Longtime L.A. Times pop critic Robert Hilburn has signed with ModernTimes/Rodale to do a "deeply personal and highly opinionated memoir" of his decades covering the music scene. From the flackage:
Hilburn, who is on the nominating committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will recount his personal ties with John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, John Fogerty, Prince, Kurt Cobain, Stevie Wonder, Ice Cube, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Jack White, and Eminem. Leigh Haber, VP, editorial director of Modern Times, said, “We are excited and honored to have a writer of Bob’s stature share his personal experiences with such an illuminating cast of some of the most important musicians of the 20th Century.” The memoir to be published in 2009 is untitled.
Hilburn, whose reviews and profiles of musicians have appeared in hundreds of publications, was the only writer to accompany Johnny Cash to Folsom Prison for his landmark recording, as well as the only writer to join Bob Dylan on his concert swing in Israel and to go with Paul Simon on his “Graceland” tour stop in Zimbabwe. In addition he traveled with Elton John to the Soviet Union and with the Sex Pistols on their first and only tour of the United States.
In addition to his own search to understand what enabled these artists to make essential contributions to the evolution of pop music from the energy and innocence of the 1950s to the sophistication and commentary of a true art form, the book will share intimate moments with artists that are revealing, humorous and titillating. For example on a visit with Michael Jackson, Hilburn reveals, “I didn't think anything odd about it at the time when Michael asked me to climb onto the bed with him and watch cartoons on television,” or one of the many late evenings he spent with the brilliant but eccentric producer Phil Spector in the 1970s, including one in which Spector, waving a handgun, barked, "No one leaves the house until Smith & Wesson says so.”
Hilburn still contributes occasional pieces to the Times.