Thursday, October 08, 2009

Robert Hilburn's Book

One thing that always happened after Robert Hilburn did a piece on U2 or Springsteen were the inevitable letters from readers wishing he'd move on to something else. Hilburn loved those acts, and wrote about them often. Those two, along with Dylan make up a good portion of Corn Flakes with John Lennon (Rodale), Hilburn's memoir of 37 years as a Los Angeles Times music critic. Oh, to be sure there are things in here about Lennon, Kurt Cobain and others. Being a music critic for 37 years, Hilburn did write about other artists.

His look back at how he got to the L.A. Times, and his childhood make for a better read than what he makes of Bono or Springsteen.
And that's what makes this a rather frustrating read. Does anyone need any more books on what Bono or Springsteen or Dylan think? Especially when nothing new is revealed in those interviews? LA Times music readers know all about this. Hilburn was rather stubborn. Sticking to cover stories on these guys, when readers wanted him to branch out more.
Knowing (and having read Hilburn's pieces) that he championed many albums and artists I wanted him to dig deeper. There are blurbs in the book about those things, but they are tossed off. But then I realized that if Robert Christgau or Dave Marsh wrote this book, there would be lovingly crafted chapters on Sonic Youth or the Who (and Marsh loves Bruce too).
Add to Technorati Favorites