At the risk of being seen as biased I must recommend this little gem to any serious Who fans. I have been a devotee of The Who for just about all of my conscious life, you know, from the age of 12 or thereabout. I confess I have known the author for a very long time; that is not the point. What makes this short book so valuable is that it tells the tale of how a few schoolkids understood that their enthusiasm mattered enough to create! Anyone expecting another hackwork with a load of photo’s they have seen before or some rehashed history can be reassured. This is a unique tale from a time before the corporate colonization of popular culture, when there was an ‘underground’, when being a fan counted for something more than being an email address on a marketeers sucker list. Interspersed are personal accounts of how this all ended with the (post Woodstock,) ‘ Stadium Rock’ sham that robbed the music-not only The Who’s- of much of it’s validity. As is pointed out, maybe obliquely, here is a story of the excitement of discovery.
For the price of a keyfob or some other piece of junk from THEWHOSTORE, or whatever it calls itself why not learn something?
On Sunday, April 28, 2013 a book-signing was held at Union Catholic High School. The school, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary Weekend, was gracious enough to invite Michael Rosenbloom, author of “When Stars Were in Reach” to participate in the celebration and sign books. Below are two pictures from the book-signing, the photo at left with Sister Percylee Hart, Principal of Union Catholic (notice she is holding “When Stars Were in Reach”) and author Michael Rosenbloom. The photo on the right is at “the scene of the crime,” the very same gymnasium where The Who played on November 29, 1967. Keith Moon was situated under the same basketball hoop near where Michael Rosenbloom, Robert Wyrough, Nancy Scalera Mackow and Angelo Del Monte are standing. Robert, Nancy and Angelo were contributors of memories and memorabilia for the book and were attendees at the concert when we all were a bit younger. The author was thrilled to meet Robert, Nancy and Angelo in person for the first time and to cement friendships that had begun on the telephone and on e-mail. Nancy and Angelo came from out of town to attend the celebrations and book-signing.
Sister Percylee Hart, Principal of Union Catholic High School and Author Michael Rosenbloom
left to right: Michael Rosenbloom, Robert Wyrough, Nancy Scalera Mackow and Angelo Del Monte
The very first step author Michael Rosenbloom took when embarking on the research for what would eventually become the book “When Stars Were in Reach” (WSWIR) was an internet search for The Who concert at Union Catholic High School. The only mention of the show was on the web site Who Tabs. Descriptions of the guitar Pete Townshend played and the amps used at Union Catholic High School were detailed on the site. The rest is history as the saying goes. As a result, Who Tabs is mentioned generously in the bibliography of WSWIR. Who Tabs is yet another of the incredible web sites lovingly dedicated to The Who and their music, but with a twist. The equipment section of the website presents a detailed history of the “instruments and gear the group employed (and destroyed) throughout their career.” Now, Who Tabs has reciprocated and has announced the publication of WSWIR on their website. Check out the announcement on Who Tabs!
Union Catholic High School is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The 50th anniversary year festivities culminate in a series of events beginning on Friday, April 26th and continuing through Monday, April 29th. Included in these events is a book-signing by Michael Rosenbloom, author of “When Stars Were in Reach” at a brunch that will be held at the school at noon on Sunday, April 28th. Read about U.C.’s “Golden Anniversary Weekend,” including the book signing, at NJ.com. You can also view the events at U.C.’s Alumni page.
Musictomes.com is a website “dedicated to spreading the word on books about music and musicians, giving a forum to authors to talk about their work, and to promote the art of music journalism.” On Friday, April 12, 2013 musictomes.com posted an in-depth interview with Michael Rosenbloom about his book “When Stars Were in Reach – The Who at Union Catholic High School, November 29, 1967.” Read it here.
In “When Stars Were in Reach,” (WSWIR) two side stories are woven around the main story- the deconstruction of The Who’s concert at Union Catholic High School on November 29, 1967. One of the side stories tells about four fifteen year-old Who fans, their excitement and anticipation regarding the upcoming Who concert at Union Catholic, and how they helped The Who’s roadies with The Who’s equipment after the show. These four teenage characters, though named differently in the book, were based on a group of four friends whom I met in researching the book – Dave Goessling, Kevin Compton, Myke Connell and Bob McHugh. Dave, Kevin and Myke form three-fifths of a band called BS5. In “When Stars Were in Reach,” I devoted a full chapter (chapter 27 named “From Budding Musicians to Rock Philosophers”) to Dave, Kevin, Myke and Bob. Given the publicity about BS5 and about Dave, Kevin, Myke and Bob in WSWIR, they were gracious enough to post a link to WSWIR on their website. Please check out the BS5 website and the band itself.
“When Stars Were in Reach” is now listed on thewho.info website, in the books section. This is a website which purports to be “The World’s Largest Collection of The Who Records and CDs.” Also known as WhiteFang’s Who site, it has an impressive display of posters, tour programs, discography, videos, books and magazines in over 500 web pages. Yes, it’s at the bottom of the page. But the book list is in chronological order and WSWIR was the very last book published about The Who.
Upon popular demand, we are proud to announce that “When Stars Were in Reach” is at last available on the Nook platform. What took us so long? As The Who once sang: Can’t explain! However we’re glad the wait is finally over.
“When Stars Were in Reach” (WSWIR) is continuing to gain traction. On a posting of News dated March 18, 2013 on the website thedoorsguide.com WSWIR is mentioned. thedoorsguide.com is the largest online resource dedicated to the music and history of The Doors. Len Sousa has done a fabulous job in creating and running the website. After learning of WSWIR, Len consulted with Michael Rosenbloom to confirm whether or not The Doors ever played at Union Catholic High School, as had been rumored. Michael quickly quashed that rumor from his research in writing WSWIR. All fans of 60s music, particularly fans of The Who and The Doors should check out this website.
Through 2012, approximately 90 books had been written about The Who. “When Stars Were in Reach” (WSWIR) is the first book written in 2013 about the band. We’re pleased to announce that WSWIR now appears and is summarized on the website thewho.net in the bibliography section of the site. When perusing the bibliography section, it appears that WSWIR also is the first book about a specific Who concert. No surprise here. After reading the book, you have to agree that WSWIR was written from a unique vantage point.
thewho.net is the most popular website about The Who that is sponsored by fans of the band and not by The Who themselves. It’s exhaustively thorough and chuck full of information about the band, its members, concerts over the years, the band’s history, discography and on and on. You get the point. We’re certainly proud to announce that WSWIR is listed and summarized in the bibliography section of this site.