ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART | RICHARD GOLDSTEIN | BOOK REVIEW

ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART, by Richard Goldstein, is a memoir that will echo the movie ALMOST FAMOUS. Goldstein is pretty much the first rock journalist that graced the U.S. rock scene in the 60s. Imagine endless parties, music, acid, weed and cray cray rock legends. When Goldstein calls Joplin and Morrison his friends your interest is piqued to have a peek into this world that we all dreamed of having at one stage. ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART released in May from the fine folks at Allen and Unwin, they sent us a copy for review and our resident rock chick, Fiona Fyfe, reviews this one for you. You can get the book at all good book shops or you can buy it HERE. Rock on!! JK.  

 

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ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART | RICHARD GOLDSTEIN | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | US BOOK COVER IMAGE

 

BY FIONA FYFE

Goldstein is a celebrated journalist and rock critic. He emerged from an era (the 60’s) when the term was virtually unheard of. Born into a working class Jewish family from the Bronx, at age 22 and fresh out of college, he approaches the editor of the NY publication, The Village Voice and bags a job. This book is an interesting commentary on the rock revolution and also a memoir of the writer as a young hippie trying to find his place in an ever changing landscape.

The title is taken from the famous Janis Joplin song and it’s clear that Goldstein had a great fondness for the ill-fated songstress. He describes with tenderness, Joplin’s vulnerability, her seeming confusion and her loneliness. He is never critical of her choices and claims that he was surprised that she died of a heroin overdose when he always thought that booze was her thing.

Goldstein offers a fascinating account of partying with the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. Wilson, clearly an eccentric, if not pretty much unhinged, likes to sit in a Limo in his front yard and hide from the world. It was a car that had once belonged to John Lennon and Wilson says he always felt the band was in stiff competition with the Beatles. It is amusing that the Beach Boys created the genre of surf rock when most of them had never ridden a wave and were from land-locked Oklahoma.

 

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ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | RICHARD GOLDSTEIN AUTHOR IMAGE – POSSIBLE PHOTO CREDIT TO CALEB FERGUSON

 

Goldstein and his wife Judith, accompany Wilson and co on a jaunt where everyone’s stoned and Dennis Wilson hits on Judith only to be rejected on the basis that he was too out of it to perform. A few years later, at age 39, drunk and high as a kite, Wilson drowns after falling from a marina.

Goldstein is candid about his voracious sexual appetite and admits to countless extra marital activity as well as homosexual leanings. It is curious that he makes a dedication to his husband at the end of the book and yet spends most of the novel trying to deny his homosexuality and claiming that he is predominantly attracted to women. Whether his reluctance to come out as a young man has more to do with the era he was living in and his Jewish background or whether he was just supremely confused, is a grey area. After all, in 1965, it was still illegal to serve alcohol to homosexuals in New York bars. Ultimately of course, it doesn’t matter where Goldstein’s proclivities lay but the self-deprecation and sexual bewilderment that he describes makes for slightly uncomfortable reading.

Encounters with the animalistic and sensual Jim Morrison of the Doors are note-worthy. He describes Morrison as an intriguing character whose demons include a difficult childhood and dysfunctional relationship with his father as well as chronic alcoholism. On one occasion Morrison turns up at the recording studio completely plastered and attempts to lay down some tracks only to burst out of the room threatening to shoot people. A poetic and talented creature obsessed with phallic symbols and himself, it’s hard not to draw comparisons between Morrison and the late Michael Hutchence. He might have been a loose canon, hell bent on self annihilation, but I still think he would have been a great interview subject.

 

another little piece of my heart book cover image
ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART | RICHARD GOLDSTEIN | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | BOOK COVER IMAGE

 

Goldstein is a huge fan of John Lennon and is star struck after an interview. He describes Lennon as a gentle guy who was non-judgemental and easy to talk to. Goldstein is devastated when John Lennon is shot dead a few years later. He maintains that he will always be one of his rock heroes.

Goldstein has a beautiful writing style as well as a droll way of describing his meetings with stars of the 60’s. He recalls an interview with Diana Ross where she spends most of it farting and blames it on an upset stomach. He is evidently not that enamoured with Bob Dylan as a person whom he describes as largely unsympathetic and aloof. Jimi Hendrix gets into an argument backstage with members of The Who and promptly goes off and sets fire to his guitar and hurls it into the audience. He later arrives for an interview completely stupefied and with dried vomit on his shirt. It is no surprise to Goldstein when he later learns that Hendrix has died after choking on his own puke.

He aptly sums up the era as one of “negligence of reality with a tendency towards madness.” People were dropping acid left, right and centre and hallucinating like maniacs. Initially a reluctant partaker of LSD, Goldstein eventually succumbs to the drug and describes the freakiness of heightened and intense awareness. It is apparent that he doesn’t enjoy being removed from reality or the exploration of the subconscious. He is fascinated and spellbound however, by the counter-culture, the hippies, the revolutionaries, the wild and experimental youth and movements such as the Black Panthers.

The book is a beautifully constructed journey through a rebellious and innovative era with Goldstein’s personal accounts and insights guiding the reader. For anyone remotely interested in rock and its history, it’s a must-read.

 

4 Pops