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Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  181 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Written in 1968 and revised in 1972, Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom was the first book to celebrate the language and the primal essence of rock 'n' roll. But it was much more than that. It was a cogent history of an unruly era, from the rise of Bill Haley to the death of Jimi Hendrix. And while telling outrageous tales, vividly describing the music, and cutting through the hyp ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 24th 2001 by Grove Press (first published August 1969)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 873)
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Ben Winch
Jun 16, 2015 Ben Winch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
I can be a crybaby, sure, but rarely do I cry over rock music writing. Still, one night as I read aloud to my wife Nik Cohn socked it to me:
Ireland was where I had grown up, and Rock the main reason I had left. My own raising had been in the Protestant section of Derry, where Bill Haley and Elvis were not mentioned. Then one evening I’d gone astray; found myself on the fringes of Bogside, the Catholic slum. Across the street I had heard Little Richard singing Tutti Frutti on a coffee-bar jukebox
Paul Bryant
May 30, 2011 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing
I WANT TO “HOLD YOUR HAND” - a short account of how far you could go in the 50s and early 60s

In the 50s and early 60s mainstream pop music was supposed to be fairly tame, with Wake Up Little Susie being about as risque as the radio was prepared to play you, but of course there were other markets where a certain licence was allowed. For instance – how about this delightful lyric “Sixty Minute Man” by Billy Ward, and sung by his group The Dominoes in 1951:

If you don't believe I'm all that I say
Mar 31, 2013 Tosh rated it it was amazing
One of the essential titles with respect to the history of rock n' roll. What makes this book interesting is really the writer Nik Cohn. Hardcore Mod, a friend of Pete Townshend, and is actually the Pinball Wizard! Also if that is not enough, he wrote Saturday Night Fever. The twist in that narrative is though the story is based on a Brooklyn boy and the disco movement is actually based on Cohn's British Mod years.

Nevertheless, this is a fascinating book via the eyes and ears of Nik Cohn. Incre
Sid Nuncius
Feb 08, 2016 Sid Nuncius rated it it was amazing
Written in 1969, this remains for me one of the best books about rock and pop music between 1955 and 1968. It documents the rise of Rock & Roll, the Beatles and the Stones, flower power, psychedelia and so on, all of which has been very well done by others, too, but Nic Cohn was *there* and had been there recently. Not only that, but he has a wonderful writing style and a sharp, incisive take on things.

Cohn's style is fairly hip, cool and opinionated. I like it a lot, like his summing up of
Jun 05, 2016 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
One of the few heirlooms in my family is a set of books about the First World War by Frank R. Cana. They were dashed out as soon as the war ended so include some factual errors, such as that Samsonov was killed by a German shell at Tannenberg, when, in fact, he committed suicide.

There are similar things here, a book about the history of 'pop' (somewhat loosely defined) written in 1969. Buddy Holly died in Iowa, not North Dakota, and Eddie Cochran did not die on the A1, he died on the A4 traveli
Apr 09, 2016 Venky rated it really liked it
Shelves: bibliocase
Nick Cohn undoubtedly has to be the first ungulate of Rock' n' Roll music. He writes with a raw rage that is pleading to be unleashed; he writes with a rebellion that is reminiscent of the counter culture and debauchery of the late 1950s, the 60s and the early 70s. He writes with a remarkable sense of abandon that blurs ultra thin the line between licentiousness and constructive criticism. Most of all he writes because he can. Mesmerised and sucked into a whirlpool era of drainpipe trousers, sho ...more
Oct 21, 2007 Darcie rated it it was amazing
I loved it! This is a survey of pop through, roughly, 1968, by the first believable rock critic. He writes clearly and is able to capture the excitement of each group and musical movement. He communicates effectively about music with the written word, something that not very many people can do well. If you're rusty on popular music from Elvis through Hendrix, this will catch you up and might even help you sound like you know what you're talking about.
Terry Wheeler
Jun 10, 2016 Terry Wheeler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
For me this is one of those books that got away. In the early 70s you could count the paperbacks on pop with one hand. My teenage budget was also scarce. I had to choose between this book and Charlie Gillet's 'The Sound of the City'. This one looked more trivial so I opted for Gillet's book. Much as that book is a classic and incredibly well researched and set out, Cohn's labour of love about 50s and 60s rock and pop wins hands down. He wrote this book when he was twenty two - locked himself in ...more
Mar 02, 2016 Darren rated it it was amazing
What a blast this book is - like Absolute Beginners, it captures what it was to be in that first generation of British teenagers to have a distinctive identity.

This book was written by Cohn when he was in his early 20s, reflecting on the gestation of rock music performed by white people, highschool pop and RnB, through to soul, surf, superpop, folk rock and the almighty Beatles. Unlike every other book about rock and pop I've read, this was written as a 'hot take', if you will, capturing the th
Feb 21, 2015 Saxon rated it really liked it
This is essentially time piece from '68(and revised a few years later) that attempted to track the rise of pop and rock n roll from the 50s to the present by one, particularly opinionated and very young, rock critic. At times, it's brilliant and other times Cohn seems bored as all hell with his task.

In many ways, this book also acts as an alternate history to a lot of generally accepted narratives about some of pop music's greatest bands and stars -- and none of them, absolutely no one, gets off
Sep 18, 2012 Rjs rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was about 16, [I'm now 50] and it informed my thinking about pop music in all its glory ever since. I'm one of the luckiest generation in terms of how music has played a huge part in so many aspects of my life. I feel for today's teenagers, not because there is no great music out there. In fact, there's too much of it. I feel for them because music is not going to be the centre of their universe in the way it became for me in the 70's. There are now so many other distract ...more
Mar 04, 2009 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Reading this original edition - from before it was renamed to Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock seems very appropriate, since the best way to approach this is as an artifact straight from its specific moment in time: the musings of a precocious, cocky 22 year-old music obsessive in 1969.

Some of the quirks of perspective that result are more charming than others. It's wryly ironic that Cohn was already wondering what the Rolling Stones had left in them with Let It Bleed and its
Aug 11, 2011 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: essai, musique
Au depart je me suis dit, que c'était moins précis que la plupart des bouquins sur la musique que j'avais lu, mais ensuite j'ai compris que derrière cette vision personnelle qui n'hésite pas à dire qu'il n'a jamais vraiment pu rentrer dans le trip Dylan, et qu'il pense que c'est le chanteur le plus surestimé de tous les temps, j'ai vraiment vraiment kiffé! Pourquoi? Son style est dynamique et vivant, même la traduction n'y resite pas. IL a tôt fait de classer les plus de trente ans comme des vie ...more
Good points: it's written with absolute conviction, written well and is an invaluable memento of a particular moment of time.
Bad points: its language has not aged well, there are some factual inaccuracies and he was dead wrong about Zeppelin.

It's a polemic. It doesn't pretend to be unbiased. However, it is somewhat amusing to see someone claim that the Beatles won't mean as much as Elvis.
Dec 25, 2012 Evan rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This was one of the first book-length works of "rock criticism," written in 1968 and revised a few years later. As such, it didn't tell me much that I didn't already know from a factual standpoint, but the writing is passionate as well as thoughtful and engaging, and the voice is emphatically subjective without being obnoxious. In particular, I found the Anglo-Irish Cohn's observations on the late-'50s American culture that spawned what he calls "highschool" music (the post-Elvis, pre-Beatles te ...more
Martin Raybould
Pj Proby was a genius, Jimi Hendrix was ugly, The Rolling Stones probably won't last and Led Zeppelin are unimportant. Written in 1968 - the future is hard to predict but Nik Cohn makes so many wrong calls that this becomes a farcical chronicle of the roots of pop and rock.
Dec 11, 2015 Gautsho rated it it was amazing
Isegi mu rõõmsalt pealiskaudne huvi muusika vastu ei seganud, väga hea raamat, ja millise lustiga (ja kui tõsiselt) kirjutatud. Tahaks kogu popmuusikast kuni siiani sellist lugeda. David Bowie teab, mida loeb.
Richard Thomas
Dec 04, 2014 Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Shelves: miscellany
I have the revised (1972) book bought in a sale in Ipswich and read occasionally ever since. I might not necessarily agree with his judgements but that's most of the fun of reading a book on pop.
May 14, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it
This is a marvelous introduction to rock/pop, spanning from its beginnings in the late '50s to the post-Beatles era of 1970. The perfect companion piece to this, which starts in the '60s but then also runs into the '80s, is Lester Bangs's Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung.
What makes these books work so well together are the authors' commitment to writing in the style of rock, i.e.their narrative voices attempt to echo the general cadences of rock music and the personality of the times. Bot
May 01, 2012 robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My hardcover was published in 1969. This book is flash - opinionated and fast and in love with the pop of pop, in love with rock n roll but not Rock. Heresies abound which makes the book rebellious in a good way, even though I cannot agree that the Beatles lost their way when they dropped acid and became spiritual and started creating "Art", or that one line of the Monotones "Book of Love" means more than all of "Blonde on Blonde." Cohn bemoans the state of modern music: "There has to be insanit ...more
May 31, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read
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Aug 31, 2014 Jenny rated it liked it
David Ward
Aug 01, 2014 David Ward rated it liked it
Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn (Grove Press 1969)(781.9609). Written in 1969 by a Brit, this book covers roots rock, R & B, and the biggest bands of the 1960's before the sixties were over. In fact, this was written so early that there is no perspective to be found. This book contains the earliest rock criticism I have found. My rating: 7/10, finished 7/29/14.
Kate Harper
Apr 07, 2011 Kate Harper rated it really liked it
this is the first rock 'n' roll book ever written. it's worth reading, mainly because it's the first of its kind, and cohn's observations are interesting. his predictions about who will remain popular and who will fall are often right on... and at times comically off (cilla black, for example).
Oct 03, 2010 Sarah rated it it was ok
A real interesting read about rock and roll's history, written in 1968... Not sure if I agree with this guy's perspective on it, but he was there. And he's an entertaining author.
Jun 09, 2013 Brad rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-music
Fun book. Nik Cohn has an interesting take on rock music. I love his enthusiastic, fast-paced writing style. A truly enjoyable early treatise on rock n roll.
Dave Finnigan
Jul 12, 2008 Dave Finnigan rated it it was amazing
fantastic!nothing you dont already know,and you keep thinking that you couldve written it yourself, but you didnt...
Luis D.
Me encantó apreciar un viaje por la evolución de la música popular
Jul 09, 2010 Géraldine rated it really liked it
Shelves: essais, jazz
Le rock avant les Beatles. Très curieux.
Apr 20, 2013 Paul marked it as to-read
Shelves: colapl
aka Rock from the beginning in colapl
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All About Books: Week 14 - (1968) Awopbopaloobo Alopbamboom by Nik Cohn. 3 12 May 02, 2016 09:16AM  
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Cohn is considered by some critics to be a father of rock criticism, thanks to his time on The Observer's early rock column entitled The Brief and his first major book Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom, first published in 1969. Cohn has since published articles, novels and music books regularly.
More about Nik Cohn...

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