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One Train Later: A Memoir

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  564 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
"A disarming, surprising literary memoir by the ex-Police guitarist . . . A rollicking you-are-there history of the 60s–80s rock era."---Entertainment Weekly

In this extraordinary memoir, world-renowned guitarist Andy Summers provides the revealing and passionate account of a life dedicated to music. From his first guitar at age thirteen and his early days on the English mu
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published October 3rd 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 893)
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Aug 16, 2010 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow, either Andy Summers or his ghostwriter is a florid little writer. It gets to be a bit much, especially for a rock guitarist.

I'd recommend this book for music majors, as Summers goes into quite a bit of detail about, say E#7 chords with flatted 9ths, etc., so the non-theoried among readers may get wicked bored. I know music theory and it bored me, frankly. Also there is, imo, way too much information on Summers' past before the Police, which I was not really interested in. Yes, he was nearl
Jan 25, 2009 Kirsti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kirsti by: Michelle, Chris
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
"In the studio the tension is so high that you can hear it twanging like an out-of-tune piano. As a group we seem to swing between high emotional intensity and sophomoric fraternity with surprising ease, almost like a group version of bipolar disorder. The best result is that when 'it' happens, we can play with an empathy that is hard to imagine achieving with other people. But making albums is a brutal affair: you are forced to stand down, moodily let go of an idea, play someone else's idea, wa ...more
Chuck Slack
I'm a huge Police fan. They were a big part of high school and university. I saw the documentary before reading the book. Highly recommend the documentary the book not so much. The book is quite well written albeit flowery.
Jun 23, 2008 Graden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best Biography's of a musician I have read. A perfect balance of personal and professional information. He also digs a little deeper than some when discussing the making of the music which I love. Of course, his great sense of humor does not hurt at all.
Mar 14, 2008 Bruce rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of session musician memoirs
This is a well-written memoir, filled (when not name-dropping Police song titles) with impressionistic passages such as this typical one from page 9,

"Between the ages of seven and twelve the overpowering sense of nature makes me feel drunk, and in a future filled with electricity, lights, and loud music, it will linger like a sanctifying echo, a chord I used to know.... I fancy myself as [Dr.] Doolittle junior, a son of nature strolling through long grass with a pipe in my mouth. I pore over boo
Nov 22, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There’s a familiar feeling I get when reaching the end of a book I’ve really enjoyed. It’s a bittersweet, slightly disorienting sensation of departing -- against your will -- a world that’s thoroughly captivated you, even if some part of you knew all along that your time there was destined to be limited.

In this insightful musical autobiography, guitarist Andy Summers shares in intimate detail how he came to experience that same sensation, arriving -- after great tribulation -- at the peak of a
Jul 12, 2013 Judeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One Train Later isn't much different than ice skating. It barely cuts below the surface. Summers gives a decent amount of detail and loves to use strings of beautiful yet unnecessary adjectives. He describes things, events, experiences, and people with flourish but gives them zero substance. It is his memoir and it is, without a doubt, all about him. Ironically, towards the end, in discussing the deterioration of The Police and his marriage, Summers examines the role of egos and selfishness but ...more
Okay. What a book! Andy's wit and sense of humour are present in any video footage of the man but, in the written medium, he really shines. As a huge Police fan, I knew this book would be great, but was unprepared for this. Extremely hard to put down and, although it has been a few years since last reading, is far better than Sting's 'Broken Music'. Andy is a natural story teller and, in my humble opinion, has a bright future in writing, if he ever chooses to pursue it. 5 stars and highly recomm ...more
Nov 10, 2009 Christi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is much more than the story of The Police as told by the guitarist (you know one of those two guys besides Sting who is in the band?)
I really enjoyed his writing style - descriptive, honest,
funny, very British

An interesting portrait of the making of a rock star. He came from very humble beginnings with a great love for music. A lot of talent, determination and some luck is what got him from playing in local pubs in a broken down van to having hit records, groupies and selling out are
Jul 12, 2007 Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Andy Summers is a fantastic writer! I really hated to finish this book because it was so interesting. The book starts in the early 1950's when Andy was a young boy and ends in August 1983 when the Police were at the pinnacle of their popularity. Before I read this book I had no idea that Andy had been part of the whole 'swinging London' scene of the 1960's. Being part of that scene allowed him to be friends with such folks as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, etc.
Jan 11, 2008 Todd rated it really liked it
I've always respected the Police, can't say I was ever a huge fan. Imagine my surprise when I became engrossed with this book while in Glasgow for a couple days last winter. The book was in the possession of host, and I read about half the book in the time available. Finally picked up a copy for myself and gave it a fresh read cover to cover. Engaging, honest and insightful. Sometimes the grass isn't greener...
Feb 16, 2015 Rod rated it liked it
Well, I'm not a fan of the police, I never really liked any of Andy's guitar solos (sorry! Picked some great chords though), I think Sting made way better music once he ditched the most annoying drummer ever to get on 80's radio, but I appreciate just about any music biography that takes you inside the music - so thank you.

Andy I was really hoping to hear all about your life (and music) AFTER the Police. And that is pretty much where the story ends. Hopefully you are not thinking of simply writi
Ben Eldridge
Jun 13, 2007 Ben Eldridge rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A solid rock biog
The Police have just reformed and are selling out stadiums again.
Here's how it all began.
Summers writes well and his erudite style is good fun.
He has some great anecdotes in here about masochistic piano teachers husbands, selling Eric Clapton his 'Fresh Cream' Les Paul, meeting Hendrix and trading his marriage for 30 rolls of film and a magic mushroom omelette.
Jul 01, 2014 Jo-Ann rated it liked it
Well...I cannot say exactly why but I thought I'd enjoy this book more than I actually did. I have been a fan of "The Police" and have seen them in concert, and perhaps didn't want the fantasy to be marred by reality...there's one theory. The band remains a favorite but I will not rush to read about them or their travails.
Dec 10, 2008 Philip rated it it was amazing
Holy shit. This book is fantastic. Andy writes extraordinarily well. The account of his life as a starving musician in London and Los Angeles, before he joined the Police, is fascinating and inspiring. The Police years were pretty incredible as well, apparently. Highly recommended for musicians and non-musicians.
Sep 08, 2008 Dad rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any classic rock lover
As a life-long musician, I found the book to be honest and grounded. The style and delivery were a bit slow to start, but once they got going it was a smooth and enjoyable glide right to the end. If you were born in the 50's or 60's and have any regard for classic rock, read this. Andy does a nice job.
Oct 26, 2007 Spyder rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Andy, The Police, British 60's, 70's and 80's pop and guitarists
This is probably the best musician autobiography I've ever read. It is non-pretentious, enlightening and inspiring.

Andy has witnessed and participated in far more that just The Police musically and skirted the edge of superstardom for decades. If you're a guitarist, get ready to start practising again.
Aug 20, 2007 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any police fan
Interesting perspective on the growth and evolution of a "rock star". Mr. Summers is articulate, witty, and also very humble and down to earth. This book really humanized the "rock star" image, and brought into perspective why The Police were such a great band.

A great read!
Dec 24, 2007 Dave rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Police Fans
A very good rock 'n roll memoir. Provides some insight into the dynamics of The Police as well as a glimpse into the London rock scene in the late 6o's and early 70's. Summers writes stylishly and with considerable wit and intelligence.
Motez Bishara
Mar 16, 2014 Motez Bishara rated it really liked it
Shelves: rock-books
Andy Summers is undoubtedly a world-class guitarist, and carries a wealth of knowledge about the roots of popular music. He tacitly confesses, however, that he's not a world-class songwriter. And this is why One Train Later is a fascinating book. The paradox of being at the top of your game in the biggest band in the world, but being tied for a distant second in terms of member hierarchy is stomach-turning for the author.

Would you rather be the 6th or 7th man on the Bulls championship runs (you
Jan 15, 2008 Jason added it
my second favorite Policeman...right behind stewart copeland. not only is this guys story intriguing, his writing style is so poetic. read it or die.
Oct 04, 2007 Dawn rated it really liked it
I am crushing hard on Andy Summers. It's unfair that some people get to hog all the talent - in addition to being a musical pioneer, he's a damned fine writer.
Duncan Jones
Feb 07, 2016 Duncan Jones rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read, although on occasion the writing style could do with fewer adjectives or metaphors. Music means a lot to Andy Summers and this book covers his love of the guitar and music from a young age. I knew he'd had a long and varied musical career prior to the Police but not to the extent revealed in this memoir. Using the lead up to the Shea Stadium concert in 1983 as the central thread through this book, Andy Summers reflects and ruminates on the influence that guitars and music have ...more
Oct 13, 2007 Roxanne rated it it was amazing
Excellet storyteller, really felt his passion for music and his instument. Even not being a guitar player I was along for the ride.
Cale Herreman
May 27, 2016 Cale Herreman rated it liked it
This was an impulse pick. I didn't know this guy had written a memoir, but I have been known to enjoy The Police, and he was the member of that trio I knew the least about. This book shows his journey from a quiet seaside town to the noise of the London early 60's blues scene, to (eventually) around the world with that most famous of the many bands he's played in. The memoir ends in 1983, with an epilogue explaining the basics of his life since then. It's mostly a fun read, the author has a lot ...more
Feb 06, 2008 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Police fanatics
Of course, Andy Summers is the very talented guitar player from the Police. I was really excited about reading this, and apparently I wasn't the only one because I know the book made it to paperback. Based on the tone and style of writing, the book was obviously written with a ghost writer, which is probably just as well but definitely something to be aware of before reading. The wording is often too flowery and esoteric for its context, which can actually detract from the experience at times.

Nick Milani
Aug 08, 2011 Nick Milani rated it really liked it
Guitarist from the Police recounts his early days learning guitar, becoming a musician and eventual fame and fortune with the Police. It's written in a fairly different (albeit pretentious) style that most rock biographies, flicking back and forth between his story and scenes of him preparing for their final gig in 1983. This style added nothing for me but the stories he recalls are all pretty good, filled with lots of drugs and debauchery throughout the 60's, 70's and 80's. Some of the ones rec ...more
Jeff Yoders
Mar 20, 2013 Jeff Yoders rated it it was amazing
Amazing story of how Andy Summers went from being the burned-out former guitarist in The Animals to meeting Stewart Copeland and Gordon Sumter, two men of a younger generation who loved rock n' roll as much as him, and created the greatest prog-rock band in the history of the world: the Police.

Amazing detail about just how long Summers worked at his craft, a career of 20 years, just to "make it overnight." Also an amazing timepiece that shows just how different the world was in the '80s than it
Dec 11, 2013 Mattkelly rated it really liked it
By far the best memoir from a member of the Police. No axe to grind, no bad blood, just an incredible story of paying your dues and really enjoying things when you hit it big.

Summers was around in the 60s playing with Hendrix and other London luminaries, but despite his talent he struggled to find his place in the cannibalistic music scene. He even sold one of his Les Pauls to Eric Clapton (it became one of Clapton's main instruments). Jaded and depressed, after a brief attempt at making it in
Nov 23, 2013 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, so good! I disagree with one review that this book was probably written by a ghost writer. I am biased. I think Summers is gifted. I am thrilled with his large vocabulary and clever witticisms! Yes, it's wordy. At times, overflowing with superfluous descriptors. It seems to be his own voice, however, and that makes me like it.

I read Sting's autobiography and I certainly hope his was written by a ghost writer. If it was, I am surprised he let it go to press. The writing was subpar, and S
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“What if I hadn’t sold my guitar to Eric? Maybe it would all have turned out differently, and the Les Paul would have been merely another interesting historical clunker rather than a cultural icon.” 0 likes
“at least once in my life make something that would go around the world, create a lick that guitarists everywhere would play, be number one in America, be heard at weddings, bar mitzvahs, births, funerals, be adapted into the repertoire of brass bands in the north of England, and make my mum and dad proud.” 0 likes
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