It is almost amazing how much material is written about music. Some of it is even worth reading. We'll let you know when to read it and when to skip it.
101 Essential Rock Records - The Golden Age of Vinyl From the Beatles to the Sex Pistols - Jeff Gold (Gingko Press) book review While we walk around with thousands of songs on our mobile devices, and millions more streaming at our fingertips, there is a downside to all this convenience - we’ve lost the physical connection with the music we love. Author and record collector Jeff Gold has just written 101 Essential Rock Records, revisiting a time when we could hold that music in our hands - and the LP was king.
Kicking & Dreaming - A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock & Roll - Ann & Nancy Wilson with Charles R. Cross (It / Harper Collins) book review There’s a point in the new Heart autobiography, Kicking & Dreaming, that’s common among musicians over 60...as kids they see the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and it changes their lives forever. But, an interesting thing happens at school the next day that shows where the Wilsons were coming from. While most of the talk amongst their friends was how cute each Beatle was and how they’d like to date one of them, Ann & Nancy wanted to BE the Beatles.
Revolver - How the Beatles Re-imagined Rock n’ Roll - Robert Rodriguez (Backbeat Books) review
Imagine the boy band One Direction or heartthrob Justin Bieber crafting music as adventurous as Radiohead or Wilco. Sound preposterous? That’s the kind of musical leap the Beatles attempted back in 1966 when they recorded their album Revolver. Yet, the record that followed it, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, always seems to get the lion’s share of the credit for being innovative. Fab Four expert Robert Rodriguez’s latest offering, Revolver - How the Beatles Re-imagined Rock n’ Roll, takes an in-depth look at the recording of that album, the circumstances surrounding why it didn’t receive its proper due when it first came out, and the reasons why people are re-evaluating it now.
When the Wall of Sound Met the New York Underground: The Ramones, Phil Spector, and “The End of the Century” - Frank Meyer (Single Notes / Warner Music Group) review
Ever feel like reading a book is just too much work? I mean, who has the time for all that commitment? I’ll admit, sometimes, I’m just not up to the task. I never finished the Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life, because it was just too damned long. That’s what makes Single Notes, a new series of e-books from Warner Music Group, so enticing. They’re meant to be both inexpensive (most run for only about $2), and more importantly, quick reads.
Arguably the strangest pairing in all of rock: Phil Spector - the lunatic perfectionist who created such pop masterpieces as “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” and “Be My Baby,” meets the Ramones - kings of the two-minute punk anthem who pretty much single-handedly started the New York underground scene - and they agree to do an album together. When the Wall of Sound Met the New York Underground from Frank Meyer chronicles this bizarre collaboration in a new short-form book from Single Notes / Warner Music Group.
Devils & Blue Dresses – My Wild Ride As a Rock and Roll Legend – Mitch Ryder (Cool Titles) review Purchase the book through amazon.com
There’s a moment in Mitch Ryder’s new book where we find him out at a bar, spending the last few dollars he has on drinks with a buddy. He’s just gone through his third divorce and is living in an apartment with no furniture. Yet, when one of the pretty patrons finds out he’s “Mitch Ryder,” she wants to go home with him! If there’s one thing we learn through reading Devils & Blue Dresses – My Wild Ride As a Rock and Roll Legend – it’s that fame is a very funny creature. As Ryder contends, you never really lose it. You can blow all your money (which he did), get screwed by several managers (which he also did), destroy perfectly good relationships with numerous women (ditto), and yet, still remain technically “a star.” But, as he asks very plainly in his introduction: “Did fame make me a better person than you? You read this book and tell me.”
No Regrets – A Rock n’ Roll Memoir - Ace Frehley (VH-1 Classic) book review
No band has taken more liberties with their history quite like Kiss. The “Kiss-speak,” almost entirely controlled by leaders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, is full of legends and myths, so it’s always been hard to get at the real truth. Other books by outsiders have been written, but usually those guys have axes to grind – again, you question how much of it is fact. That’s what sets No Regrets – A Rock n’ Roll Memoir apart from all other books on Kiss; Ace Frehley doesn’t pull any punches in his honest account of his tumultuous history as the lead guitarist for one of the biggest, most influential bands in the world.
Prince - Chaos, Disorder, & Revolution -- Jason Draper (Backbeat Books) book review by Carey Brentlinger Being a diehard Prince fan all my life, I was anxious to read this book that showcased who Prince is. I was very surprised to learn a lot about Prince’s early years. I knew he had a sister but didn’t know about 3 step-siblings. It was also nice to learn more about his marriage and the baby that he lost.
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