Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Serendipitous discovery

Corn Flakes with John Lennon: And Other Tales from a Rock ’n’ Roll Life by Robert Hilburn

Bono introduces this book, and I’ve fallen in love with him because of the way he writes. My land, what a gorgeous introduction. And the thing is, Bono’s intro makes you crave hearing about Hilburn-the-elusive-journalist’s story just as much as hearing Bono’s, Lennon’s, Dylan’s, Cash’s…

And then Hilburn’s voice starts, and man. How did I almost never read this book?!

I only checked it out from the library because I ran across a copy while browsing books at a secondhand record store I visited only because a visiting-from-out-of-town friend likes secondhand record stores. Which makes me wonder how many other great things I am—right this very second—missing out on, because some random turn of events has not yet led me to them.

Hilburn was a music critic at the Los Angeles Times, and over the years he got to talk to darn near everyone significant in rock. And it seems he had a skill at developing a rapport with most of them, because the interviews often turned into real conversations.

So, as the title suggests, Hilburn has eaten Corn Flakes with John Lennon, and he’s also caught him sneaking bites of a candy bar when Yoko wasn’t looking. (Lennon was supposed to be on this uber-healthful diet.) And Bob Dylan played part of Hilburn’s recommended set list at a concert in Israel. This book is filled with good stuff like that.

He’s interviewed Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, and oodles of other big names over the years.

Great writing and an interesting personal narrative, interwoven with stories about rock stars. Fabulous.

2 comments:

Kailana said...

This sounds really interesting. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Unruly Reader said...

Kailana -- Hilburn's a great writer, and the subject matter is fascinating.