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

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

Steven Hyden. Dey Street, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-265712-1

Music critic Hyden (Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me) explores the evolution of classic rock in this sharp collection of essays. Hyden looks back at bands such as Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, whose mythical status drew him in as a teenager, and traces their legacy to contemporary acts such as Japandroids, a Canadian guitar-and-drums stadium rock duo. Classic rock began, Hyden maintains, with the Beatles’ 1967 release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “where the Beatles officially stopped being lovable mop-topped pop stars and became serious rock intellectuals.” Hyden’s critiques are consistently on target and humorous: according to Hyden, the Eagles were not popular because they were particularly good as a band, but because they were “craven capitalists” who “were cool like the captain of the high school baseball team was cool.” Hyden is also acutely aware of the overwhelming straight white maleness of the classic rock canon, dissecting his own teenage listening experience through a socially aware lens (“On the classic-rock station—with the exception of Jimi Hendrix and Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy—there were no black artists”). Hyden has created a hilariously opinionated personal history of classic rock that should resonate with his fellow genre enthusiasts. (May)