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Albert Goldman (1927 - 1994)


Albert Harry Goldman (April 15, 1927 - March 28, 1994) was an American professor and author.

Born in Dormont, Pennsylvania, Albert Goldman wrote about the culture and personalities of the American music industry both in books and as a contributor to magazines. However, he is best known for his controversial biographies on Elvis Presley and John Lennon.

Albert Goldman's 1981 book titled Elvis, the author repeatedly belittled the late singer over his weight problems, his diet, his choice of performing costumes, and his sexual appetites and peculiarities. Goldman saw himself as a purist, and is quoted as saying: "Commercial to the core, Elvis was the kind of singer dear to the heart of the music business. For him to sing a song was to sell a song. His G clef was a dollar sign." Of the estimated four hundred+ books on Presley, none ever upset his fans as much as Goldman did. In 1990, he published a second book on the circumstances and events of Presley's death.

In his 1988 book on The Lives of John Lennon, Goldman drew the wrath of fans after being repeatedly critical of the dead music icon and alleging that Lennon had a homosexual relationship with The Beatles manager, Brian Epstein.

Not everything Goldman wrote was negative. In his book on Lenny Bruce, he rated Bruce as one of the greatest comic geniuses ever and in a Life Magazine article, he referred to Elvin Jones as "the world's greatest rhythmic drummer." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Goldman [Jun 2005]


In the words of disco-loving Albert Goldman, one of few writers to understand dance music, 'Never, in the long history of public entertainment, have so many paid so much for so little - and enjoyed themselves so immensely!'


  • http://www.gadflyonline.com/archive/book/book-07-07-99.html

    Victor Bockris

    Frequent Gadfly contributor Victor Bockris has written biographies of Lou Reed, Keith Richards, Andy Warhol and Muhammad Ali. His biography of Patti Smith is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster.

    Paradise Garage [...]

    "As you climb its steeply angled ramp to the second floor you feel like a character in a Kafka novel. From overhead comes the heavy pounding of the disco beat like a fearful migraine. When you reach the "bar", a huge bare parking area, you are astonished to see immense pornographic murals of Greek and Trojan warriors locked in a sado-masochistic combat running from floor to ceiling. On the floor of the main dancing room are the most frenzied dancers of the disco scene: the black and Puerto Rican gays, stripped down to singlets and denim shorts, swinging their bodies with wild abandon. --Albert Goldman, Disco


    Albert Goldman, a chronicler of disco during the '70s, observed that "what differentiates discomania from most of its predecessors is its overt tendency to spill over into orgy, as it has done already in the gay world. All disco is implicitly orgy."

    Peter Braunstein

    But the real animosity between rock and disco lay in the position of the straight white male. In the rock world, he was the undisputed top, while in disco, he was subject to a radical decentering. Disco was an extended conversation between black female divas and gay men.Straight men were welcome to join the party, but only if they learned the lingo. Some did, but for many, this new demand aroused a kind of "castration anxiety," as Alice Echols put it in a 1994 essay. Disco symbolized a world where straight men were not only expected to engender the female orgasm, but to incorporate it.

    Only by killing disco could rock affirm its threatened masculinity and restore the holy dyad of cold brew and undemanding sex partners. Disco bashing became a major preoccupation in 1977. At the moment when Saturday Night Fever and Studio 54 achieved zeitgeist status, rock rediscovered a rage it had been lacking since the '60s, but this time the enemy was a culture with "plastic" and "mindless" (read effeminate) musical tastes. Examined in light of the ensuing political backlash, it's clear that the slogan of this movement--""Disco Sucks!"--was the first cry of the angry white male.

    The rock/disco wars might seem silly in retrospect if it weren't for the deadly seriousness with which they were waged at the time. In a 1979 end-of-year summation, Rolling Stone,the index of cultural regression, surveyed the field of battle like military strategists: "You can say that the first six months [of 1979] belonged to disco... and that the last six months belonged to the brave young rockers." The turning point was the July "Disco Demolition" rally in Chicago's Comiskey Park. The event's original gimmick involved blowing up disco records between games of a doubleheader, but the charged-up crowd lost control and began tearing up the stadium. Comiskey turned into a giant coded gay bashing, a frightening harbinger of an enraged, homophobic America, given sanction in the mock-patriotic venue of a baseball stadium.

    By 1980, disco had become a dirty word. The term was banished from the language as an added security measure, but the music was exported to England, where it was de-gayed and re-exported to the States under a new name: "new wave dance music." The rock majority was satisfied by the replacement of explicitly gay Sylvester with flamboyantly closeted Boy George. As the playlist segued from "I'm Coming Out" into "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me," the pulverization of the liberal imagination became a political fact. Ronald Reagan was elected president, and the following June, a mysterious new "gay cancer" appeared. --Peter Braunstein, http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/9826/braunstein.php [June 1998]

    Bomp Review of Disco

    "The origins of disco music are the central issue of this book. The idea of discotheque was originally created in France and was taken to America in the early sixties. The first disco DJ in America was Slim Hyatt. DJ Terry Noel, however, took deejaying to another level and eventually, in the late sixties, Francis Grasso introduced the technique of slip-cueing, which orginated modern mixing. Also, very popular discotheques like Studio 54, Loft, etc. are treated here. Besides, Goldman focuses on the disco stars, i.e. figures like Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, Cerrone, Alec R. Costandinos and so forth. Highly recommended if you are interested in how disco came about."-- bomp.com


    1. Albert Goldman - Freakshow: Misadventures In The Counterculture, 1959-1971 [Amazon.com]

      This collection includes over a decade's worth of Albert Goldman's critical writings, and reads like a travel guide to a modern Inferno. Albert Goldman was the author of controversial music biographies, and this book includes his essays on Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley and many more. Albert Goldman is also the author of the 1978 book on disco music.

    2. Disco (1978) - Albert Goldman [Amazon.com]

      A brilliant view of all that disco represented in the 70s - the explosion of sound, light, rhythm, drugs, clubs, celebrities and lifestyles of an era. For Goldman, discomania was just another outburst of what he called 'the buried life' - the underground tradition of primitive tribal religious rites, the Greek dionysiac cults and bacchanals. He therefore considered disco as a manifestation of the dancing sickness or the ever-renewing quest for ecstacy and transcendence. The difference with the rock experience was that the dancers themselves became the stars, instead of the performers up on stage. Goldman describes the scene from the perspective of a psychologist, sociologist, musicologist, anthropologist and participant, and it is this last view which makes this book such and excellent and highly readable document of an era. He talks about the personalities, the clubs, the producers and the music in an intelligent but engaging, almost chatty style. Disco genres and musicians like Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, Cerrone, Alec Castandinos, Kraftwerk, Meco and others, and the Saturday Night Fever phenomenon. The black & white photographs enhance the enjoyment of reading, and the middle section holds stunning colour pics of disco fever in action, celebrities and musicians like Grace Jones. I think Goldman has succeeded well in preserving a lively and cinematic record of a happy era. It's also interesting to discover the roots of the techno-rave movement in these pages. Of course, the abundant varieties of today's House music have not only their roots, but their spirit as well, in good old disco. a reader for amazon.com

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