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Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,075 ratings  ·  172 reviews
National Bestseller * Named one of Rolling Stone's Best Music Books of 2018 * One of Newsweek's 50 Best Books of 2018 * A Billboard Best of 2018 * A New York Times Book Review "New and Noteworthy" selection

The author of the critically acclaimed Your Favorite Band is Killing Me offers an eye-opening exploration of the state of classic rock, its past and future, the impact i
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Dey Street Books
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Trace Reddell But in one of the most hilarious, irony-dripping contexts ever.

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Twilight of the Gods by Steven Hyden is a 2018 Dey Street Books publication.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock -n- Roll …

This is yet another of a spate of recently released books, lamenting the death of rock music, seeming to finally admit and accept, that the rock icons still living are the last of a dying breed- no pun intended. In the past couple of years, we have lost some heavy hitters, which has left us to face the sobering reality that once those huge icons like Paul McCartney, The Stones, and Bob Dyl
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-or-music, essays
I know literally nothing about classic rock - I learned about Altamont by reading this book - but Steven Hyden's Theory of the Album is the new religion of my household, so I figured I would dive in. Steven Hyden's Theory of the Album is this: YouTube and Napster demystified music and broke it down into single tracks, rendering albums obsolete. But listening to an album, instead of breaking an album down into tracks, is a wholly different experience, and "the best albums deliver something you ne ...more
Dr. Detroit
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
”People say, ‘You’ve gotta go on, man, otherwise all those kids, they’ll be finished, they’ll have nothing to live for.’ That’s rock and roll!”

Pete Townshend

Those kids Townshend refers to are all well now north of 50 – hell, I’m 61 and was one of those kids for whom life without rock and roll certainly wouldn't have been worth living - which brings us to the premise of this book , quite simple really, that the clock is running out on the last generation dedicated to better living through electri
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable, but didn’t hit as close to home as his first one.

I’m always glad when someone a lot smarter than me cares a lot more about something I like and chooses to write about it. It’s the same as having a good meal with a true foodie. They heighten the experience by pointing out the stuff you can sense but can’t describe.

Even if you don’t want to read this book, or Hayden in particular, I hope you have critic in your life that jives with your sensibilities.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Twilight of the Gods is an awesome read from cover to cover. Definitely enjoyed pretty much every page and will read it again down the road. This book is an ode to the art for, known as classic rock and a must read for anyone who grew up before the advent of Napster and Spotify changed the music world. Hyden draws the period from Sgt. Pepper to now as the classic rock period and sees that era changing because people now make playlists and don't buy albums, which used to occupy a hallowed place i ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
That critical period from about age 10 to about age 20 imprints you to the pop culture and tells you the way the world works. It is not for nothing that Napoleon said: "you can tell a lot about a (wo)man by what the world was like when (s)he was 20." The classic rock gods who filled the airwaves from the late sixties well into the early nineties defined a generation but that generation like all generations is passing. Rock, which hinged on the antics and excesses of youth is now the province of ...more
William Fluke
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not so qualified snippets/ ramblings on classic rock; I had so many issues with this book, I had to finish it to get to my review of the book. Here is what makes it NOT worth a read:
- no common thread running through the book to connect the various snippets and back-stories about classic rock- some interesting, but most you already have heard/read
- the author- while noted as published and a critic and by those standards could be qualified to write such a book, I couldn't get beyond the fact this
John Spiller
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
To put "Twilight of the Gods" in a perspective that Steven Hyden would appreciate: it is the "Goat's Head Soup" of rock books. Let me explain.

If you have an interest in "Twilight of the Gods," you are undoubtedly familiar with the Rolling Stones' "Goats Head Soup". "Goats Head Soup" is many things -- underrated and overrated -- precisely because it contains both great songs and terrible songs. (This is the band that created "Exile on Main Street"?)

Hyden's "Twilight of the Gods" alternates betwee
Gus Sanchez
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The main takeaway from Steven Hyden’s fantastic and much-deserved meditation of classic rock is that the mythology of what constitutes classic rock is greater than its sad and sordid truth. As our heroes have either departed this mortal coil (Bowie, Prince, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen, etc.) or are contemplating retirement, we now find ourselves reckoning with what classic rock truly means. Hyden presents several illuminating (and hilarious) arguments on what Led Zeppelin and Keith Richards and Bru ...more
Stefan Fergus
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
A lot of great stuff, that I really connected with, but also a fair amount that I didn't - mainly, because of the bands covered. When it was a band I was familiar with, I was all-in; when I wasn't familiar with the band, or not a fan of their work, then my attention drifted. Also, the first few chapters could get a bit bogged down with setting things up for the later chapters.
If you're a fan of music, I'm sure you'll find a lot to like, but sometimes this will depend on your interest in the
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Apparently the major difference between Steven Hyden and me is that he likes long, noodling guitar solos and I do not. Otherwise, I found his take on a lifetime of classic rock love to be remarkably poignant and relatable. I felt like I could have written parts of this book, particularly Hyden's description of discovering the great records of the past through crappy commercial radio, and his assertion that "Classic rock was there before I was born, and I was sure that it would be there long afte ...more
Dayna Long
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. Funny and thoughtful. The whole exercise of thinking about how fans of classic rock who were born after the genre's glory days experience the music and musicians is interesting and also touching. Reading about Hyden growing his youthful cassette collection made me think of raiding my parents' cassettes as a thirteen-year-old and later, making tough economical decisions about which CDs to purchase with birthday gift cards to Best Buy. I do think that the advent of Greatest Hits collec ...more
Len or Len
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read this very quickly and liked it a lot. Hyden tackles all the classic rock mythology of performers like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Springsteen and Tom Petty. The tone is not mournful, more wistful. Hyden is a very fluid writer and he writes bothe entertainingly and with insight.
Patrick Macke
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
I was never really sure where the author was going with this book. At times the book feels like a compact history of Classic Rock, but it isn't that. What it is is a road trip through the Classic Rock landscape with stops at about fifty of Classic Rock's roadside shrines (some more meaningful than others). The dude in the driver's seat took me down a bunch of streets and back alleys I didn't want to travel down. On the radio, he wanted to skip songs I loved and then he played (really loud) songs ...more
Ace Boggess
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What Chuck Klosterman does for hair metal in Fargo Rock City, Twilight of the Gods does for classic rock. Hyden's book, like Klosterman's, is part journalistic take on a musical genre and part memoir exploring the author's experiences with and nostalgia for that music. The book is filled with insights, but also marvelously laced with humor. I was as surprised by how many times I thought, "Wow, I didn't know that," as I was by how many times I found myself laughing out loud. This is a strong work ...more
Wray F
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who knew other guys had a Jim Morrison "Doors phase" after the Oliver Stone film came out in the early 90's? As embarrasing as it is to admit now, I too momentarily thought it was cool to drink whiskey straight from the bottle, write shitty poetry, and behave in stupid, reckless ways. I thought it was "Dionysian" and went back to Ancient Greece. Really, I was just a drunk and naive 21 year old, who had questionable taste in heroes (Hello, Hunter S. Thompson a short time later).
Most of your big
Julien L
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have so many thoughts about this book, that I doubt I'll be able to get them all out in a cohesive manner, but needless to say I enjoyed it. The exploration of classic rock through its history, sociology, and mythology from the perspective of both fan and critic is extraordinarily well done in this book. It details thoughts I've thought before while looking at things from angles I hadn't considered. There are times where the book goes off into tangents that don't exactly go back into the core ...more
Michael Mingo
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've always liked Hyden as a writer, so no surprise I'm down with the individual essays here. He knows popular music and writes about it with a lightly wry attitude. Picks of the bunch: "My Love Will Not Let You Down" (on Springsteen with a brief detour on Petty) and, even though much of it is repeated verbatim from an AV Club article, "Keep on Loving You" (on REO Speedwagon and Fleetwood Mac). The former just does well in conveying the subjective experience of watching a concert, while the latt ...more
Christopher Hart
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A really enjoyable read, but not quite the book I'd hoped it would be. What was I hoping for? Based on the subtitle, I guess I was looking forward to accounts of and insight from classic rockers who are still touring intimate venues with decimated versions of their original lineups. For example, America will be dragging their 60- and 70-year-old selves to play up here in the freezing drizzle of Portland, Maine, this March. Why? What motivates the classic rock musicians who are still performing a ...more
David B.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this Book. Every chapter is about a different Classic Rock artist(s) and how they influenced popular culture at the time and what those artist meant to the author Steven Hyden. Reading it took me down memory lane. Since I was born in 1969, I remember when most of these artist were at the peak of their powers. I also remember when I heard the bands that were no longer together (i.e. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, old Pink Floyd, old Rolling Stones, old Rush and many othe ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring and completely out of touch. I had to DNF during the Dylan chapter because these are the opinions of someone who doesn't really understand music, the current culture or what caused the decline of rock music. Also, anyone who believes in white privilege can't be taken seriously. You're a dinosaur, man.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
How much you enjoy it may hinge on whether you agree with some of its premises (I can't get behind the idea that the Classic Rock-era existed into the 90s, let alone that Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile was "the last classic rock" album(!)), but I thought its viewpoints were interesting and with enough humor to at least smooth out the parts I wasn't fully on board with.
Chris McClinch
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent read, by another classic rock junkie who's pretty much exactly my age and whose experience with classic rock mirrors my own.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
He's a bit of a sensationalist but has a good sense of humor.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brain-explosion
Just wonderful. From growing up with classic rock as back ground music to running errands with my mom in our station wagon to all the years hence, this music is a part of me. I loved this book from start to finish.
David Melbie
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one, really.
Recommended to David by: Library pick
Trying to put something in a "box" when it does not need to be in a "box!" My only hope for Hyden is that music heals his tortured soul!
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, nonfiction
Another solid Steven Hyden music book. This one is an ode to his favorite genre, perhaps in an effort to get it published while any of his heroes are still alive to read it. It's something like 1/3 genre discussion--what "classic rock" is, and where the genre's definition gets fuzzy--1/3 callouts to particular artists, and 1/3 miscellaneous opinions on various aspects of classic rock fanhood.

Readers will agree with some of it and disagree with some of it, which is the whole point, and I general
Brad B
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I planned to give Twilight of the Gods 2 stars - there are far too many passages written by an author who is overly impressed with his own record collection. I also wanted the author to go a lot deeper into the more larcenous aspects of "classic rock" - including the profit motives that gave us a "classic rock" genre in the first place, and the historic monopoly by white male artists.

However, in fairness, I'm not really part of this book's target demographic - I have a passing interest in musici
Jack Wolfe
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hey hey, my my... Rock and roll will probably die
It doesn't matter if you burn out or fade away
Because we all die, oh yeah

Neil Young once said something like that?

Steven Hyden isn't the first person to notice the curious fascination classic rock has with time and death. But what makes "Twilight of the Gods" special is that, as a member of Generation X, Hyden came to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Springsteen, Bob Seger, et al as someone "out of time," a kid who thought this stuff was eternal, that it
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was Steven Hyden, once upon a time.

I, too, spent my teen and college years reading collections of pop/rock criticism (Dave Marsh! Lester Bangs! Greil Marcus! Ed Ward!) and loving classic rock before being able to move forward to the more adventurous stuff. I, too, noticed that sometime in the mid/late 1980s rock seemed to lose itself in self-inflicted nostalgia, with the old standard-bearers suddenly unsure of what to do with themselves and the new folks making carbon copies of the already-car
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My reaction: "Classic Rock" is a radio format 1 3 Jan 25, 2019 12:08AM  

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