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From the hoodoo-inspired sounds of Elvis Presley to the Eastern odysseys of George Harrison, from the dark dalliances of Led Zeppelin to the Masonic imagery of today's hip-hop scene, the occult has long breathed life into rock and hip-hop and, indeed, esoteric and supernatural traditions are a key ingredient behind the emergence and development of rock and roll.
With vivid storytelling and laser-sharp analysis, writer and critic Peter Bebergal illuminates this web of influences to produce the definitive work on how the occult shaped and saved popular music.
As Bebergal explains, occult and mystical ideals gave rock and roll its heart and purpose, making rock into more than just backbeat music, but into a cultural revolution of political, spiritual, sexual, and social liberation.
A fascinating thesis reflecting the time when everyone seemed to give rock and roll the status of, if not a religion, then certainly that of a spiritual belief system. Peter Bebergal's Season of the Witch brought it all back. It's an absorbing read deserving an important place in rock literature.
Peter Bebergal has written of his own searching, reconciling spiritual aspirations and personal background, in The Faith Between Us and Too Much To Dream. Both are on my bookshelves. Here, in Season Of The Witch, Peter presents an overview of one alternative influence at work on some of those intending to change the world. The world they hoped to change was a dangerous mess. Now, half a century later...
This book is a glorious headlong rush into the dark, full of the electricity of the arcane. I loved it.
Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine and Transmetropolitan
From grimoires to topographic oceans, from heavy metal to hip-hop, Peter Bebergal tracks the Mysteries through half a century of popular music (and some underground noise as well). At once an overview of rock's mystic rebellions and a handy primer on modern esoterica, Season of the Witch suggests that we may need to round out the trinity of sex, drugs, and rock' n' roll with an additional deity: the occult, another primal portal to a re-enchanted world.
Erik Davis, author of Led Zeppelin IV and Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica
Told with clear-eyed scholarship and delectable anecdotes, Peter Bebergal's mind-expanding occult history opened my third eye to Rock & Roll's awesome power over human behavior. Rock & Roll will never sound the same to me again, and I'm glad about it.
Mark Frauenfelder, founder of Boing Boing
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
"Rather than turning in either a fanboyish rhapsody or a scholarly dissertation, he treads the line between those approaches. The result is passionate, informed, gripping and at times wonderfully lyrical."
Now, half a century later..."
The world they hoped to change was a dangerous mess.
"Unfussy but thoroughly documented...establishes the occult as a phenomenon above and beyond its debatable status of mere fad in the history of contemporary music."--Ralph Elawani, Exclaim!
"Anyone seeking shocking tales of demonic rock'n'roll would be best served looking elsewhere, but for someone interested in the interplay between music, culture and spirituality, Season Of The Witch is a revelatory and fascinating grimoire." --Record Collector
"A must-read for anyone who prefers their music loud, riff-driven, and loaded with lyrics about Satan, wizards, and mystical quests." --Cheryl Eddy, io9.com
"Bebergal, a Dungeons & Dragons playing rock fanboy and graduate of Harvard Divinity School has exactly the right pedigree for this line of work, infusing what could be a dry litany of rumors, hearsay, and matter-of-facts with a genuine love for the source material." --Cooper Berkmoyer, Flavorpill
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