Featured Book – Star Turn – Intergalactic Rockstar – The Cover Notes

I am presently working on two new Sci-fi novels.

Opher's World

I’m not sure I like the cover notes anymore. I don’t think they capture the book. I might redo them. But anyway – here they are:

The 1960s was a decade of great change. There was social upheaval and a generational split which is unparalleled. It is characterised by a naïve idealism, euphoria and optimism in the young and a reactionary conservatism in the old. Those who are familiar with the 1960s will recognise the time of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, the Beatles, Stones, Jefferson Airplane, David Bowie, Captain Beefheart, Cream, Doors, Who, Joni Mitchell, CSN, Grateful Dead, John Lennon, Joan Baez, Roy Harper, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Neil Young, Country Joe and Bob Dylan and others as Rock Music played a major role in unifying Youth and reflecting the social changes manifesting themselves in society. This was the time of the 1960s Counter-Culture with its Underground Press (IT, Rolling…

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9 thoughts on “Featured Book – Star Turn – Intergalactic Rockstar – The Cover Notes

  1. I think I can see why you don’t like these introductory notes anymore.
    Probably because they aren’t particularly accurate.
    Personally, I wouldn’t have separated Jim Morrison from The Doors, or John Lennon from The Beatles, as neither was anybody were it nor for their respective bands.
    Jefferson Airplane? I really don’t think so.
    Also David Bowie was hardly a 1960’s mover and shaker – he had one novelty hit mid 1969.
    Captain Beefheart was a complete nothing in 1960’s America. Hardly played to more than a couple of hundred in a club.
    CSN also weren’t even heard of until their album in May 1969.
    Roy Harper? A tiny club act in UK only and several years away from any UK status. He had absolutely no influence on any scene in America,
    Pink Floyd didn’t make so much as a dent in America until 1970.
    Janis Joplin? There’s nothing about any of her music that was reflective of anything to do with the scene.
    Joni Mitchell? What movement was she any part of?
    Country Joe? Nobody bought any of their records and very much regarded as a novelty act. A bit like Tiny Tim, only more of them.

    Basically, with exception of a few names, you’ve very much picked the wrong team and omitted a number of artists that were at the forefront.

    I’d have a complete re-think and do a re-write.
    I’d never have put that out in the first place.

    1. No need to do a rewrite. The book is set well into the future and the musicians I have chosen to base things around are my own personal favourites. Everyone to their own.
      How anybody can equate Electric Music for the Mind and Body with Tiny Tim is beyond me. You obviously haven’t listened to it. And John Lennon not being anything apart from the Beatles – well you have a strange sense of humour. Never mind.

      1. There lies one problem. You say your book is set well into the future, yet all these people are from back in the 1960’s. Which makes your novel of the “Slipstream” genre variety. It’s not a very sensible thing to do and bring all that baggage with you. Your book shouldn’t need supported by icons of sorts.

        I don’t think you’ve given quite enough consideration to the American music scene than perhaps is necessary to fully understand what went on.
        For a start both Country Joe and Tiny Tim were very much part of exactly the same scene. They were both featured on more bills together than you might care to remember.
        Their radio play support was in both cases very much limited to just KSAN and KMPX running out from San Francisco and KMET in Los Angeles. You’d need to have lived here to know that.
        Nobody bought that Electric Music album. Had they stuck to just doing acid-rock instrumentals they might have had more appeal, but McDonald’s songs sucked.
        In fact, their most successful seller was their appallingly bad third album titled “Together”, the one where McDonald only contributed to about a third of the songs. Country Joe were crap, another joke outfit just like Tiny Tim.

        So what was John Lennon without The Beatles?
        Would his two books of comedy poetry have been published? No.
        Would he have been in these two Dick Lester films, Hard Days Night and Help!? No.
        Had John Lennon been a solo act would he have been featured on BBC Radio for an unprecedented 52 separate appearances? No.
        Would he have been in Lester’s How I Won The War? No.
        Would John Lennon ever have been on New York TV twice in one day in May 1968 had he not been in The Beatles? No.
        You seemingly have a very strange understanding of John Lennon as quite obviously had he not been in The Beatles, he’d have been a completely unknown. It was The Beatles and only The Beatles that gave him both the opportunity and the confidence to engage with his subsequent Peace Movement protests in Amsterdam, Vienna and Montreal. Had he not been in The Beatles he would never have had a room full of the world’s press for the duration of each stay. Never you mind.

      2. Well everyone is entitled to their view. I rate Country Joe very highly as do many others. Obviously it didn’t tickle your fancy. Never Mind.
        In terms of Lennon – of course he would have made it on his own. He was the driving force behind the Beatles. Nearly all the best songs were his. He produced three exceptionally brilliant solo albums and he had the imagination to try to do something positive with his fame. I would agree that, as he wasn’t either a good writer or actor, his two books and his film would never have happened.

  2. I can’t see why you can’t understand that Country Joe turned into a novelty act almost overnight. The minute they did that “song”, all credibility went south and they joined the ranks with other musical comedians. Their appearance at Woodstock subsequently destroyed them. They were like Slade at Xmas, which about the only time you’d get to hear them. After their Electric Music album they had nothing to offer. They were done, a spent force that had completely run dry with new ideas except a cheap sweary word anthem that took all of 5 seconds to rustle up. Everyone saw it for what it was.

    So you think nearly all the best songs were Lennon’s? Do you mean in your opinion or those that sold? Do want a bet on the singles as released by The Beatles? It was the singles that were released by The Beatles that were played on the radio all over the world that led to their continued great success. Most of Lennon’s deep cuts on albums were no reflection of any of that.
    Do you want to take another look at who actually wrote these songs before you utter another word on this? Because I’ll tell you for nothing you’re completely wrong.
    Here’s why. All these singles were released in UK and/or USA.
    1. Love Me Do – Lennon/McCartney
    2. Please Please Me – L/M
    3. From Me To You – L/M
    4. She Loves You – L/M
    5. I Want To Hold You Hand – L/M
    6. All My Loving – L/M – but actually just McCartney etc.
    7. Can’t Buy Me Love – McCartney
    8. A Hard Day’s Night – Lennon
    9. I Feel Fine – L/M
    10. If I Fell – L/M
    11. Ticket To Ride – McCartney
    12. Help – Lennon
    13. Yesterday – McCartney
    14. We Can Work It Out – McCartney
    15. Day Tripper – McCartney
    16. Paperback Writer – McCartney
    17. Rain – Lennon
    18. Yellow Submarine – L/M
    19. Eleanor Rigby – McCartney
    20. Penny Lane – McCartney
    21. Strawberry Fields Forever – Lennon
    22. All You Need Is Love – Lennon
    23. Hello Goodbye – McCartney
    24. Lady Madonna – McCartney
    25. Hey Jude – McCartney
    26. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da – McCartney
    27. Get Back – McCartney
    28. The Ballad Of John And Yoko – L/M
    29. Something – Harrison
    30. Let It Be – McCartney
    31. The Long And Winding Road – McCartney
    Other Post Beatles Beatle Singles
    32. All Together Now (1972) – McCartney
    33. Yesterday (1976) – McCartney
    34. Got To Get You Into My Life (1976) – McCartney
    35. Back In The U.S.S.R. (1976) – McCartney
    36. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (1976) – McCartney
    37. Sgt. Pepper’s etc (1978) – McCartney

    McCartney has 25 of these singles written by himself with Lennon with just 5.
    These are the songs that the world over knows The Beatles by. They do not know The Beatles with Lennon deep cuts like Sexy Sadie or Everybody’s … Except Me And My Monkey.

    Also, Lennon did not produce all his records by himself. His first 3 were by Phil Spector. Then he did the miserable Mind Games by himself, and it shows. Followed by the patchy Walls And Bridges, only half-a-good album, then another with Spector. His last was produced by Jack Douglas. So I’m really not too sure to what exactly you refer. I also wouldn’t consider all of the songs on any of his albums as “exceptionally brilliant”. Not at all actually. Here’s why.
    Plastic Ono Band – Hold On, Isolation, Remember, Well Well Well, Look At Me
    Imagine – Crippled Inside, It’s So Hard, Oh My Love, How?, Oh Yoko!
    Some Time In NYC – Woman Is The Nigger Of The World, Attica State, New York City, Angela
    Mind Games – One Day (At A Time), Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple), Intuition, Only People, I Know (I Know), Meat City
    Walls And Bridges – Whatever Gets You Thru The Night, What You Got, Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox), Beef Jerky, Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)
    All of these songs are fairly terrible, in fact some are total dog-shit and do not by any measure make for any repeated listening. Their titles are more interesting than the music. I think your looking back at Lennon’s work with a minds eye almost as bad as Lennon’s eyesight was. Rose tinted spectacles clouded with myopic cognitive dissonance.
    Ever Lennon himself in retrospect was none too chuffed with a lot of his songs. Especially most of those I’ve just listed.

    Now I completely disagree with you on your comment about having the imagination to try to do something positive with his fame. He did nothing of the kind. Absolutely nothing. He was a completely narcissistic self-obsessed individual who had a camera shoot opportunity for himself organised at every juncture. He promoted nothing but himself. He simply manipulated the press to garner attention for himself. Notice how every single time it was all about John Lennon, not Vietnam. not Cambodia, not Bangla-Desh. Then he disappeared into semi-obscurity for several years counting the days for his US Green Card. Gimme a break! Imagination my arse.

    1. Peter – well I totally disagree with you on that. Country Joe had two brilliant albums and the third was patchy. After that it went downhill.
      Of course Paul was the commercial side. All he ever did was pop songs. He was great at it but Lennon provided the muscle – Yer Blues, Tomorrow Never Knows, Come Together, Strawberry Fields, Glass Onion, Revolution, Because. All the best. They complemented each other well but John had the substance. Paul was lightweight.
      John’s first two solo albums were superb and Shaved Fish was brilliant. After that it was poor. It would have been interesting to see if he got his mojo back. Too much coke, alcohol and hanging out with arseholes resting on his laurels. I don’t think his heart was in it.
      I don’t agree that his political stuff was narcissistic. He at least tried with a lot of novelty stuff to attract in the media. He had heaps of imagination.

      1. What’s to totally disagree about? Every single word and detail of example is a fact.
        These are the songs that The Beatles are known the world over by. End of story.
        You’re also dead wrong with your assumption with McCartney that “all he ever did was pop songs.” For a start that’s his lead guitar you hear on Taxman, not Harrison. Paul wrote that solo himself. Then he was the first to move into the world of avant-garde with his 14 minute Carnival of Light, recorded 5th January 1967, almost an entire year before Lennon ventured into the same territory in support of stage production for his book “In His Own Write”, where he began to compile sound effects tapes, which he worked on during the 24th and 28th of November `67. McCartney was so ahead of him.
        Both Birthday and Helter Skelter are McCartney’s. Anybody with functioning ears would never consider that as “lightweight”. Helter Skelter as a stand alone track was probably responsible for the subsequent formation of a monster list of heavy bands. Just look at the roster for UK’s Vertigo label that opened for business in the following year and tell yourself that none of these bands were influenced by McCartney’s Helter Skelter. No, I’m not going to list them. Any cognitive rock music fan already knows exactly who they all are. Where have you bin hid, man?
        There followed an entire decade’s worth of heavy rock music directly ejected from that very same canon. No wonders you missed it, with you pissing about with fuckin’ dead in the water Country Joe and his rancid dead fish. Talk about past their best date? You clocked into that for certain. They weren’t versatile enough a band. They had very little heavy-duty talent per se. A few good ideas that made for decent instrumentals but that was it. They had such an ramshackle sound with sonic mess such as “Not So Sweet, Martha Lorraine”. Didn’t do for repeated listening.
        Then there’s McCartney’s I Want You (She’s So Heavy) and Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight. A complete magnum opus by anybody’s standards.
        You might want to check out the music press these last 49 years for a mountain of appraisal commentary on that from people as diverse as Frank Zappa, Robyn Hitchcock, Patti Smith and John Lydon. You know of not what you talk.

        I already wrote out the tracks that were crap on Lennon’s first two solo albums – produced by Phil Spector and not himself. They are crap. And quite how you can sit and listen to Remember, Well Well Well, or Oh My Love and Oh Yoko! with a straight face defies description. There are abominably terrible songs. Total dog-shit.
        Shaved Fish is merely a compilation of gathered hits and misses pop singles, with the exception of the tiresome Mother, and almost in it’s entirety produced again by Phil Spector. It is not a proper album by any means. And in the process of putting it together they chopped Give Peace A Chance into bits with a minute of the original and ending with a bit of a crumby bad live version from 1972 (that few even noticed it was). But worst of all they absolutely ruined Cold Turkey because they had to make it playback at the same volume levels as the other songs, so turned it way down losing all it’s visceral sonic velocity. On the original single it had large lettering stamped across the label “PLAY LOUD”. It didn’t.

        The reason you don’t agree about Lennon’s pseudo political narcissism is because you didn’t look any further than the end of your nose. You did what most people did. You did what Lennon had wanted you to do. “Oh look, there’s John Lennon acting up so cool. Isn’t he taking the piss? Ho, ho, ho.”. He achieved nothing but self publicity.
        Listen to his complete 3 hour 30 minute interview with Jann Wenner in December 1970 and you’ll find out exactly what he’s interested in. Himself.
        When he got to New York, the first thing he did was hire in Jonas Mekas to start filming him. He met Jerry Rubin and dropped him like a hot brick upon realisation of just how uncool Rubin was considered by all the very same people that Lennon was looking for credulity from. So what did he do? He chumied up with ABC TV’s Geraldo Rivera, that’s what, and Rivera became his guiding light with all things publicity from then on. What a fucking flake he was. And you bought that crap thinking it was all genuine? I think the phrase they use for that is a “Patsy”. Consider yourself well and truly Patsied. Seriously, man, get a grip of yourself.
        Did you really believe he had “heaps of imagination”? Lol, for me that’s harder to understand how you get to thinking like that than Chinese Algebra.

      2. I doubt you could tell me anything I don’t know about McCartney. Yes he was into a lot of stuff before Lennon but he completely failed to bring any of it into his work. His songs were largely sentimental and lightweight – strong on melody, his forte, but lacking in substance. After the Beatles I don’t have much time for a single thing he produced. I care not for what anyone else says about it.
        Yes Lennon did screw up. Yes he was narcissistic. Yes he hung around with the wrong people and had a major alcohol problem. But Lennon still produced songs of substance.
        Of course Shaved Fish was a compilation and had much that could have been done better but it was none-the-less excellent.
        The two of them were better together. They married two elements perfectly.

      3. Basically, you said nothing to back up your original ill-conceived notions. You completely avoided all contact with the substance of the details.
        One minute you say McCartney only ever wrote pop songs – so I give clear examples that wasn’t always the case and you turn round with there’s nothing I could tell you about him. Really? I doubt you’d be anywhere near right there.
        Your McCartney claim is most subjective. Not at all was he “largely sentimental”. That’s crap. We don’t need your opinion on describing some of them, even my pet cat knows that bit. Everybody knows he had a melodic side. But, so did Lennon. In fact he wrote loads. All the sentimental songs on the White Album are Lennon’s. All of them.
        Or did you forget that also in haste of retreat and trying to justify your previous ill-conceived statements? You obviously not for one minute ever tried to work out what the songs on his Ram album were about. You really are so far off the map there.

        Nice bit of back-peddling done there. Well done. Yup, let’s just conveniently ignore his White Album and Abbey Road album contributions. And let’s marvel over Lennon’s half-albums, half-good and half-crap, each and every crap song having been previously listed by me.
        Quite how anybody can marvel at a compilation of hit and miss singles and consider it of any standing is pretty desperate. You must be really short of material there. Well, you are, no doubt about that. In case you didn’t know and you don’t, Shaved Fish was cobbled together to recoup Capital Records losses over Lennon’s previous very poor selling Rock ‘N’ Roll album. They couldn’t even flesh it out with any decent obscurities because there weren’t any.
        I don’t think you need to try and explain to me what Lennon did considering I had previously mentioned who he had even done it with. Which was a lot more than you had managed. You couldn’t back up one single one of your claims with anything.

        Btw, Lennon didn’t have anything of the kind of a major alcohol problem. He might have gone out and got trashed a few times – who hasn’t? Lennon’s was firstly Heroin which he eventually weaned himself off from and his long lasting drug use from 1970 onwards was Thai stick grass and Cocaine – these were his drugs of choice and not alcohol.

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