Rock music will probably be around for a long time even though that most of the people that created that music are already gone or on their way out. Many have retired because of age and health reasons or the loss of the muse.One day they will all be gone and so will those of us who were the first and second generation listeners of this music. All that will be left are the songs and the stories like Mr. Hyden has written down for the future generations who will listen to what will eventually be know as the Classic Rock Oldies. I'm glad that I won't be around to see those days.
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  • Jake
    January 1, 1970
    You kids don’t know Grand Funk? The wild shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? The bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher? The competent drumwork of Don Brewer?Steve Hyden examines what classic rock means in 2018, now that the music world is completely different, the culture is pretty different, and the rock stars of yesteryear are dropping like flies. I probably wouldn't read this book if it had been written by someone who had lived through the classic rock age, as I don't need any more Boomer navel gaz You kids don’t know Grand Funk? The wild shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? The bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher? The competent drumwork of Don Brewer?Steve Hyden examines what classic rock means in 2018, now that the music world is completely different, the culture is pretty different, and the rock stars of yesteryear are dropping like flies. I probably wouldn't read this book if it had been written by someone who had lived through the classic rock age, as I don't need any more Boomer navel gazing. But Hyden's age (he was born in '77) makes him a bit of an outsider--he was too young to experience it firsthand in its heyday, but old enough to come of age when the concept of "classic rock" was coming about. And even though he's almost a decade older than me, we had a remarkably similar musical upbringing. Some of the book is a little dry, with dry writing to match (sample line: "I felt I could listen to Led Zeppelin IV a thousand times and never fully plump its depths.") But I can't even get mad at it, because been there. Fortunately, the good chapters are really fuckin' good. I liked the "Heartland Rock Line of Succession" (Bruce as President, Tom Petty as VP, all the way down to Bryan Adams, the Secretary of Leather Jackets), the passionate defense of Dad Rock, the schools of thought on dealing with "The Road" (you either love it or hate it, it can feed you or kill you), and the effects of drug phases on music and public personas. Most interesting might be the chapter on "good 'bad' albums," the lesser works by the acknowledged masters. It encouraged me to check out some of Paul McCartney's solo stuff from early 80s, which is actually pretty wild!Of course, it isn't without its controversies. NIN is a classic rock band? But only up until The Fragile? (He explains his reasoning, but I'm still skeptical) BUt of course people are going to disagree when it comes to music.
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  • Tim Niland
    January 1, 1970
    Hyden presents an entertaining look at his journey through the mythology and reality of classic rock, beginning as a teenager listening to the radio and collecting tapes. He winkingly likens it to the heroes journey, beginning with his adolescence and yearning to understand the music he loves, but he is not blind by the limits and foibles of the genre. While people bemoan the loss of the stature of rock music in the modern day pop structure, the author is willing to cast a critical eye as people Hyden presents an entertaining look at his journey through the mythology and reality of classic rock, beginning as a teenager listening to the radio and collecting tapes. He winkingly likens it to the heroes journey, beginning with his adolescence and yearning to understand the music he loves, but he is not blind by the limits and foibles of the genre. While people bemoan the loss of the stature of rock music in the modern day pop structure, the author is willing to cast a critical eye as people of color, women and LGBT fans are left at the threshold which is seemingly stultified with aging while males only. His obsessions with particular musicians like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen echo the love of many suburban fans, but the author is able to dig deeper into the search for literary meaning in Dylan and the nature of class and poverty in Springsteen. That isn't say this is a dry academic book, far from it, Hyden is a journalist and this is a general interest book that has wit and charm. He delves into into the lives of aging rock stars and the phenomenon of "dad rock" and the interest people carry into such "uncool" bands as Phish, who he feels actually represent a portion of the classic rock continuum in the form of guitar solos, instrumental virtuosity and honoring their ancestors through the elaborate staging of concerts covering the entirety of a classic rock LP. Finally, he asks what will happen when all the classic rock heroes have passed away? Not with a sense of morbidity, but with clear eyed eventuality, and the possibility of carrying the torch of classic rock into that distant future. This was a fine book to read, Hyden is a very good writer with some interesting ideas, making this book well worth your time.
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  • William Fluke
    January 1, 1970
    Not so qualified snippets/ ramblings on classic rock; I had so many issues with this book, I had to finish it to get to my review of the book. Here is what makes it NOT worth a read:- no common thread running through the book to connect the various snippets and back-stories about classic rock- some interesting, but most you already have heard/read- the author- while noted as published and a critic and by those standards could be qualified to write such a book, I couldn't get beyond the fact this Not so qualified snippets/ ramblings on classic rock; I had so many issues with this book, I had to finish it to get to my review of the book. Here is what makes it NOT worth a read:- no common thread running through the book to connect the various snippets and back-stories about classic rock- some interesting, but most you already have heard/read- the author- while noted as published and a critic and by those standards could be qualified to write such a book, I couldn't get beyond the fact this guy is 40 years old. Born in 1977 he didn't really "experience" most of the classic rock era and the experiences he does mention don't lend much to his credibility. - when he speaks of his listening and purchasing of recorded music, he speaks of CD's; Sorry, but to be a classic rock aficionado in my view, you are still listening and buying vinyl records.- his favorite Paul McCartney effort is "McCartney II" that includes "Wonderful Christmastime", which has to be one of the worst songs ever!- tangents and ramblings include a commentary on Netflix documentary- "Making a Murderer"- still not sure how that ties into classic rock- did he really mention Huey Lewis as one of his favorite rock acts? Sorry, but you lost credibility with that one..- sorry, but don't consider Prince as classic rock so that entire chapter was a waste- periodic questionable use of English grammar- page 254- "... to create something that feels a little realer...." - perhaps you meant more real? I could go on further, but you get the idea. Pass on this one. What was likely most frustrating is knowing this book is out there and selling and I could have written something on the topic so much better and more coherent than this book.
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    Spot on book! I'm from the era this book writes about and enjoyed the read. Some parts gave me a very hearty laugh (Hyden REALLY loathes the Eagles!) And, of course, off stage antics were a good reminisce! In light of all the accusations of sexual misconduct in the news of late, I wonder how many groupies will now want to cash in?!? A bunch of us are waiting to see the fall out of bad behavior 40-50 years after the fact... I am amused by our "gods" "one last tour" mentality of late and do wish t Spot on book! I'm from the era this book writes about and enjoyed the read. Some parts gave me a very hearty laugh (Hyden REALLY loathes the Eagles!) And, of course, off stage antics were a good reminisce! In light of all the accusations of sexual misconduct in the news of late, I wonder how many groupies will now want to cash in?!? A bunch of us are waiting to see the fall out of bad behavior 40-50 years after the fact... I am amused by our "gods" "one last tour" mentality of late and do wish they would quit already. It's sad to see them as old men. And I thought being dragged to an Eagles concert in 94 was awful. Funniest quote of that evening (out of an aging flower child, no less) "they've gotten so old" (in their 50's!), followed by my teen daughters quip , "and She's still SOOOOO young??!?!" lol! I refuse to attend nostalgia and going away tours. They never go away and it's ridiculous hearing the old codgers belting out tunes written by their younger selves; no fools like old fools I guess. Money trumps self respect, I guess. Too many of the old men look like bankers. Or accountants. or just plain scary. Best just listen to the old lps and remember us all back in the day. I highly recommend this book to any one interested in classic rock- loads of great fun (that you may or may not remember!) and lots of great info. Steven- loved your other book, Your Favorite Band Is Killing ME, also a terrific read! Kudos to you! Keep them coming!
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  • El_kiablo
    January 1, 1970
    I was slightly disappointed in this book - but only because the bar was set so high by his previous book Your Favorite Band is Killing Me, which just had a tighter premise. That book's "[x] band vs [y] band" structure allowed Hyden to explore dichotomies in a way that was open ended and yet not meandering; each pairing he discussed was picked because they expressed opposing poles of some larger cultural divide, so his specific mixture of music criticism, bar stool philosophizing and personal rec I was slightly disappointed in this book - but only because the bar was set so high by his previous book Your Favorite Band is Killing Me, which just had a tighter premise. That book's "[x] band vs [y] band" structure allowed Hyden to explore dichotomies in a way that was open ended and yet not meandering; each pairing he discussed was picked because they expressed opposing poles of some larger cultural divide, so his specific mixture of music criticism, bar stool philosophizing and personal recollection just made sense. In contrast, there are times when Twilight of the Gods seems a little bit unwieldy because the book's central organizing idea is so open ended. There's no clear way to organize a discussion about the way our culture is changing as one generation dies off and another rises to prominence... And while it makes sense to approach a topic that broad with a mixture of specific criticism / big picture theorizing / authorial anecdotes, there are times when the balance between the forest and the trees tips a little too far one way or the other. But I'm just being nitpicky. For my money Steven Hyden is the best music critic working today and I'm always glad to have more of his work in the world. This might be a bit of a rambling read, but I was definitely glad to be along with him on the journey.
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  • Silas
    January 1, 1970
    When I saw this book was coming out, I knew I wanted to read it when it came out. I got it when I saw it was, in audio format, and checked it out. At first, it seemed good. It talked about a lot of bands that I enjoy, but eventually, it became clear this was more of an autobiography or a memoir than an actual look at the fact that classic rock bands are getting older, members are dying, and the many ways that this will affect the music industry, which is more of what I had hoped for from this bo When I saw this book was coming out, I knew I wanted to read it when it came out. I got it when I saw it was, in audio format, and checked it out. At first, it seemed good. It talked about a lot of bands that I enjoy, but eventually, it became clear this was more of an autobiography or a memoir than an actual look at the fact that classic rock bands are getting older, members are dying, and the many ways that this will affect the music industry, which is more of what I had hoped for from this book.Despite the book not delivering what the title promised, I tried to give it a chance. It was alright for a while, but I found more and more that I don't particularly agree with the writer, who uses Classic Rock to mean "anything from when I started listening to music until I grew out of my teens in the mid-90s." It was very arbitrary, and subjective. Similarly, he decided that Phish was the most classic of rock, simply because he likes them. He decided that bands that came after his critical period are simply sad, and that while Rock is not dead (though it will continue to be pronounced so), it is not at all well... which will of course be true if you define it as the author has.If you are looking for a book about how a music critic got into Classic Rock and his (very subjective) look at what that means to him, maybe this might be worth your time, but I was sorely disappointed.
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  • Ryan Splenda
    January 1, 1970
    I may be a music novice in the grand scheme of things, but I feel like this book may be talked about for decades to come. Rock critic, Steven Hyden, takes us on a deeply personal journey through the rise and (apparent) fall of classic rock. Part history, part memoir, and part analysis, Hyden is able to creatively and passionately argue his points on why classic rock is (and more so becoming "was") such a powerful cultural force and a way of life for millions of people. Bands like The Beatles, Th I may be a music novice in the grand scheme of things, but I feel like this book may be talked about for decades to come. Rock critic, Steven Hyden, takes us on a deeply personal journey through the rise and (apparent) fall of classic rock. Part history, part memoir, and part analysis, Hyden is able to creatively and passionately argue his points on why classic rock is (and more so becoming "was") such a powerful cultural force and a way of life for millions of people. Bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, and more have influenced and changed music and the music industry...but how much longer will their legacies last? This is the ultimate question that Hyden poses and discusses. I feel at home with this genre of music as well, and Hyden's astute observations are both depressing and eye-opening. All I know is this: I don't care how old my music heroes get...I will continue to see them for as long as they are around (much like Hyden admits to doing). And I will do everything that I can to keep their legacies alive!
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  • Jonah Breeden
    January 1, 1970
    As someone who listens to “classic rock” every single day for multiple hours a day, this book inspired me to listen even more. There are so many things the author has found and dug up by doing his research that it’s hard not to be enthralled by some “mundane” fact about a band you wouldn’t even normally care about. It helps that our music tastes lineup pretty much spot on, but I can feel the intensity and the passion when the author writes about the bands he hates and the ones he loves. It is re As someone who listens to “classic rock” every single day for multiple hours a day, this book inspired me to listen even more. There are so many things the author has found and dug up by doing his research that it’s hard not to be enthralled by some “mundane” fact about a band you wouldn’t even normally care about. It helps that our music tastes lineup pretty much spot on, but I can feel the intensity and the passion when the author writes about the bands he hates and the ones he loves. It is refreshing to read someone talk about things that are thirty, forty and even fifty years old while being able to bring them alive. Everything feels fresh with Steven too, his words flow effortlessly and I quickly lost track of how many chapters I had read with each story flowing one right after the next. If nothing else, this book has given me an even deeper appreciation for the genre that some fear is soon to be forgotten. With all the listening I plan on doing, I’ll try to keep it alive for as long as possible.
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  • David V
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars, rounding up to 5. If you grew up in a certain era, as I did, and are very familiar with all the bands in this book, you will find Steven Hyden meditations and critique of classic rock both interesting and entertaining. It made me look at some of these groups in a different light (both positive and negative) and also reinforce my belief that there's still plenty of great music being made. Any book that names Courtney Barnett as the best rock lyricist out there today automatically gets 4.5 stars, rounding up to 5. If you grew up in a certain era, as I did, and are very familiar with all the bands in this book, you will find Steven Hyden meditations and critique of classic rock both interesting and entertaining. It made me look at some of these groups in a different light (both positive and negative) and also reinforce my belief that there's still plenty of great music being made. Any book that names Courtney Barnett as the best rock lyricist out there today automatically gets an extra star. The sea change has been in how we are fed music today (streaming, etc.) vs. decades of the past (AOR, albums). I do long for the days of yesterday when an artist's latest release was a cause for anticipation and then sitting down with the liner notes in my college dorm or first apartment, but alas, this old dog has been willing to learn new tricks. Rock is not dead - it's just scattered all around your indie radio stations, Spotify, and recommendations from friends.
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  • Evan Kirby
    January 1, 1970
    I both like and hate that there's really no throughline to the book and that it's just rambled and thrown together ruminations on why s0-and-so band sucks or some tertiary thing around classic rock like defining the actual term, concerts and even how Aleister Crowley plays in. I don't necessarily think there needed to be any major point to this thing or anything, it just sometimes felt a bit unwieldy how each chapter just kept meandering into some random territory where you never knew where it w I both like and hate that there's really no throughline to the book and that it's just rambled and thrown together ruminations on why s0-and-so band sucks or some tertiary thing around classic rock like defining the actual term, concerts and even how Aleister Crowley plays in. I don't necessarily think there needed to be any major point to this thing or anything, it just sometimes felt a bit unwieldy how each chapter just kept meandering into some random territory where you never knew where it was going to go. It's like an episode of 'The Simpsons' where the first 5 minutes or so usually has nothing to do with what the actual episode ends up being about, where it starts in on something random then all of a sudden pivots into what it's really about. Again, this isn't even a critique, just an observation. Steven Hyden is my favourite rock critic and I could hear/read him talk about rock bands (even ones I don't like or have never listened) to infinity.
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  • Dan Eisenberg
    January 1, 1970
    I quite enjoy Steven Hyden's writing. It's extremely current and is always partly autobiographical, but when you're examining a topic as broad as classic rock, you need to filter it through your own perspective. Hyden does this magnificently. This is by no means comprehensive (Hyden's acknowledgements at the end of the book even rattle off a list of bands and artists he wishes he'd covered more in depth), but it's a fun read, and that's what you're here for. You go to a book like this to read so I quite enjoy Steven Hyden's writing. It's extremely current and is always partly autobiographical, but when you're examining a topic as broad as classic rock, you need to filter it through your own perspective. Hyden does this magnificently. This is by no means comprehensive (Hyden's acknowledgements at the end of the book even rattle off a list of bands and artists he wishes he'd covered more in depth), but it's a fun read, and that's what you're here for. You go to a book like this to read something you will enjoy reading and to learn a few little stories. You're not here for great depth or insight, though there are a few nuggets of modern perspective that Hyden gives that make a little too much sense when you think about it. Overall, this is a book that's worth a read. It's breezy and gives enough knowledge to show that Hyden has really read up and thought about the subject.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I could do 1/2 stars, because I'd give this 3 1/2 stars. Steven Hyden is a terrific writer and a solid critic. His first book, Your Band Is Killing Me, used the concept of rivalries in music to make observations outside of the realm of music. It was somewhat akin to Chuck Klosterman. On this book, Hyden takes on classic rock in a manner that looks less outward, as the subject means so much to him. It certainly makes me understand where he comes from as a critic. But as someone with about I wish I could do 1/2 stars, because I'd give this 3 1/2 stars. Steven Hyden is a terrific writer and a solid critic. His first book, Your Band Is Killing Me, used the concept of rivalries in music to make observations outside of the realm of music. It was somewhat akin to Chuck Klosterman. On this book, Hyden takes on classic rock in a manner that looks less outward, as the subject means so much to him. It certainly makes me understand where he comes from as a critic. But as someone with about 20 years on Hyden, the book didn't have nearly as much insight. Still, there are some great passages and some interesting observations, particularly about the future, as it were, of classic rock, and, as I said above, he's quite the writer. This book might be of more interest to younger classic rock fans.
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  • Justin
    January 1, 1970
    I'll admit it right up front: I'm the demographic for this book. I have been a fan of Hyden's writing since I first encountered it on The A.V. Club and I listen to his current podcast, Celebration Rock. This is his second book and in it he grapples with his relationship with classic rock, examining its strengths and flaws. It helps that he's really funny throughout the book; for example, he refers to David Bowie in the his Thin White Duke phase as a "sentient line of blow"...and in his chapter o I'll admit it right up front: I'm the demographic for this book. I have been a fan of Hyden's writing since I first encountered it on The A.V. Club and I listen to his current podcast, Celebration Rock. This is his second book and in it he grapples with his relationship with classic rock, examining its strengths and flaws. It helps that he's really funny throughout the book; for example, he refers to David Bowie in the his Thin White Duke phase as a "sentient line of blow"...and in his chapter on dad rock, he states "inside every genre lurks a whole lot of dads." A smart, funny book about music is a winner with me.* If I could give half stars, this would be a 4.5, but I'm enough of a Hyden fanboy to bump it to 5
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    I won a copy of this book.What do you do when all of your favorite rock stars are aging and dying? Steven Hyden talks to those aging rockers and their fans in the twilight of their lives. I am a Gen-Xer and I was able to relate to Hyden as he was watching many of his favorite bands (many created before either of us was born, but we both found in our early teens) are retiring or dying. Personally, I'd prefer to remember these bands as they were - when the music was created - and not now, as the g I won a copy of this book.What do you do when all of your favorite rock stars are aging and dying? Steven Hyden talks to those aging rockers and their fans in the twilight of their lives. I am a Gen-Xer and I was able to relate to Hyden as he was watching many of his favorite bands (many created before either of us was born, but we both found in our early teens) are retiring or dying. Personally, I'd prefer to remember these bands as they were - when the music was created - and not now, as the geriatrics their members have become. Going to concerts so I can say, "I've seen that band live!" isn't the same as "I saw that band when they were relevant!" Yes, you can still the enjoy the music, but let the musicians retire like the rest of us.
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  • Rob S.
    January 1, 1970
    Despite being a few years older than me, Hyden's experiences of being a neophyte classic-rock fan in a small town in the Midwest in the early 1990's hit so close to home that I'm beginning to believe he just might be my brother from another mother. If there's any justice in the world, this book will mean as much to today's young awkward rock fans as the 1987 Rolling Stone "100 Best Albums of the Last 20 Years" list meant to us. (I should note that I won an advance copy of this book from Good Rea Despite being a few years older than me, Hyden's experiences of being a neophyte classic-rock fan in a small town in the Midwest in the early 1990's hit so close to home that I'm beginning to believe he just might be my brother from another mother. If there's any justice in the world, this book will mean as much to today's young awkward rock fans as the 1987 Rolling Stone "100 Best Albums of the Last 20 Years" list meant to us. (I should note that I won an advance copy of this book from Good Reads, which is good for my cheap ass, because I would have bought this anyway. Sorry if that puts a dent in your royalty check, Steven.)
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  • Bryan Winchell
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. The author’s experience growing up after the big classic rock bands of the 1970s had mostly faded but still hearing them and about them on classic rock radio mirrors my own in many ways.The book is very well-written with chapters devoted to various big names like Dylan and Springsteen and then, in my favorite chapter, one devoted to the band Phish and how he overcame his ignorant dismissal of them and now considers them to be the ultimate post-modern take on classic r I really enjoyed this book. The author’s experience growing up after the big classic rock bands of the 1970s had mostly faded but still hearing them and about them on classic rock radio mirrors my own in many ways.The book is very well-written with chapters devoted to various big names like Dylan and Springsteen and then, in my favorite chapter, one devoted to the band Phish and how he overcame his ignorant dismissal of them and now considers them to be the ultimate post-modern take on classic rock.Anyway, if you are a rock fan, I think you’ll enjoy this book.
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  • Dustin
    January 1, 1970
    TWILIGHT OF THE GODS is a great primer for a wealth of rock mythology if you never took the time to learn it all over the years. Hyden is clear-eyed about all of the issues inherent in that mythology, but ultimately makes the argument for rock music's progress. Although it may never be the cultural behemoth it once was, he is optimistic about rock 'n' roll's future and its standing in society. I particularly enjoyed the imagery of a time decades from now when a band's music is performed by group TWILIGHT OF THE GODS is a great primer for a wealth of rock mythology if you never took the time to learn it all over the years. Hyden is clear-eyed about all of the issues inherent in that mythology, but ultimately makes the argument for rock music's progress. Although it may never be the cultural behemoth it once was, he is optimistic about rock 'n' roll's future and its standing in society. I particularly enjoyed the imagery of a time decades from now when a band's music is performed by groups in a similar manner to the way past composers' symphonies are performed by orchestras today.
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