About a year ago the editor Paul Elie told me Will Hermes and Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York City That Changed Music Forever. Elie pointed out that the last thing the world needed was another hagiography of New York, or the 70s, or the music scene. (Any music scene.) But Hermes had created something new and worthwhile: he didn’t just focus on the rock scene, riffing on Lou Reed and Patti Smith for 300 pages. He didn’t just cover hip hop and the explosion of experimentation in the Bronx.
Instead his book, which just published a few weeks ago, goes for the panoptic view of the concurrent progress in salsa, jazz, rock, hip hop and classical music.
It’s a given that New York has dozens of diverse musical scenes and genres all percolating simultaneously. What’s amazing about these stretches of time in Hermes’ book is that the artists involved were all geniuses. Kool Herc was inventing turntablism the very same month Philip Glass completed Music in Twelve Parts. How nuts is that?
So Will Hermes put together a few playlists, each covering a different four-week period in NYC. I had a ton of fun helping him out:
4 Weeks in New York Music: 1973
4 Weeks in New York Music: 1974
4 Weeks in New York Music: 1975
Oh, and the title for this post came from a tweet by a reader, who said he was having loads of fun YouTubing the book as he read along.