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Lightning Striking

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781474625081

Price: £75

ON SALE: 16th November 2021

Genre: The Arts / Music

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Memphis, 1954. New Orleans 1957. Philadelphia 1959. Liverpool, 1962. San Francisco 1967. Detroit 1969. New York, 1975. London 1977. Los Angeles 1984 / Norway 1993. Seattle 1991.

Rock and roll was birthed in basements and garages, radio stations and dance halls, in cities where unexpected gatherings of artists and audience changed and charged the way music is heard and celebrated, capturing lightning in a bottle. Musician and writer Lenny Kaye explores ten crossroads of time and place that define rock and roll, its unforgettable flashpoints, characters and visionaries, how each generation came to be, how it was discovered by the world. Whether Elvis Presley’s Memphis, the Beatles’ Liverpool, Patti Smith’s New York or Kurt Cobain’s Seattle, LIGHTNING STRIKING reveals the communal energy that creates a scene, a guided tour inside style and performance, to see who’s on stage, along with the movers and shakers, the hustlers and hangers-on, and why everybody is listening. Grandly sweeping and minutely detailed, informed by Kaye’s acclaimed knowledge and experience as a working musician, LIGHTNING STRIKING is an ear-opening insight into our shared musical and cultural history, a carpet ride of rock and roll’s most influential movements and moments.


Lightning Striking is a true testimonial and epic love letter to the soul saving power of rock & roll. Lenny Kaye writes with a guitar player's rhythm and the image strewn fevered prose of a beat poet, sharing arcane knowledge of the joy of a true believer. Read it and be inspired, as I was
Bobby Gillespie
Lenny Kaye - music scribe, record hound, Patti Smith guitarist, all around good guy - has always been the role model for all us young punk rock pups to get on the good foot and to fight the good fight. Lenny knows that "Hail Hail Rock 'n' Roll" would of been writ by Shakespeare if the bard had hung out at CBGB in '76. And Lenny is the one rock writer who actually knows how to ROCK! No jestering - God bless Lenny Kaye
Thurston Moore
Written with a historian's precision and a musician's sense of improvisation, this is a joyful celebration of rock music written by someone who witnessed much of it first hand, as both fan and participant. Tracing roots mined and routes traveled, spotlighting dozens of long forgotten classics along the way, via interstates and back roads, from seedy stages, basements and backroom bars to major venues across the world, the energy and excitement of the music jumps off every page. This is a vivid and wonderful book
Lee Ranaldo
I first knew him as a writer. Then guitarist, lifelong friend and collaborator. We have performed side by side on the global stage through half a century and shared his love of the evolution of our mutual vocation. In Lightning Striking, Lenny Kaye has illuminated ten facets of the jewel called rock and roll from a uniquely personal and knowledgeable perspective. He draws from a lifetime of inspiration and experience. A youth plugging in his first electric guitar, a fan taking the dance floor, a propelling player, a humble guardian of history, and the writer I have always known him to be
Patti Smith, Patti Smith
Whether or not he was physically present, Lenny Kaye was there for every major shedding of rock and roll's skin, and in Lightning Striking he takes you there with him. The book chronicles episode after episode of mounting excitement, unexpected breakthrough, wild-hair epiphany, triumphant unveiling--followed by the comedowns and consequences. He has a great eye for settings and a great ear for jokes and scuttlebutt in addition to the sounds themselves, which he makes three-dimensional. His knowledge is unparalleled, his writing is evocative and often inspired, his sympathies are broad and his understanding is deep. You could not hope for a better tour guide
Luc Sante
Lenny Kaye's passion and experience precedes him. Lightning Striking is both personal discovery and potted history of the scenes, and the winners and losers around which rock music's most important developments formed . . . an illuminating account of rock history from birth to resurrections
Record Collector