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William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll

Casey Rae

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Weidenfeld & Nicolson
08 September 2020
Music; Rock & Pop music; Biography: arts & entertainment; Biography: literary
William S. Burroughs's fiction and essays are legendary, but his influence on music's counterculture has been less well documented-until now. Examining how one of America's most controversial literary figures altered the destinies of many notable and varied musicians, William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll reveals the transformations in music history that can be traced to Burroughs.

A heroin addict and a gay man, Burroughs rose to notoriety outside the conventional literary world; his masterpiece, Naked Lunch, was banned on the grounds of obscenity, but its nonlinear structure was just as daring as its content. Casey Rae brings to life Burroughs's parallel rise to fame among daring musicians of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, when it became a rite of passage to hang out with the author or to experiment with his cut-up techniques for producing revolutionary lyrics (as the Beatles and Radiohead did). Whether they tell of him exploring the occult with David Bowie, providing Lou Reed with gritty depictions of street life, or counseling Patti Smith about coping with fame, the stories of Burroughs's backstage impact will transform the way you see America's cultural revolution-and the way you hear its music.
By:   Casey Rae
Imprint:   Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 212mm,  Width: 132mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   320g
ISBN:   9781474616669
ISBN 10:   1474616666
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   08 September 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Casey Rae is the director of music licensing for SiriusXM and a longtime music critic whose work has been featured in a wide array of publications. His commentary on technology's impact on creators has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Billboard, and other media outlets. An adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a course developer for Berklee Online, Rae is also a musician and played with several bands in the 1990s.

Reviews for William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll

There's a brilliant idea behind Casey Rae's William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll, which is that if you simply follow Burroughs through the rock 'n' roll years you'll see him achieve a flickering ubiquity - lurking here, eavesdropping there, photobombing the whole parade. It becomes a kind of alternative history * New York Times *


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