Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll

Ecco. Jan. 2022. 512p. ISBN 9780062449207. $28.99. MUSIC
Kaye, guitarist for the Patti Smith Group, focuses on a dozen seminal cities and years in the history of rock and roll in America and England, from the music’s first stirrings in 1952 Cleveland to the rise of the Beatles in 1962 Liverpool to the emergence of grunge in Seattle in 1991, with a sojourn to explore metal in 1993 Norway. Kaye captures the essence of each date and locale by acts such as Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Guitar Slim, the Byrds, and Nirvana; the impact of racism and segregation; and how earlier popular music influenced the burgeoning rock scenes. Throughout Kaye draws from insider knowledge, crafting a fluent, attention-grabbing narrative and offering autobiographical asides about listening to 45s in grade school and becoming a true history maker himself. A copious biblio-discography, including classic and contemporary citations, adds value.
VERDICT Kaye’s felicitous turns of phrase and ability to humanize his subject paint vivid pictures of each venue and its denizens; readers of any vintage will appreciate the chance to either relive these musical moments or experience them for the first time.
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