Shock and Awe by Simon Reynolds
Glam Rock and Its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-first Century

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It’s a catalog that makes it fair to wonder what in the world of popular music isn’t, somewhere in its essence, glam. For the four years that Reynolds identifies as glam’s peak, there was a renewed focus on issues of performance, gender fluidity and irony that is still found in countless nooks of pop culture.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From the acclaimed author of Rip It Up and Start Again and Retromania—“the foremost popular music critic of this era (Times Literary Supplement)—comes the definitive cultural history of glam and glitter rock, celebrating its outlandish fashion and outrageous stars, including David Bowie and Alice Cooper, and tracking its vibrant legacy in contemporary pop.

Spearheaded by David Bowie, Alice Cooper, T. Rex, and Roxy Music, glam rock reveled in artifice and spectacle. Reacting against the hairy, denim-clad rock bands of the late Sixties, glam was the first true teenage rampage of the new decade. In Shock and Awe, Simon Reynolds takes you on a wild cultural tour through the early Seventies, a period packed with glitzy costumes and alien make-up, thrilling music and larger-than-life personas.

Shock and Awe offers a fresh, in-depth look at the glam and glitter phenomenon, placing it the wider Seventies context of social upheaval and political disillusion. It explores how artists like Lou Reed, New York Dolls, and Queen broke with the hippie generation, celebrating illusion and artifice over truth and authenticity. Probing the genre’s major themes—stardom, androgyny, image, decadence, fandom, apocalypse—Reynolds tracks glam’s legacy as it unfolded in subsequent decades, from Eighties art-pop icons like Kate Bush through to twenty-first century idols of outrage such as Lady Gaga. Shock and Awe shows how the original glam artists’ obsessions with fame, extreme fashion, and theatrical excess continue to reverberate through contemporary pop culture.

 

About Simon Reynolds

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Simon Reynolds writes about music and popular culture for the "New York Times", "ArtForum", the "Observer", and "Melody Maker", and is the author of "Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock".
 
Published October 11, 2016 by Dey Street Books. 704 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Shock and Awe
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by John Williams on Nov 28 2016

It’s a catalog that makes it fair to wonder what in the world of popular music isn’t, somewhere in its essence, glam. For the four years that Reynolds identifies as glam’s peak, there was a renewed focus on issues of performance, gender fluidity and irony that is still found in countless nooks of pop culture.

Read Full Review of Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and ... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Sukhdev Sandhu on Oct 07 2016

Over 680 pages in length, Shock and Awe is a suitably (ridiculously?) gargantuan study of “a time when pop was titanic, idolatrous, unsane, a theatre of inflamed artifice and grandiose gestures”.

Read Full Review of Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and ... | See more reviews from Guardian

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