"When a star is at last discovered by the right people, who then bring with them the resources necessary for success, the results can be staggering."

The first appearance of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in early 1964 set off a cultural earthquake in America that would reverberate through the rest of the decade. Thousands of young people picked up guitars and started their own bands, dreaming of fame and the glamour of the rock n' roll life. As teenage consumers grew more sophisticated, the late 1960s witnessed an explosion of complex, experimental music from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, and Led Zeppelin. The simple love songs of the early British Invasion gave way to baroque pop, psychedelia, and heavy metal. But at the same time, American culture and politics were beginning to fracture under the strain of war, assassinations, and racial division. A rift was forming between teens and their parents over the growing aggression, sexuality, and drug use of rock n' roll.

Shann was a teenager in the 1960s, blessed with an enviable singing voice and eager to join the ranks of great artists. In his book, he proves himself to be a gifted chronicler of the local and national music scene, equipped with an encyclopedic knowledge of the bands of that era and a rare knack for writing warmly and lyrically without being mawkish. His precise, fact-filled observations keep the book from descending into mere sentimental recollections. The book's scope is broad, incorporating many of the decade's best African American and female artists. A memoir that doubles as a coming-of-age story, the book movingly charts a young Shann's growing realization that he's a musician of only modest talent. The scene where he attends a concert given by a before-he-was-famous Bruce Springsteen is perhaps the saddest and most poignant in the book.

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