I first read this book in high school, having been looking for a good biography of Syd Barrett and seeing this as being the most accurate out there at...moreI first read this book in high school, having been looking for a good biography of Syd Barrett and seeing this as being the most accurate out there at the time. I'd be interested in finding a revised copy, if one was ever released after the poor man's death. It would be interesting to hear what others, in particular Breen, had to say about him then and whether or not his life in the end was a contended one.
This biography is short, easy to read, and fascinating. It dispels some of the more harmful myths about Syd, and unfortunately confirms some of the worse aspects of his character. It's a humbling read for those who idolize Syd, and a sad reminder of just how damaging drugs can be to an already troubled personality.
I'll always wonder what Syd could have achieved had he not been destroyed as he was, but shall take some solace in the fact that at least for even a little while he was happy in his solitude.
Now and then one comes across a writer whose every word titillates and entices. Readin...moreHarlan Ellison, I have the deepest of writing crushes upon you.
Now and then one comes across a writer whose every word titillates and entices. Reading their stories, regardless of what they are, is a pleasure: even their 'just ok' writing makes you think, makes you wonder, makes you hungry for more. I've a handful of authors I can think of that do that for me. Unquestionably, Mr. Harlan Ellison is one of them.
Spider Kiss is a rock and roll fable, effortlessly splicing together the various stories of a down and out kid and his meteoric rise to fame. Where Spider Kiss differs from other stories of this nature is not only the fact that it predates the now cliche trope becoming trope... it also is nowhere near the heartwarming story one is used to hearing. Real life often isn't that way, and Ellison certainly doesn't shy away from depicting real life.
Character flaws are abundant, and for that the character's come off as rather more human. The fable is a fable, and as such the stereotypes do exist within the text. All the same, the stereotypes reinforce what audiences have been sold for ages now. It's incredible to think that this book was written in 1960, and it's more incredible that this book isn't better known.
Music fans? You gotta read this, if only for how well it mirrors the stories we all know so well.(less)
Phil Rose had a fascinating analysis of the various concept albums of Pink Floyd, with an obvious bias toward...moreI wish I could give this book more stars.
Phil Rose had a fascinating analysis of the various concept albums of Pink Floyd, with an obvious bias towards Roger Waters' work. He did take note of a good number of details that I missed, but some of the details I did pick up... well, he missed. For instance, the "Who was born in a house full of pain" and the way it hearkened back to The Island of Dr. Moreau. But.. yeah.
The analysis focused in a greater part on the musical themes than it did on the lyrics, which was refreshing, but also terribly dry. I can't help but think that if the book was published in a better format (bigger type on better quality pages) the book would have been an easier and more fascinating read. The format it currently is in hurts the eyes, though it does allow for easy portability.
All in all, a decent book, but one that could have been done a bit better. The interview with Roger Waters at the end, however, showed the fellow's wit off rather nicely and was much enjoyable. I hope he does publish his poetry one of these days.(less)
This book I got many years ago from Quarwood of all places. It's one of the books I own from John Entwistle's personal library, and it is an exception...moreThis book I got many years ago from Quarwood of all places. It's one of the books I own from John Entwistle's personal library, and it is an exceptionally beautiful book. It is worth five stars for the pictures alone, but the accompanying text makes it all even better.
The book is a broad survey of the Arthurian Legends, and how they changed over time. Each section focuses upon a different period in Arthurian literature and is complete with a survey of what was focused upon during that time, and selections from each piece of art/literature. It begins with a selection from Mabinogion and ends with one from The Once and Future King, to give an idea of how thorough it is.
All in all, a beautiful book, and from the personal collection of a wonderful man. One of my most prized possessions.(less)
Written for someone who already has background knowledge of the band, Johnny Black brings forth a highly readable account...moreThis is quite a worthy book.
Written for someone who already has background knowledge of the band, Johnny Black brings forth a highly readable account of the band's history from its inception through to (what for the book was) the present. Concerts and other meaningful dates are catagoried alongside quotes from reviews of the shows, and often times, interviews with the band members and roadies themselves.
Far from being simply a rehashing of other notable works ( Before I Get Old and Maximum R B's tendency to overlap comes to mind) Johnny Black draws from new interviews with previously unmentioned people, as well as interviews with Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle. The interviews with Daltrey and Entwistle are particularly interesting, as so often the history of The Who is told with an overwhelming focus on Townshend.
The book is easy to navigate, as it is divided by month and year, and contains an index as well as a bibliography of other notable books. I'd recommend this book as an entertaining history of the band. While it isn't as thorough as Before I Get Old in terms of overall band history, it does offer a differing perspective and is worth at least a perusal by any Who fan looking for just that.
Also, I'd note how this book explains just what happened in regards to Face Dances and It's Hard as well as the final dissolution of the band. Other books have noted just how awful the albums ended up being, but shrugged off the true extent of Pete's breakdown. This book gave it a truly remarkable depth and allowed me to really grasp why it all happened the way it did.(less)
Richard Bogovich and Cheryl Posner have compiled the definitive Who's Who of The Who. The entries are alphabetical, each name followed by an in-depth biography and the pertinent information as to how they are connected to The Who. The popular artists who have covered The Who's songs are there, as are the people who helped make the album covers, and contributed significantly on either albums or tours (including solo work.)
This book was extremely helpful as far as reference material, and was pleasantly thorough. I comment the authors. This is a must have as far as reference work goes.(less)
This book is exactly what is advertised in the title... An Annotated Bibliography of The Who from 1965-1990. The bibliography is split up i...moreFive stars.
This book is exactly what is advertised in the title... An Annotated Bibliography of The Who from 1965-1990. The bibliography is split up into several sections, each specialized on a different aspect of what was printed about the band. (i.e. Album Reviews, Concert Reviews, Solo work Reviews, General Articles, etc.)
The forward does note that many articles may be difficult to find, but the bibliography itself will at least help one find them. The index at the back is very thorough, and there are some funny moments within the bibliography itself. It is extremely helpful to look through what was written while The Who were recording/touring.
This is an extremely useful resource, and highly recommended for anyone writing about the band in question.(less)
Well, it certainly did take me a while to read this book.
I'd been interested in reading this book for many, many years. Originally this book was relea...moreWell, it certainly did take me a while to read this book.
I'd been interested in reading this book for many, many years. Originally this book was released around 1980, and only went through a single printing if I'm not mistaken. Being how it was around '05 or '06 that I first heard of this book it was already long out of print, copies of it for sale were startlingly rare, and it was a lucky day when you could find a copy for sale for $80. On an unlucky day it could go up to $300 easy.
The ebook that I ended up purchasing was released in June of this year, and was considerably cheaper. The interview with Mr. Butler at the beginning was well worth getting the 2012 copy of the book, let alone all the stories contained therein. This chronicle of Keith Moon's life was fascinating, bittersweet, and all in all one of the best portraits I've ever seen as to the extremes by which Keith Moon lived his short life.
Dougal Butler conveys the generosity of Moon, along with his madness. On the subject of Moon's treatment of Kim he is both blunt and apologetic. At the book's end I found myself feeling the compassion and frustration that I imagine Butler felt. Nothing much happened, yeah, and then Moon died. There could have been more in Moon's life - there could have been a lot, but that just wasn't the way the fellow was cracked up to be.
There was a lot of trivia in the book that a Who fan would find interesting - from how Dougal got the nickname by which he is not commonly called, to how Moon and Ringo ended up as close as they were. All in all, however, I shudder to think at what the Moon fangirls I've known in my life would think of these stories. Dougal Butler put a very, very human face on Moon. I'm thinking that the people who were unable to finish reading Tony Fletcher's biography on Moon will be equally unhappy with the stark reality Full Moon shows.
Keith Moon was a tragic figure for sure, and his legend only grows as the years without him roll by.(less)
I picked it up out of mix of necessity and curiosity. Seeing how Clapton was contemporary to the fellow I...moreI have rather mixed feelings about this book.
I picked it up out of mix of necessity and curiosity. Seeing how Clapton was contemporary to the fellow I'm writing about, I thought the book might offer some insight into the rock star life throughout the sixties and beyond. In this book, I did get what I came for. Clapton did a good job of explaining what it was like growing up poor in post-war Britain and what sort of life was lead. Similarly, Clapton did a good job of explaining just how extravagant the rockstar lifestyle could be.
Unfortunately, I'm not entirely certain the book ever flowed. The prose was wooden, hints of personality coming through rather scathing insight. The book came off feeling more like part of the twelve-step programs Clapton went through than an actual reminiscence about life itself. Only at the very beginning and the ending prior to the epilogue did I feel I got insight into his personality.
Personally, I would view the autobiography as more of a primer than a true biography. While it was from the horse's mouth, I feel it wasn't the most engaging or informative read possible. Use it for the bullet points, but to get the true image of Clapton, seek elsewhere.
And if you want a view of post-war Britain, just read the first chapter.(less)
I received this book through the GoodReads first-reads program.
Unlike most of the reviewers on this page I knew nothing about Beth Ditto prior to pick...moreI received this book through the GoodReads first-reads program.
Unlike most of the reviewers on this page I knew nothing about Beth Ditto prior to picking up this slim volume. As far as first introductions go, I have to say that this was a startling one! This memoir, while short and easy to read, held back no punches. Beth Ditto talked about the insular world of the south, the way that a small town can both help and hurt those who live there, and how one can overcome their beginnings without really leaving them behind.
This book was both touching and inspirational, fascinating and humble. As far as memoirs go I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a good way to pass a summer's day, and I'm sure for fans of Gossip this book will be, well, awesome. I'm happy to know that even for people who had never heard of the band it's still a great read!(less)
Sort of read, sort of skimmed. I was hooping that this book would go deeper into the history of bass guitar, but it really only touched upon it in a f...moreSort of read, sort of skimmed. I was hooping that this book would go deeper into the history of bass guitar, but it really only touched upon it in a few asides. Understandable, really, but alas. This means I need to find a more comprehensive text.
The exercises were good, and the information was helpful. Predictably, this book was more for people looking to play the guitar than for any research purposes. Which wasn't what I was looking for. This is more my fault (and trying to be lazy) than the fault of the book.
Oh, and here's looking at you, Adam Clayton. You're awesome for helping out with this text.(less)
This book gave a good general overview of The Rolling Stones career, and the short biographies of each of the people involved within t...moreShort and sweet.
This book gave a good general overview of The Rolling Stones career, and the short biographies of each of the people involved within the band. I mainly read it to learn more about Bill Wyman, who was good friends with John Entwistle. For those very interested in the Stones, I would not recommend this book. For those interested in the Stones who don't know too much of the band? I would certainly recommend this book. Just bear in mind that it isn't comprehensive.
I'll be interested in reading Bill, Ronnie and Keith's books for more in depth look at their lives and careers.(less)
Here's a horrible confession: I liked Year Zero more than Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There, I said it. I enjoyed it more, and I felt that it resonated far better with my generation. The book was hilarious, truly inspired, and had enough geeky references that I'm certain it'll cause even the most cynical Farker or Redditor to laugh out loud.
The book was fast-paced, intricately woven, and irreverent as hell. It had me laughing, and thinking about it even when it wasn't in my hands. Seriously, get this book as soon as possible and read it. You will enjoy it. I guarantee it. I can't think of a single person who wouldn't laugh at this book.(less)
This book was a very interesting read, and I covered a lot of the topics that it mentioned through my status updates. Having finished the book, for th...moreThis book was a very interesting read, and I covered a lot of the topics that it mentioned through my status updates. Having finished the book, for those of you that are curious about the title and its premise (and want a more in depth explanation than I offer without reading the whole book) I'd recommend reading the last chapter and the epilogue, both sum up the explanation of the title rather well.
All of that having been said, it would be more accurate for the title and the subtitle to be switched. "An Alternative History of American Popular Music: How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll" or something similar. The book is indeed an alternative history of American popular music, and it covers eighty years of history ending in the 1970s.
The book reads a bit like a dissertation or a thesis paper, and I don't mean that in a negative way. Each chapter covers a very particular subject in history, and in the end it all seems to tie together pretty nicely. In the epilogue Elijah Wald does admit exceptions to his theory, and attempts to bring it all up to modern day.
The essence of his theory is that when the British Invasion happened the Beatles (and other such British bands) covered a great deal of rhythm and blues songs, and the American audience ate it up. The British Invasion solidified the fact that white musicians were dominating the rock world, which they continue to do today, and eliminated the musical integration that had happened previously.
Jazz, blues, pop, etc. all took lessons from the black community and traditions - the dance steps nearly all originated from the black gospel churches. The composers and musicians essentially all get filed under rhythm and blues and/or soul even if they write rock records (Ike and Tina Turner's River Deep - Mountain High was here mentioned) which unduly ruins their chances of climbing to the top of the charts.
While all of this I found interesting, I ultimately disagreed with the conclusion that he came to. While it might have been true in the context of the times this happened, I don't believe that it really extends into today. I can think of too many exceptions to the "certain genres are dominated by certain races" rule, and I don't believe the bulk of any population is prejudiced against any particular artist being any particular thing. Gay musicians make it to the top of the charts, as do artists of any race. Heck, looking at the last.fm records of any person can kind of guarantee that you're getting a huge mix.
Essentially, I'd recommend this book as a truly great history, but it hasn't changed my mind about the Beatles influence, impact, and legacy. Everyone does build off what has come before, but I think that they pretty well acknowledged their own influences, as I feel that Bob Dylan acknowledged his. (less)
Pete Townshend's autobiography didn't suffer from the lack of focus that I felt Eric Clapton's did. While at times it did feel as if the book was written as a way to deal with his addictions and traumatizing childhood by the end of the book I didn't quite feel this was the case. This was just Pete talking about what was important to him, and what were the largest forces within his life.
This book has been criticized by the press, and I can understand why. There is not a lot of new material brought to the table in terms of a 'behind the scenes' look at The Who and the songwriting process. Many of the stories told have been told elsewhere, and at times in a more accurate fashion. Still, this is the story through Townshend's eyes and one largely gets what one would expect from the fellow.
I'm curious as to what was cut from the book, as he said more than half of what was originally written was discarded in the end. I'm wondering whether or not there were more stories there, and a more in depth look at the developmental years than what was received. Whatever the case may be, this autobiography was well written, insightful, and all in all a very well done retrospective of a showbiz life. Nevertheless Pete Townshend is Pete Townshend and is a narrator one will either love or hate.
This book is certainly not for everyone, but for those who can take what is written with a grain of salt it is the life of one of the best rock musicians and lyricist of our time.(less)
While I gave this book five stars, I caution those not fond of The Who away from this book. This is essentially a work of academia, and borders on the...moreWhile I gave this book five stars, I caution those not fond of The Who away from this book. This is essentially a work of academia, and borders on the intellectual more often than being a casual read. That having been said, the analysis given to the albums was both thorough and thoughtful. It is about time The Who's work was held to such scrutiny.
John Atkins takes the time to give The Who their due, and unlike Dave Marsh he gives equal weight to their post-78 recordings as he does those prior. His criticism is cutting, but not undeserved, and the bittersweet career of the band is outlined in a clear manner.
This book was fascinating, and I truly enjoyed it. There were recordings mentioned that I had not yet heard of, and the index in the back is very much appreciated. This book will prove interesting to fans of The Who, and more expressly, fans of Townshend's work. While John Atkins does his best to give each member of the band equal focus, the focus tends to turn towards Townshend out of sheer necessity.(less)
Took me quite a while to get through this one... the page number (which is low) is rather misleading, as the book itself is enormous. The photos are q...moreTook me quite a while to get through this one... the page number (which is low) is rather misleading, as the book itself is enormous. The photos are quite high quality, and rather beautiful, but the bulk of the pages are full of rather tiny type... and oddly, there are a large number of typos.
Richard Barnes was, and is, a good friend of Pete Townshend's. Naturally, the book focuses more upon Townshend's doings than the other members of The Who. Richard Barnes' experiences are related, and particularly insightful as he experienced the Cincinnati disaster firsthand. It's interesting to see an outsiders view, even if one feels at times that some of the bigger issues in the band are skimmed over. Unfortunately, John Entwistle's role was rather thoroughly glossed over in the book - they didn't even mention his marriage to Alison or the birth of his son!
While the book is well put together, and certainly insightful in terms of Chris Stamp, Kit Lambert, and Shel Talmy fiascos, I feel it didn't go into enough depth when it comes to the technical aspect (and personal lives) of those involved with the band. I'd consider it more of a supplementary text than anything truly in depth.(less)
I purchased this book years ago and never quite finished reading it. I'm glad I picked it up once more, and was surprised exactly how in-depth the boo...moreI purchased this book years ago and never quite finished reading it. I'm glad I picked it up once more, and was surprised exactly how in-depth the book proved to be. The first chapter, which was heavily into music theory, was difficult to get through. The neuroscience was well-defined, as were the musical terms, and each chapter broke down rather well the topic at hand.
This book was written for the layperson, but didn't sacrifice how detailed the science was as a result of such.
My favorite aspect of the book was the final chapter, which dealt with the evolutionary purpose of music. Both views were examined, though the author favored Darwin's conclusion in regards to it. Each theory was backed up with notes, details, and acknowledgement of contradictory views.
I'm a bit biased in my five star rating of this book, being as huge a Who fan as I am. Nevertheless, I do believe that this book deserves all five sta...moreI'm a bit biased in my five star rating of this book, being as huge a Who fan as I am. Nevertheless, I do believe that this book deserves all five stars in spite of its faults.
Dave Marsh's biography on The Who is often seen as the definitive Who text, though some would argue in greater favor of Richard Barnes's Maximum R B. Where Richard Barnes tends to focus a great deal more on Pete Townshend than the rest of the band in his account (and quite naturally, as he was and remains good friends with the fellow) Dave Marsh takes a wider view, and even delves a bit into Roger Daltrey's solo projects as the book goes on.
Dave Marsh takes sparingly from press interviews throughout the course of the book, relies on first-hand interviews where he can, and even quotes snippets from Irish Jack's unpublished memoir of the Mod period in England. From the very beginning of the book the passion Dave Marsh has for the band is apparent, and it rings true through his explanations of topics as disparate as the history of pirate radio, the difference's between the British and American music business, and the legal ramifications of change in copyright law through the Who's career. That Dave Marsh was thorough should go without saying. This book has remained tantamount to a Who Bible for as long as it has for good reason.
The fault with the book is the fault that would lie in any biography of a band - it just doesn't go deep enough, and indeed, it is impossible for it to go deep enough because what makes up the individual players in a band is deeper than it is possible for a single book to go into - without being terrifyingly long and tediously detailed. The one fault that can be drawn with this book, and rightfully so, is that the author seems to lose interest in the Who after Keith Moon's death. Face Dances and It's Hard are dealt with only in passing, and in a single chapter. The band's farewell tour is dealt with in a matter of paragraphs, and rather shrugged off when he could have gone down with more insight. Similarly, problems with The Kids are Alright could have been addressed more thoroughly though I reckon Twilight of the Gods will go into that a bit better.
Nevertheless, this book is grand and a must-read by anyone with a keen interest in the band and the music industry in general from the 60s through the 80s. (less)
The book began a bit slow, but when it picked up it picked up fast. "Cut My Hair" caught my attention in an old comic shop in NYC back in '07. I bough...moreThe book began a bit slow, but when it picked up it picked up fast. "Cut My Hair" caught my attention in an old comic shop in NYC back in '07. I bought it on sight - the Who reference spoke to me - then tried to read it once.. twice. I think I realised at the time it was what I needed. I wish I had finished it then.
There's something to be said about a book that can cut straight through to the soul of what punk is. The discussion with Lenny 3/4ths of the way through does it exceptionally well. Punk is Artaudian, it's the heart and soul of that disruptive movement. Rock isn't dead, rap isn't the new messiah, what's done is done and we'll find what we look for if only we all search hard enough.
The ending is a nice call-back to Quadrophenia. The book isn't easy, the book isn't 'fun,' but the book is right and it knows where to end. It hits on what matters, and it hits hard.
I picked up Texas Hold 'em by pure chance while at the library, and eagerly jumped into it as I enjoyed The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic. Texas...moreI picked up Texas Hold 'em by pure chance while at the library, and eagerly jumped into it as I enjoyed The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic. Texas Hold 'em did not disappoint me.
A bit of the material within the book was gleaned directly out of the previous one, but this did not greatly disappoint me. It only made the new material more noteworthy. The illustrations by John Callahan were ridiculous and decidedly not politically correct which added to the overall fun feel of the book itself.
I look forward to reading more of Kinky's books. What sets him apart from other humorists are the few thoughtful stories interspersed throughout the ridiculous tales. In this case, the story of Lottie at the end of the book was worth all 200+ pages.(less)
The Facts of Life: and Other Dirty Jokes was a quick, pretty engaging read. The jokes in it were corny and predictably fantastic, and some of the diar...moreThe Facts of Life: and Other Dirty Jokes was a quick, pretty engaging read. The jokes in it were corny and predictably fantastic, and some of the diary-ish entries were well written. I finished it in a couple of days, but never felt that I really got into.
I've never much listened to Willie Nelson's music, so the lyrics didn't really strike any chord with me. I feel that if I had been listening to his albums I really would have enjoyed that kind of stuff. I loved his anecdotes, and I loved his jokes, the pictures were also quite nice. The book just felt a bit disjointed to me from the interspersion of lyrics throughout.
I wasn't crazy about The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes but it wasn't for the style of writing. I just didn't much like the format. Therefore, I...moreI wasn't crazy about The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes but it wasn't for the style of writing. I just didn't much like the format. Therefore, I didn't exactly have high hopes for The Tao of Willie; man, was I surprised.
This small volume was an insightful, hilarious, and well thought out book that spoke strongly to me from even the goofiest of short anecdotes. The book is essentially a collection of advice ranging from the physical (breathe deeply, drink plenty of water) to the spiritual (no matter what religion you're practicing, it's still telling you to do the right thing) to simple admonitions to adhere to common sense (no one's normal and we're all crazy anyway.)
I finished the book in about two days and didn't get bored with it once. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for some good advice and some good laughs (and aren't they both the same thing, anyway?) A truly fantastic, entertaining, and insightful book.(less)
To reduce these truly incredible 512 pages down to one word: Breathtaking.
The scope of this biography was as great as the scope of America itself. Int...moreTo reduce these truly incredible 512 pages down to one word: Breathtaking.
The scope of this biography was as great as the scope of America itself. Interspersed amongst Joe Klein's detailed historical explanation of the Dust Bowl, the Communist party in America, and the folk-music scene as it evolved from the 30s to the 60s is actual primary text from Woody Guthrie himself.
This book is magnificent in all that it portrays, and not a dull moment exists throughout the pages. Every time I picked this book up I felt that I learned something new -- and beyond that, I felt that I understood something new.
Joe Klein brings to light the struggles that existed in the folk music scene. The rivalries and the depth of the radicalism that truly existed in the time. He breathes life and factual information into the slow degeneration of Guthrie from outspoken uncompromising lone wolf to the courageous man with an active mind who no longer could control his body.
Woody Guthrie was a remarkable soul who grasped what(ever) it was to be an American. I wish more people would read this book.(less)