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Television's Marquee Moon (33 1/3) Paperback – June 9, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The New York punk scene of the 1970s doesn't lack for documentation ... That Bryan Waterman still finds something new to say is impressive enough, but he expertly expands the context for Television's debut album and for the Bowery punk movement within New York's larger arts scene. At more than 200 pages, it's one of the longest titles in the series, but each page seems to contain some new idea or discovery.” ―Stephen M. Deusner, Pitchfork

About the Author

Bryan Waterman teaches American literature and culture at New York University. His previous books include, with Cyrus R. K. Patell, The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of New York City.

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Product Details

  • Series: 33 1/3 (Book 83)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (June 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441186050
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441186058
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.6 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The first thing I ever read about the New York rock scene in the mid-70s was an article in Rolling Stone about a festival of unsigned bands at some place called CBGB. I hated what was on the radio and was looking for something, SOMETHING, I could get behind. I had never heard or heard of The New York Dolls or the Velvet Underground. The movie "Serpico" had made me want to move to New York City in the worst way. It just looked so cool to my 17-year-old eyes, especially compared to the shopping malls that surrounded me on Riverdale Road in West Springfield, Mass., where I had just seen the film.

I waited and waited until these bands I had read about came out with records. The first one I bought was the first one by Blondie on Private Stock Records. I liked "Rip Her to Shreds" and the band's somehow retro viewpoint (although I could not have verbalized this at the time). The second one I found was the "Live at CBGBs" on Atlantic. The only cuts that I truly took to on that disc were "Let Me Dream If I Want To" by Mink DeVille and "I Need a Million" by The Laughing Dogs. I listened to the few crowd noises and stage banter within the grooves and dreamed of what it must be like in this bar with these people, especially compared to the dives in shopping malls that I hung out in with friends where "Dream Weaver" would play from the juke box (of 45 rpm records).

When I finally found "Marquee Moon" by Television that was it. It gave me a feeling of being in a city, even though I had never even lived in what could be called an urban environment before. It, more than anything else, made me finally move to NYC in the summer of 1978 when I was 22.
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Format: Paperback
Much, much more than a mere review of Marquee Moon, Waterman's book is the most thorough biography of Television available, and it is a delicious read. Meticulously researched and passionately narrated, the story of the band's development is traced from their earliest stages as scrappy NY poets, to their Marquee Moon apex, down to their dissolution. Since the album is such a singular, mystical and thrilling work of art, a book such as this is long overdue. Waterman takes us through the development of the CBGBs scene, the state of 1970s NY rock, and the mind of Tom Verlaine (as best as possible), balancing the voices of musicians, critics, and his own analysis.

Since I first heard the album in 1991, I've been perplexed how such a sound was born out of the same scene that gave us The Ramones. TV's motives remain obscure, but I feel much more informed about their influences (socially and artistically), how they were perceived in the scene, how they were received by the public, and why an album as glorious as Marquee Moon has languished barely above cult status. Such a close investigation into "just the facts" does nothing to tarnish the gleam of the Television sound. Just the opposite - I now have a deeper appreciation for the band and a renewed endearment to the album.

One small complaint - the book's copy editors do need to review the text, as I found a number of grammatical errors, and one factual: The Cars were a Boston band, not Canadian.
OK, done complaining - go buy this book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have started this review two or three times, trying to decide what I really want to say about it. On the one hand, there is so little available about Television, that I welcome and embrace pretty much anything that helps bring attention to a band that I profoundly love and respect. By the same token, I have some serious issues with the book that I am hesitant to go too far in praising it simply because it exists.

I picked up Marquee Moon a couple of days after it was released, as soon as it made it the a local Indianapolis record shop. I had never heard the band, but had followed them at distance through NYC-centric publications like Rock Scene magazine. The record had a significant influence on 16-year-old me, just beginning to play in bands and write songs. Listening to our Swirls Away album again after so many years made me realize how significantly Television influenced and informed the stuff I was playing and writing. But way beyond that, the album and the band became touchstones for me, life in general department. I mourned when the band broken up and followed the careers of the justly-celebrated Verlaine and the criminally-overlooked Richard Lloyd down to this day. I would be hard pressed to name my favorite album of all time, but Marquee Moon in certainly in the top 2 or 3. Enough background.

Okay then, the book. Waterman writes well and the book is very readable, coherent and enjoyable as a read. However, he spends 2/3 of the book rehashing in great detail information and history that most fans of the band are going to be familiar with.
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