A mind-expanding dive into a lost chapter of 1968, featuring the famous and forgotten: Van Morrison, folkie-turned-cult-leader Mel Lyman, Timothy Leary, James Brown, and many more Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend, a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. In his first book, acclaimed rock musician and journalist Ryan H. Walsh unearths the album's fascinating backstory--along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed it: Boston 1968.On the 50th anniversary of that tumultuous year, Walsh's book follows a criss-crossing cast of musicians and visionaries, artists and "hippie entrepreneurs," from a young Tufts English professor who walks into a job as a host for TV's wildest show (one episode required two sets, each tuned to a different channel) to the mystically inclined owner of radio station WBCN, who believed he was the reincarnation of a scientist from Atlantis. Most penetratingly powerful of all is Mel Lyman, the folk-music star who decided he was God, then controlled the lives of his many followers via acid, astrology, and an underground newspaper called Avatar.A mesmerizing group of boldface names pops to life in Astral Weeks James Brown quells tensions the night after Martin Luther King is assassinated; the real-life crimes of the Boston Strangler come to the movie screen via Tony Curtis; Howard Zinn testifies for Avatar in the courtroom. From life-changing concerts and chilling crimes, to acid experiments and hippie entrepreneurs, Astral Weeks is the secret, wild history of a unique time and place....
|Title||:||Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968|
|Number of Pages||:||368 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Astral » Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968|
Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 Reviews
The Van stuff was great, but the Boston stuff wasn't as interesting.
There are a lot of books out there about the 60’s, hippie counterculture, LSD, race relations and Vietnam. Yes San Francisco was the hub of it all, but it is refreshing to read something that isn’t Haight Ashbury or Grateful Dead related. 1968 Boston brought mystics and creatives, such as Van Morrison and Mel Lyman.
A truly great study of an unknown time in Boston’s history that is written around Mel Lyman and the Fort Hill Community and the Van Morrison’s brief but impactful time in the city. H ...more
Whenever I ponder my favorite albums, Astral Weeks has consistently been near the top.
I really wanted to like this book but it was not exactly what I expected. I thought it would be more mostly about Van Morrison, his career at that point, and the recording sessions for the album. No, it was more about the broader Boston music scene (of which Morrison was a part). I am not a fan of Boston and he spent way too much time on Mel Lyman.
I don't know for whom this book is intended. The title is clearly designed to lure fans of Van Morrison, and the lure worked on me. However, there is actually very little about Morrison and his work in this book. Instead there is a lot of random information about people and events in Boston around the same time that Morrison was there. There are gangsters, a folk music cult, happenings, psychedelic public television, a bank robbery and LSD. I couldn't have cared less about any of it and abandone ...more
Before purchasing "Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968" by Ryan Walsh, you need to know a few things. (Don't worry, there's no spoilers.) First, it is not one of those book length explorations of the making of a classic rock album in the style of the 33 1/3 Series. Yes, Walsh explores how Van Morrison came to record "Astral Weeks," but it more of a point of departure than the crux. Second, this is not a book length exploration of a given year, a la Jon Savage's "1966". I didn't keep count, bu ...more
Not for the casual fan of Van the Man, but people who love Astral Weeks (the album) or follow the Boston music scene will appreciate this detailed history. I reviewed Astral Weeks (the book) for The Current.
I was 15 in 1968. I remember attending a union gathering with my parents and wandering around the streets in my paisley shirt, dodging in and out of head shops, record stores and hippie boutiques only now realizing that the tiny bit of Bosstown that I experienced was like a turntable stylus, only me scratching the surface. This book is amazing. I picked it up because I'm a huge Van fan, and have always loved Astral Weeks. Ryan Walsh, who is looking at a seminal year from the remove of five decad ...more
I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways.
There were so many interesting stories and back stories in this book, that it either needed to be longer or to shorten its scope. The Fort Hill Community alone could have taken up the entire book, as could Van Morrison and his time in Boston. Trying to mash them together, though in time period they really were in sync, does them both a disservice. Then you throw in everything else that was happening at around the same time--Dylan goes ...more