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Moondog, The Viking of 6th Avenue: The Authorized Biography

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  103 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
"Moondog is one of America’s great originals."—Alan Rich, New York Magazine

Here is one of the most improbable lives of the twentieth century: a blind and homeless man who became the most famous eccentric in New York and who, with enormous diligence, rose to prominence as an internationally respected music presence.

Born Louis Thomas Hardin in 1916, Moondog first made an imp
Paperback, 280 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Process
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Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-bought
Throughout my whole life I have heard of, or was aware of Moondog, but oddly enough I didn't listen to his music till a year ago. My family had the first Moondog album - and it is perhaps one of the first records that I was aware of - nevertheless I avoided him I think mostly because the way he looked. And he was old! So, about a year ago, I began to play his music, and it was a "oh wow" moment for me. Now, I can't get enough of him, and I'm still surprised in finding his music so fresh sounding ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Apr 08, 2015 marked it as filmed
I confess I learned about Moondog via a utoob accident. Frankly I think this minimal movement in music became a horse skeleton already probably even before the Velvets did their Heroin. Nevertheless, one still finds oneself occasionally charmed.

I remember last time I tried to watch Koyaanisqatsi I felt like Alex being reprogrammed at the end of Clockwork Orange. When I first saw it I was literally bolted to my seat in fascination. It's a one=shot deal.

But not only is Moondog a (dead) composer o
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like good music, funny hats
Man I love Moondog and it's so great to see the ascendancy of his work amongst young listeners thanks to the great Honest Jons comp. from the other year and that sweet grey area reissue of the 'Snaketime' record and etc.

Lots of great, thorough scholarship went into this book. It's not super well written but at least it's not OVER written unlike so many music books. That makes certain clunky passages or repetitious ones a lot less bothersome to me.

The accompanying CD -- which features the debut r
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
That such an interesting life could be the subject of such a tedious, numbing tome is a feat in and of itself. A testament to the author's committment to pretentious prose.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fic
Moondog was a fascinating musician and person. Blinded at 16 by an accidental explosion, he moved from Wyoming(?) to New York City in the late 1940s. Moondog lived on the streets or in hotels for the most part, performing his music for anyone who would hear with instruments of his own making. He made his own clothes, started dressing as a viking, and moved to Europe in the 1970s to be closer to his roots. Moondog made several albums and influenced many artists. This book is an authorized biograp ...more
Tom Shannon, Jr
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Moondog (aka Louis Hardin, American, 1916 - 1999) was a highly unusual blind artist (street musician, accomplished prolific composer, and eccentric cult personality.) I'm glad I got this book by Scotto, who knew Moondog since the 1960's and interviewed him. It's informative and a fine addition to my arcane music library.

I wanted this book because some of Moondog's records are fantastic & catchy, and stand the test of time, so I had to learn more about him. Some of his other records are mere
May 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was a slog to finish, and I really wanted to love it because I like the subject so much. As much as I appreciate the meticulous research and detail that went into this labor of love, the author never quite manages to bring Moondog to life. His treatment of the man's itinerant childhood years felt the most developed and effective, but once Moondog moves to NYC, the author never convincingly evokes his subject. Instead much of the text rambles in repetition of facts, especially recording ...more
Joseph Hirsch
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I can't remember the first time I heard Moondog, but, as with Robert Wyatt's post-"Soft Machine" output, I was blown away by how varied the guy's music was, and how impossible to categorize it was. This book does a good job balancing details about Moondog's s personal life with his unorthodox theories of music, which have been admired and appropriated by everyone from minimalist maestro Philip Glass to hip-hop producers. The author neither glosses over nor gets bogged down in the details of Moon ...more
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Too bad that such a weak story teller tackled such a mysterious subject. i'm really interested to know about moondog's life, but can't get myself to pick the book up again. the author goes on all these digressions about what it must have been like for moondog growing up that are truly vacuous. oh well
Forest Juziuk
Dec 03, 2014 rated it liked it
The writing is a touch flowery & the book is a bit of a slog with some peculiar movements between spans of time. Interesting nonetheless, a remarkable if somewhat difficult document.
Craig B
May 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
This nearly ended up in the bath with me after 50 or so pages. Great CD - although there are better Moondog collections/releases on offer.
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Super interesting. CD included. really great!
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Inspiring tale of one man's determination to make his music count for something. From blind street musician to one of the 20th century's most inspiring composers. Fantastic - plus a free CD!
Gunnar Hjalmarsson
Jun 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Pretty good, but too dry and academic for my taste.
May 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
couldnt even get through it. Found it poorly written, or maybe I just didnt like the authors approach. Either way, I thought it was a turd.
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