PRINT Summer 1987



IN COLLEGE, I LEARNED ABOUT Plato’s ideal Forms, and mused that if there were Forms of justice, eros, agape, and the like, there really ought to be a Form of rock ’n’ roll—an Essence, preexisting what we benighted prisoners of Plato’s cave of illusion ’n’ reality called the music’s “form” and certainly outlasting it. I didn’t have to think too long to be convinced. Transposed into the vulgate, this was an argument rock ’n’ roll had been making about itself from Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” to the Showmen’s “It Will Stand,” and on, and on. If these people were reaching for something, even if they couldn’t grasp it, wasn’t that proof it was there?

Faith in such a notion may explain why I never went on to logic class but I thought of it again recently, reading Bill Flanagan’s Written in My Soul, a book of interviews with rock songwriters. “The only thing that rock & roll did not get

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