Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Review That Got Lester Bangs Fired From Rolling Stone

It wasn't just this one, but this one is by far the funniest.  And "banned" is probably a more accurate term than "fired," since he was never a formal member of the RS staff.  But thanks to Paul Nelson, who when named record reviews editor demanded that Bangs' work be allowed in the mag again, Lester would return in 1978.

From Lester Bangs' review of Neil Diamond's "Hot August Nights," March 15, 1973 issue.

"...Attending the release of this sluice of ultimorgasmic sounds from Meister D. is some of the grooviest garnish this side of a Melanie presskit.  Here on the very front cover is Neil in full flight, working it on out and what is he doing?  Pretending to jerk off, that's what.  He's pantomiming whanging his clanger, and from the look on his face I'd say he's about to shoot off, and the only bogus part is that he'd like everybody out there to think it's 13 inches long.  It's truly a pic to post in your den or rec room for years to come, no matter what some o' them psychedelic schmucks with their Hawkwind nightshade garlands might think; you don't even need a black light, and it's great to spill beer on or throw your girlfriend up against in the party's latter leagues."

And mind you, this was from a mostly positive review.

The conclusion is also classic:

"...the only thing he could do to top this would be to collaborate with James Michener and Frank Capra on a Cinerama rock opera about the second coming of Thomas Jefferson as a wandering Jesus Freak minstrel who sews this wicked land up at the seams and brings the children home and their parents into the street to dance.  Starring none other."

Needless to say, you don't read reviews like this in Rolling Stone any more.

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