All heart

All heart
Reviewer: mdurshimer
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Another Little Piece of My Heart:
My Life of Rock and Revolution in the '60s
240 pages
April 14, 2015
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:

The intimate memoir of the writer as a young man with profound ambition. It is also a sweeping personal account of a decade that no one else could provide — a deeply moving, unparalleled document of rock and revolution in America.

Most Baby Boomers know Richard Goldstein as the guy who panned The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. And while he makes a startling revelation about how this happened in Another Little Piece of My Heart: My Life of Rock and Revolution in the ‘60s, Goldstein is so much more than that. He is ALL heart and the title of the book is perfect.
I’m a little too young to have fully participated in the decade that still defines my generation, but my fascination with it manifests itself in my choice of reading material. Originally, I was going to read Robert Christgau’s Going Into The City: Portrait of A Critic As A Young Man. Like Goldstein, he was one of rock’s first critics (he claims to be the dean of American rock critics and I wonder how Goldstein feels about that), but the language, coupled with the minutiae of his life, just wore me out. I picked up Another Little Piece of My Heart and was immediately engaged in the story of a nice Jewish boy who bore witness to and participated in the changing times.
At the barely grown age of 22, he became the “first widely read rock critic and a media sensation, a designated arbiter of hip.” This was before people were turning in and on and tuning out, when Dylan was still a folkie, and at the dawn of the genre of New Journalism. Goldstein was one of the voices of the Village Voice (years later he would serve as its executive editor), which afforded him all access to the ‘60s music scene and a lot of up close and personal time with icons like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Wilson, and Janis Joplin. Goldstein had the ability to look past their fame and see them as ordinary people doing an extraordinary job. It’s that heart I mentioned earlier. And he’s not afraid to use that heart to expose the real Marshal McLuhan and Timothy Leary. Goldstein has a keen eye and ear for bullsh*t and he clearly saw the two of them as bulls*t artists. It’s refreshing to read.
While on this journey, Goldstein traveled to the Haight, dropped acid, met the Diggers – did all that early hippie stuff and lived the life of a carefree counterculture critic. But when hippie-ism, for lack of a better description, went mainstream, he became disillusioned. He saw that it was not and could not work, that rock was no longer a “revolutionary force.” The Monterey Pop festival gave him an angina attack (not literally) when he realized that rock was now just an industry. So he ditched the music scene for something more important – having already been a part of the Civil Rights movement, it seemed natural that he would attach himself to the Yippies and participate in the protests outside the 1968 Democratic Convention. Radical politics replaced radical music.
But, a series of tragic events, including the death of Joplin, broke Goldstein’s heart and his writing suffered. Later in life, he came out and is now a champion for gay rights. He also teaches a course about – what else – the ‘60s. And he’s got a pretty cool website:, including that negative review of the Fab Four’s work. Definitely written from the heart.