A novel by Don DeLillo, 1973
Published by Houghton Mifflin, 1973, 265 pages. Jacket photograph
by Jill Krementz.
British first edition published by Deutsch, 1974.
Paperbacks issued by Pocket, 1974, later by Vintage and Penguin.
Great Jones Street editions.
What it's about:
The story of Bucky Wunderlick, a rock star who goes underground.
Here's the original dust jacket copy.
"Fame requires every kind of excess."
What it's really about:
In 1979, when asked about how he came to write about a rock star, DeLillo said: "It's a game at the far edge. It's an extreme situation. I think rock is a music of loneliness and isolation.... A man with a half-shattered mind, alone in a rented room. Noise, electricity, excess, Vietnam--all these things are tied together in Great Jones Street, and a certain tension is drawn out of the hero's silence, his withdrawal. Bucky Wunderlick's music moves from political involvement to extreme self-awareness to childlike babbling."
To DeCurtis he said: "Certainly there is very little about rock music in Great Jones Street, although the hero is a musician. The interesting thing about that particular character is that he seems to be at a crossroad between murder and suicide. For me, that defines the period between 1965 and 1975, say, and I thought it was best exemplified in a rock-music star."
Take a look at the Great Jones Street Media Watch for contemporary reviews of the novel.