TAKE A WALK ON THE DARK SIDE: Rock and Roll Myths, Legends, and Curses

R. Gary Patterson, Author . Fireside $14 (279p) ISBN 978-0-7432-4423-7

This enjoyably lurid slice of rock history extensively updates and expands the author's earlier Hellhounds on Their Trail: Tales from the Rock N Roll Graveyard . His book focuses on the "bizarre and unexplainable," anything smacking of death and often the satanic. Starting with the legend that bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his remarkable musicianship, Patterson details similar rumors about Led Zeppelin and its leader Jimmy Page's fascination with occult guru Aleister Crowley; the Rolling Stones' flirtation with witchcraft enthusiast and filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the so-called satanic "back-masking" found on many recordings when played backwards. Much of this has been reported in various rock biographies, but Patterson's book is a complete recounting of details related to each event, such as Elvis Presley and Robert Johnson dying on the same day in the same month, 39 years apart. Patterson also expands on the "curse" of bad luck following anyone associated with Buddy Holly after his death in a plane crash and the similar string of tragic events suffered by the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. At one point, he posits that the lyrics in Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon seem to perfectly match the action in the first part of The Wizard of Oz . (July)

Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4391-0364-7
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