Great Pop Things
The Real History of Rock and Roll from Elvis to Oasis
by Colin B. Morton & Chuck Death
with an introduction by Greil Marcus
Paperback. 232 pages.
The comic strips of Colin B. Morton and Chuck Death deliver an irreverent, heartfelt, and devastatingly funny history of rock and roll. Like Monty Python at its best, their version is surreal and ridiculous-yet somehow everything in it rings true.
According to Morton and Death, the bass player in Led Zeppelin was Jean-Paul Sartre. And "despite having been able to think up brilliant titles for their first three albums, Led Zeppelin were stuck for what to call the fourth one-so they put a load of prunes on the front." As for Brian Eno, it was only after he was struck by a cab one day that he invented "ambivalent music, which you can't quite tell if you are listening to or not."
In strip after strip, Morton & Death pinpoint the absurdities and oddities of rock history. In the process, they often come closer to its truth than most conventional accounts, as well as being much more entertaining. Their caricatures of rock figures from Mick Jagger to Frank Zappa, Johnny Rotten to Courtney Love, are in themselves worth the price of admission.
About the authors:
Chuck Death is the pen name of Jon Langford, singer/guitarist in legendary rock band the Mekons, and a painter of growing repute. He lives in Chicago. Colin B. Morton is a writer, critic, and irrepressible satirist who lives in Newport, Wales, where he and Langford grew up.
"Imagine a deeply knowledgeable, highly insightful rock history penned by the staff of Mad magazine Writer Morton and illustrator Death (actually the Mekons' Jon Langford) are often cruel, but there's a sharp wit behind their mockery, and the finely observed detail of their barbs reveals the authors as passionate fans of their subject matter. Sure, it's just a comic strip, but Great Pop Things is music criticism at its confrontational best."--Entertainment Weekly
"A comic-book collection that brilliantly depicts the story of rock & roll"--Rolling Stone
"Smart, skewed, pun-filled"--New York Times
"Highlighting the confidence-trick aspect of pop, the authors come closer to its true outlaw spirit than any reverent approach"--Comics Journal
"Even in fish-in-a-barrel territory like the wonderful world of rock'n'roll, this is pomposity-puncturing at its finest and funniest."--The Independent on Sunday
"Great Pop Things is the definitive guide to the real behind-the-scenes workings of the entire rock'n'roll industry"--Q Magazine