People have asked “what happened to the revolution of the ‘60s?” Was it a fad? Fashion? Richard Goldstein may not be the first person to try to answer that question, but so far he is the most eloquent in his memoir “Another Little Piece of My Heart.”
Richard Goldstein was the rock critic for the Village Voice in the late ’60s, one of the first to treat rock as a serious art form and not just novelty music for kids. Goldstein seems to have been in all the right places for most of ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll. His honeymoon was at the Monterey Jazz and Pop Festival that launched Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to national prominence. Goldstein found a kindred spirit in Janis Joplin and befriended her.
He was also one of the first advocates, in print, for The Doors (see “The Shaman as Superstar” at thedoors.com). He interviewed the band and in a few pages here gives unique insight into Morrison that a lot of biographers would kill for. Goldstein was there when The Doors appeared on the Ed Sullivan show and provides some behind-the-scenes information that adds to the legend.
Goldstein was very hip to the rock scene. In “Another Little Piece of My Heart” he offers some of the best explanations of how and why rock became the social force that it is. Goldstein is very aware of the racial component and the politics of rock. When the revolution and chaos of rock spilled over into the chaos of ’60s revolution, Goldstein followed the story, going so far as to become a participant, Yet there was a price to be paid for his idealism and belief, as the title “Another Little Piece of My Heart” wistfully foreshadows.
Goldstein’s writing has the same cadences of his speaking voice, a rarity that makes his writing as instantly identifiable as a band’s sound. There’s also a fluidity that makes this book easy to read. Goldstein is one of the more honest writers I’ve ever encountered and it puts the events and characters in this memoir into perspective. If that honesty doesn’t parallel the prevailing wisdom, so be it, but Goldstein doesn’t sugarcoat the times, the people, or even himself. As such the writing is also very persuasive. I’m not a big of fan of Janis Joplin, but from Goldstein’s recollections I’ve developed a new empathy for her.
Many of you will find yourselves not wanting to put down the book and reading it straight through, but “Another Little Piece of My Heart” is like a fine meal to be savored and not some fast food to be gulped down. Try it if you can.
Originally published April 12, 2015.