To the editors:
I want to congratulate Christopher Hill for his excellent sonic exegesis of rock ‘n’ roll, “Great Noises of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (July 31). However, Mr. Hill’s analysis can be criticized on two counts: (1) By not placing rock ‘n’ roll in a broader musical context, he failed to note the wonderful sounds of soul and rhythm and blues artists such as James Brown and Otis Redding, from which so much of rock’s vocal euphoria and dyspepsia derive. (2) Mr. Hill does not give women their due. For example, how could Mr. Hill neglect the contributions of the late 1960s San Francisco divas, Janis Joplin and Grace Slick? For many of us, the mere mental image of Janis evokes a cacophony of odd vocal effusions. Similarly, Mr. Hill should pay close attention to Grace Slick’s erotic assault on “Bear Melt” (Bless Its Pointed Little Head). Hearing this performance, I had my first revelation that sex could transcend pleasure and human need and enter the realm of good old psychotic experience. It changed my life.
To close, those who are acolytes of Allan Bloom should commit their attention to the Bonzo Dog Band’s “Canyons of Your Mind,” from which they will emerge impressed by either its sharp parody of a degraded pseudo-art form or its benighted status as the ultimate boneyard of bad noises.