Waiting For The Sun – By Barney Hoskyns

Waiting For The Sun - By Barney Hoskyns

Barney Hoskyns (born May 5, 1959) is a British music critic and editor of Rock Backpage Online Music Journalism Archive. Before giving up his work as a staff writer for the latter to research the book Soul Music, he started writing music for Melody Maker and the New Musical Express. He also wrote for five years about pop culture and art for British Vogue and was co-editor of The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer and Arena Magazine.

Barney Hoskyn’s Waiting for the Sun is a beautifully written and illustrated history of the music scene of Los Angeles from World War II to the early 1990s. This book features vivid portraits of many famous and famous people who were part of the scene: Phil Spector, Ricky Nelson, Sam Cooke, David Crosby, Neil Young, Sonny Bono, Beach Boys, Jim Morrison, Gram Parsons, Charles Manson, Randy Newman, Dan X, N.W.A. It discusses many talented people who never made it to the big time or lost before reaching their full potential. Given that so many artists are able to be on the L.A. scene, and so many of them are willing to write about the city (Hoskyn lists four pages of songs about Los Angeles on the back of his book, so it’s no surprise that a book tracing the evolution of the L.A. scene was inevitable).

Barney Hoskyn’s book Waiting for the Sun is a reprint of a tome published in hardcover in the UK in 1996 and in paperback in the US in 2003. It debuts 15 years later, though it hasn’t been updated from the original.

This means that while it covers the early 90s L.A. music scene it ends with white hip-hop maestro Beck not having a relevant album since Odelay. This fact comes as no surprise to Otis, who did not know about the musical heritage of Central Avenues until reading Waiting for the Sun, Barney Hoskyn’s extensive narrative history of music and musicians in California. After reading the book, Otis returned to his memoir to describe his experiences in Watts for the second time, the first being Listening to Lamb in 1965, which triggered his experiences with the Watts riots.

In writing The Lambs, John Hammond, the musical director of Columbia, encouraged Otis to incorporate his musical experience as he had been a musician. In this next attempt, Otis set out to better document his life in rhythm and blues.

Hoskyn’s Whispers and Screams proposes Los Angeles as a city that embodies with particular clarity the brightest and darkest parts of American culture. The book gives a good insight into what is happening in Los Angeles and how much of it is interconnected. Subtitles Strange Days, Weird Scenes and Sounds: Los Angeles in the USA and stories from the Los Angeles music scene in the UK.

Hoskyns approaches the last 50 years as a series of discreet movements and scenes: Central Avenue jazz in the 1940s, relaxed country-rock in the early 1970s, beach-town punk in the early 1980s, Gangsta rap in the 1990s and the shackles and cycles of short high life and hard failures that reflect Los Angeles ‘inability to sustain both. These topics make for compelling reading, and “Waiting for the Sun” lives up to its title. The books dry sarcasm and succinct, sharp commentary color his fascinating portrait of California sound in his epic tragicomedy.

A peculiarity is that waiting for the sun is crammed with information. There are numerous interviews with the famous, forgotten and legends. Hoskyns gives the last word on eternal Hollywood howler Kim Fowley, the man who saw it all and joked about teen jive in the 1960s and punk teen jive in the 1990s.

British rock ‘n”roller was at the center of the scene, but much of the sound of American music depended on a different taste. With the Beatles, the Stones and the rest of the British invasion of the 1960s came the presence of an invisible vocal entity that was a record producer in its own way. Sound engineers, moguls and other UK musicians and techies came to the City of Angels not to produce their own people, but to influence the names of the bands that wanted a slice of the pie.

Waiting for the Sun Blacks emigrated to Southern California in the early 1920s, but not in large numbers. This changed over the next decade when large numbers of people came to the Land of the Sun. A national correspondent for PBS’s MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour, he was born in what he called a small western village tucked away in a remote corner of South Carolina.

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