From the hoodoo-inspired sounds of Elvis Presleytothe Eastern odysseys of George Harrison, fromthe dark dalliances of Led Zeppelin tothe Masonic imagery of today s hip-hop scene, the occult has long breathed lifeinto rock and hip-hop and, indeed, esoteric and supernatural traditions are a key ingredient behindthe emergence anddevelopmentof rock and roll. Read more...
From the hoodoo-inspired sounds of Elvis Presleytothe Eastern odysseys of George Harrison, fromthe dark dalliances of Led Zeppelin tothe Masonic imagery of today s hip-hop scene, the occult has long breathed lifeinto rock and hip-hop and, indeed, esoteric and supernatural traditions are a key ingredient behindthe emergence anddevelopmentof rock and roll.
With vivid storytelling and laser-sharp analysis, writer and critic Peter Bebergal illuminatesthis web of influences to produce the definitive work on how the occult shaped and saved popular music.
As Bebergal explains, occult and mystical ideals gave rock and roll its heart and purpose, making rock into more than just backbeat music, but into a cultural revolution of political, spiritual, sexual, and social liberation."
- ISBN-13: 9780399167669
- ISBN-10: 0399167668
- Publisher: Tarcher
- Publish Date: October 2014
- Page Count: 252
- Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-07-28
- Reviewer: Staff
Bebergal (Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood) displays an intelligent understanding of the interaction between religion and culture when he argues that the "occult imagination is the vital force of rock-and-roll culture." Yet his book is also maddeningly pedestrian at times. Bebergal details how, starting in the late 1960s through the '70s, "Sex, occultism, and Satan would become synonymous in various pockets of pop culture," and his examples include films such as The Wicker Man and games such as Dungeons & Dragons as well as the usual suspects, such as the Rolling Stones song "Sympathy for the Devil," to argue that mysticism was "not the only source towards unconventional spirituality available to youth culture. But in his recounting of many staples of rock lore—Led Zeppelin founder and guitarist Jimmy Page's fascination with the writings of occultist Aleister Crowley; David Bowie's "messianic" obsession with "aliens, magic, and mysticism"; and the blatantly occult "arsenal of symbols" of Throbbing Gristle—Bebergal too often conflates the symptoms with the disease. It's not enough for him that "Rock's essential rebellious spirit is a spiritual rebellion at its core, and this, like all forms of occult and Gnostic practices, is a threat to the establishment, be it political, religious, or social." He must further claim that "without the occult imagination there would be no rock as we know it," an argument that basically ignores the many other influences on different genres of rock music. (Oct.)