Tuesday, February 16, 2010

book pile: rock dreams

its been a while since i featured a book on draw! pilgrim, but today i wanted to share one of my long time favorite art books. my mum bought it, and i loved looking through it when i was little. its falling apart now, but i think that might just add to its charm...

rock dreams: under the boardwalk,
written by nick cohn, and illustrated by guy peelaert
pan books 1973

a collection of stunning illustrations of music's most famous faces paired with lyrics, or short biographies. what sets this book apart for me is the varying approaches it takes to the artists portrayed: reverence, irreverence, satire, nostalgia, commentary and good old fashioned gaudiness. the combination of words and pictures present both magic realism and the mundane: some pages poignantly express the isolation and heartbreak fame can bring. other pages turn popular culture icons into religious ones. and more yet show snippets of that 'american dream' that that era of music sang about. oh and let's not forget the Rolling Stones in PVC bondage gear... the over-the-topness of the pictures matched the over-the-topness of the spirit of rock, maaaan!

the following are some excerpts of illustrations & text from the book:

the promised land: california was teen heaven, perfection, where the sun was always shining, where the cosmis surfer's wave unfurled toward infinity, where everyone was golden, young and beautiful forever. for every girl, there were two boys, and so they lounged by the poolside, drinking cool beers and counting the passing bikinis, or they played touch football, in eternal summer, or they drag raced, made love at the drive-ins, watched technicolor sunsets, led plans, wrote songs...

jerry lee lewis: "either be hot or be cold. if you're lukewarm, the Lord will spew you forth from his mouth". thus spoke jerry lee and he rampaged through the land, with his piano, his bible and his thirteen year old wife. night after night, leaping high upon the piano, he preached with fiery tounges, in sermons of arrogance and lust. then his audience would surge forward and storm the stage, like converts, to shake his hand and be blessed.

phil spector: strange resurrection of baby phil, the highschool dropout: arriving in new york, he slept in offices, on floors and benches and desk tops, until finally he was set loose to produce a record. then, at a single shot, he paid back twenty years' accumulation of rage. out poured the wildest torrents of pent-up energy, invention, insanity, malice, fantasy, grotesquerie and when the smoke cleared, he stood revealed in hollywood technorama: a colossus: true inheritor of cecil b de mille: ultimate rock'n'roll showman, teendreamer, and bullshitter, genius and freak.

... now when i come home, late at night, my slippers are waiting in front of the fire, my pipe is on the mantleshelf, and priscilla is sitting in bed with curlers in her hair. then i kiss her on either cheek , and on her lips like cherries, and i hold her close to my heart. "welcome home", she says, and at last i am at peace.

donovan: the fool on the hill

then there were two, because the first had flown off through the window and disappeared into the skies, and they sat among the debris, sated, slightly ageing but not too jaded to pull the same rude faces, or to stick out their tongues once more, as they'd done in the days of their first youth.

buddy holly: hey what happened? one moment i was in lubbock, texas and i had bad teeth, bad eyes and sang with my nostrils and adenoids, hiccoughing and whining. everyone said i was crazy, so i left and came to new york, an i met a man who straightened my teeth, gave me new glasses, dressed me up real italian sharp.
next he called me buddy holly, and what kind of name is that? then he sent me out on tour, and put me on tv, and now i'm a rock'n'roll star.
i like it. everywhere i go, girls scream at me, boys ask for my autograph and i ride around in a cadillac. but sometimes i can't believe it - i remember lubbock, texas, and everybody laughing at me and i ask myself, can it last?

let paul anka tell how you too can be a man...

california girls: "we've been having fun all summer long..."

if this glimpse of a fascinating book has whet your appetite, i really recommend picking up a copy of your own. thankfully taschen are publishing it now, so follow the link below and make your own small rock dream come true!


petapledger said...

I must buy this book, it is so controversial yet so delightful!

juliette said...

superfun header! like it, and like how you did this post, too!

Wini said...

Hi Pilgrim, I love your blog, its so fun, colourful & nostalgic! What a great book post, with such colourful retro images! I must check it out :)

vineeta said...

What a brilliant & bright but clean header. I love your aesthetic sense!

Art Wall Katie said...

Beautiful new header, it's just like your blog, pure eye candy and full of colorful fun. Great representation!

Pilgrim Lee said...

thanks for your comments everyone! i'm really pleased you're liking the new look 'round here :)

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