Rat Salad: Black Sabbath, The Classic Years, 1969--1975

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9780312367237: Rat Salad: Black Sabbath, The Classic Years, 1969--1975

A brand-new look at Black Sabbath, one of the most outrageous bands in the history of rock music
 
This information-rich, idiosyncratic, and beguiling book paints a vivid picture of Black Sabbath at its beginning, from 1967 to 1975---the time in which the band made its greatest albums:  Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Vol. 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and Sabotage.
But Rat Salad diverges from routes taken by most rock biographies---its detailed, song-by-song analysis of the band's masterworks is interwoven with a personal account of the news stories and culture of the time, from Vietnam to Bloody Sunday to the space program. These narrative chapters---think Ian MacDonald's Revolution in the Head meets Spinal Tap meets Nick Hornby---persuasively explain the appeal of the music, its compositional artistry, and its frequently audacious inventiveness.
Original and passionate, Rat Salad embraces a remarkably diverse cast of characters---from Ozzy Osbourne himself and the other members of the band through to Edith Sitwell, Breugel the Elder, John Milton, and Doris Day. The author's hand looms large in the piece, as he grows from schoolboy ingenue to inveterate devotee and looks back at a life populated with love, sex, drugs, and death and played out against a rich sonic backdrop of crucifixes and power chords.

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About the Author:

Paul Wilkinson was raised in England's Peak District and graduated with a degree in psychology in 1983. Since then, he has worked extensively in the arts and entertainment industry and currently manages an arts center in east London, close to where he lives. He has played guitar and sung in a number of failed pop outfits: most notably, inept Beatles-copyists The Originals, and close-harmony, cabaret joke-band The Stallions of Love. He has been a fan of Black Sabbath for over thirty years. Rat Salad is his first book.

From Publishers Weekly:

The instant popularity and phenomenal sales of Black Sabbath's first two albums in 1970 created a generational divide within the rock music audience, with teenage listeners too young to have experienced the Summer of Love responding to Sabbath's dark vision of a violent world in songs like War Pigs and Iron Man. In this witty and musically sophisticated appreciation, first-time author Wilkinson forcefully argues that Sabbath produced six truly exceptional albums about which remarkably little of consequence has been written. Album by album and song by song, he shows how the gloomy tone of Sabbath's music resulted primarily from guitarist Tony Iommi's repetitive use of the minor key tonic/subtonic shift of E and D and the frequent adoption of semitonal intervals. His short chapters on the historical and biographical context of each album will entertain his stated audience, the grown-ups who were there at the time and who lived through it. Best of all, Wilkinson is never dull in his assessments, dismissing one song that dissolves into a turgid and repetitive 4/4 riff on a B power chord, praising another that mixes spectacularly intricate and weighty guitar work with passages of surprising, and enduring, melody and noting that yet another is breathtaking in its alternating ugliness and beauty. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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