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Memphis, 1954. New Orleans 1957. Philadelphia 1959. Liverpool, 1962. San Francisco 1967. Detroit 1969. New York, 1975. London 1977. Los Angeles 1984 / Norway 1993. Seattle 1991.

Rock and roll was birthed in basements and garages, radio stations and dance halls, in cities where unexpected gatherings of artists and audience changed and charged the way music is heard and celebrated, capturing lightning in a bottle. Musician and writer Lenny Kaye explores ten crossroads of time and place that define rock and roll, its unforgettable flashpoints, characters and visionaries, how each generation came to be, how it was discovered by the world. Whether Elvis Presley’s Memphis, the Beatles’ Liverpool, Patti Smith’s New York or Kurt Cobain’s Seattle, LIGHTNING STRIKING reveals the communal energy that creates a scene, a guided tour inside style and performance, to see who’s on stage, along with the movers and shakers, the hustlers and hangers-on, and why everybody is listening. Grandly sweeping and minutely detailed, informed by Kaye’s acclaimed knowledge and experience as a working musician, LIGHTNING STRIKING is an ear-opening insight into our shared musical and cultural history, a carpet ride of rock and roll’s most influential movements and moments.


Lightning Striking is a true testimonial and epic love letter to the soul saving power of rock & roll. Lenny Kaye writes with a guitar player's rhythm and the image strewn fevered prose of a beat poet, sharing arcane knowledge of the joy of a true believer. Read it and be inspired, as I was
Bobby Gillespie
Lenny Kaye - music scribe, record hound, Patti Smith guitarist, all around good guy - has always been the role model for all us young punk rock pups to get on the good foot and to fight the good fight. Lenny knows that "Hail Hail Rock 'n' Roll" would of been writ by Shakespeare if the bard had hung out at CBGB in '76. And Lenny is the one rock writer who actually knows how to ROCK! No jestering - God bless Lenny Kaye
Thurston Moore