The Magic Years: Scenes from a Rock-and-Roll Life

Jonathan Taplin. Heyday, $28 (344p) ISBN 978-1-597145-25-1
In this vivid albeit occasionally shallow memoir, Taplin (Outlaw Blues) recounts his extraordinary life spent with major cultural figures of the last half-century. As an “apprentice road manager for [Bob] Dylan’s manager,” in 1965, an 18-year-old Taplin watched Dylan get booed off the stage at the Newport Folk Festival, only to be coaxed back by Johnny Cash. This “divisive show” prompted “a series of random acts of good fortune—being in the right place at the right time,” that eventually led Taplin to become Dylan’s tour manager and a witness to some of the greatest rock-and-roll moments of the ’60s. After Woodstock, he began producing films, and (thanks to a film critic friend) quickly got an in with Martin Scorsese. Taplin attempts to frame his experiences as part of a larger picture about “the messiness and chance that are essential to the development of culture,” but despite having dinner with the Beatles and rubbing elbows with Jackie O and Eric Clapton, his reflections and stories (“I was lying by my pool in Laurel Canyon when Marty Scorsese and Barry Primus arrived in a 1957 Thunderbird”) can land as simple name-dropping rather than a deeper consideration of his milieu. Some impressive anecdotes aside, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/29/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-59714-526-8
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