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By Robert Dimery. 2020
“Even the most avid music fan will make some new discoveries in these pages.” —The CurrentWhat makes a cult musician?…Whether pioneering in their craft, fiercely and undeniably unique, or critically divisive, cult musicians come in all shapes and guises. Some gain instant fame, others instant notoriety, and more still remain anonymous, with small, devout followings, until a chance change in fashion sees their work propelled into the limelight.Cult Musicians introduces fifty beyond-the-mainstream musicians deserving of a cult status in genres from afrobeat and art pop to glam rock and proto punk. Weird and wonderful, innovators and boundary breakers, they include Alex Chilton and Aphex Twin, Bobbie Gentry and Brian Eno, Kat Bjelland and Kool Keith, Nick Drake and Nick Cave—and dozens more with a special ability to inspire, antagonize, and delight. Included are insightful profiles, discographies, and striking illustrations by Kristelle Rodeia.
By Marshall Terrill, Greg McDonald. 2023
A fresh biography of legendary entertainment manager Colonel Tom Parker, with a contrarian and corrective point of view.Colonel Tom Parker,…often reviled in his time, led the strategy from the earliest days of Elvis's career. Together, they built the most legendary partnership in show business. For the first time, Colonel Parker's story is told by an insider, Greg McDonald, who worked under Parker for years. Never-before-heard stories of Parker's collaboration with Elvis reveal the man behind the legend and the strategies that made Elvis a commercial groundbreaker.Ingrained lore has it that Parker took advantage of "poor country boy" Elvis to sign the singer who became "The King". But Elvis and the Colonel shows that Elvis was not foolish when it came to business arrangements. This book is full of stories of innovations Parker made with his star client, including:--ingenious merchandising (eg, selling both "I love Elvis" and "I hate Elvis" buttons)--licensing and branding, from suits to toys, ashtrays to guitars--establishing The King as an artist-in-residence in Las Vegas--creating televised concert events, like Elvis' Christmas specialMany of the practices Parker established are still deployed today by most major agencies. Parker's experience as a carny and an immigrant shaped his management style when he was at his peak, showing how he adapted big top practices to the big time. The heart of Elvis and the Colonel is the long, strong, warm and complex relationship between two iconic men.
By Mary Gabriel. 2023
New York Times Editors&’ Choice, One of NPR&’s Best Books of the YearIn this &“infinitely readable&” biography, award-winning author Mary…Gabriel chronicles the meteoric rise and enduring influence of the greatest female pop icon of the modern era: Madonna (People Magazine) With her arrival on the music scene in the early 1980s, Madonna generated nothing short of an explosion—as great as that of Elvis or the Beatles—taking the nation by storm with her liberated politics and breathtaking talent. Within two years of her 1983 debut album, a flagship Macy's store in Manhattan held a Madonna lookalike contest featuring Andy Warhol as a judge, and opened a department called &“Madonna-land.&” But Madonna was more than just a pop star. Everywhere, fans gravitated to her as an emblem of a new age, one in which feminism could shed the buttoned-down demeanor of the 1970s and feel relevant to a new generation. Amid the scourge of AIDS, she brought queer identities into the mainstream, fiercely defending a person's right to love whomever—and be whoever—they wanted. Despite fierce criticism, she never separated her music from her political activism. And, as an artist, she never stopped experimenting. Madonna existed to push past boundaries by creating provocative, visionary music, videos, films, and live performances that changed culture globally. Deftly tracing Madonna&’s story from her Michigan roots to her rise to super-stardom, master biographer Mary Gabriel captures the dramatic life and achievements of one of the greatest artists of our time.
By Cole Porter. 1965
The composer's contribution to popular music is treated with affectionate appreciation in an introduction by Arthur Schwartz. There follows an…account of his career by Porter himself, and the rest of the book consists of discussion by Hubler
By Otto Friedrich. 1989
Crazy, eccentric, obsessive, and bizarre are just some of the terms that have been used to describe Glenn Gould. Friedrich…has used direct quotes from many of the people whom Gould knew during his short career, which ended at age fifty in 1982, in order to paint a picture of a man who was almost a recluse as far as his personal life was concerned, but who was also a genius, totally and obsessively devoted to his music
By Kenneth Womack. 2023
The first full-length biography of Mal Evans, the Beatles' beloved friend, confidant, and roadie. Malcolm Evans, the Beatles' long-time roadie,…personal assistant, and devoted friend, was an invaluable member of the band's inner circle. A towering figure in horn-rimmed glasses, Evans loomed large in the Beatles' story, contributing at times as a performer and sometime lyricist, while struggling mightily to protect his beloved "boys." He was there for the whole of the group's remarkable, unparalleled story: from the Shea Stadium triumph through the creation of the timeless cover art for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the famous Let It Be rooftop concert. Leaving a stable job as telecommunications engineer to serve as road manager for this fledgling band, Mal was the odd man out from the start—older, married with children, and without any music business experience. And yet he threw himself headlong into their world, traveling across the globe and making himself indispensable. In the years after the Beatles' disbandment, Big Mal continued in their employ as each embarked upon solo careers. By 1974, he was determined to make his name as a songwriter and record producer, setting off for a new life in Los Angeles, where he penned his memoirs. But in January 1976, on the verge of sharing his book with the world, Evans's story came to a tragic end during a domestic standoff with the LAPD. For Beatles devotes, Mal's life and untimely death have always been shrouded in mystery. For decades, his diaries, manuscripts, and vast collection of memorabilia was missing, seemingly lost forever...until now. Working with full access to Mal's unpublished archives and having conducted hundreds of new interviews, Beatles' scholar and author Kenneth Womack affords readers with a full telling of Mal's unknown story at the heart of the Beatles' legend. Living the Beatles' Legend: The Untold Story of Mal Evans is the missing puzzle piece in the Fab Four's incredible story
By Victor Yellin. 1990
George Whitefield Chadwick, like most classically trained musicians before World War II, received a German education. Upon his return to…the United States, his music was performed more frequently than that of most Americans of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This biography traces his life and work as an innovative teacher and a composer of music with a distinctly American twist
By Frank Taylor. 1987
Biography of legendary blues singer Alberta Hunter, who died in 1984 at the age of eighty-nine. Begins with Hunter growing…up poor and black in Memphis, and moves on to her success with European audiences, as she sang to packed houses in Paris and London. Hunter was hard-working, tough, and intensely private
By Johnny Cash, Mark Stielper, Johnny Cash. 2023
The life of the Man in Black is revealed through his lyrics and by rare photographs and ephemera, in this…beautifully illustrated official hardback edition, fully authorised by the Cash estate and featuring 125 of his most iconic songs. Johnny Cash is one of the most beloved and influential country stars of all time, selling more than ninety million records, blending country, rock, blues, and gospel in his music and having been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Now, Cash's fifty years of songwriting have been collected for the first time ever. An essential collectible that sheds new light on Cash's life and work, this book includes rare visual material in addition to remembrances from Cash's son, John Carter Cash, and "family historian" Mark Stielper. Released for the twentieth anniversary of the legendary musician's passing, it is a landmark moment in music publishing and a visually stunning celebration of one of the world's most significant artists.
By Clinton Heylin. 1991
In a biography based largely on interviews, Heylin looks at the singer-songwriter's first fifty years, and examines the relationship between…Dylan's life and his work. Heylin recounts Dylan's Minnesota childhood, as Robert Allen Zimmerman, his New York years writing "protest" songs, his 1966 motorcycle accident, his conversion to Christianity, and his use of changing musical styles
By Simon Reynolds. 2016
NPR Great Read of 2016From the acclaimed author of Rip It Upand Start Again and Retromania—“the foremost popular music critic…of this era (Times Literary Supplement)—comes the definitive cultural history of glam and glitter rock, celebrating its outlandish fashion and outrageous stars, including David Bowie and Alice Cooper, and tracking its vibrant legacy in contemporary pop.Spearheaded by David Bowie, Alice Cooper, T. Rex, and Roxy Music, glam rock reveled in artifice and spectacle. Reacting against the hairy, denim-clad rock bands of the late Sixties, glam was the first true teenage rampage of the new decade. In Shock and Awe, Simon Reynolds takes you on a wild cultural tour through the early Seventies, a period packed with glitzy costumes and alien make-up, thrilling music and larger-than-life personas.Shock and Awe offers a fresh, in-depth look at the glam and glitter phenomenon, placing it the wider Seventies context of social upheaval and political disillusion. It explores how artists like Lou Reed, New York Dolls, and Queen broke with the hippie generation, celebrating illusion and artifice over truth and authenticity. Probing the genre’s major themes—stardom, androgyny, image, decadence, fandom, apocalypse—Reynolds tracks glam’s legacy as it unfolded in subsequent decades, from Eighties art-pop icons like Kate Bush through to twenty-first century idols of outrage such as Lady Gaga. Shock and Awe shows how the original glam artists’ obsessions with fame, extreme fashion, and theatrical excess continue to reverberate through contemporary pop culture.
By Mitch Winehouse. 2012
The intimate, inside story of the ultimately tragic life of multiple Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse (“Rehab,” “Back…to Black”) is told by the one person most able to tell it—Amy’s closest advisor, her inspiration, and best friend: her father, Mitch. Amy, My Daughter includes exclusive, never-before-seen photos and paints an open and honest portrait of one of the greatest musical talents of our time.
By Neil Strauss, Dave Navarro. 2004
Step into the booth. Check your judgments at the curtain. Close your eyes. Listen: you can hear the voices of…the visitors who sat here before you: some of the most twisted, drug-addled, deviant, lonely, lost, brilliant characters ever to be caught on film. What do you have to offer the booth?
By Stanley Crouch. 2013
“A tour de force. . . . Crouch has given us a bone-deep understanding of Parker’s music and the world…that produced it. In his pages, Bird still lives.” — Washington PostA stunning portrait of Charlie Parker, one of the most talented and influential musicians of the twentieth century, from Stanley Crouch, one of the foremost authorities on jazz and culture in America.Throughout his life, Charlie Parker personified the tortured American artist: a revolutionary performer who used his alto saxophone to create a new music known as bebop even as he wrestled with a drug addiction that would lead to his death at the age of thirty-four.Drawing on interviews with peers, collaborators, and family members, Stanley Crouch recreates Parker’s Depression-era childhood; his early days navigating the Kansas City nightlife, inspired by lions like Lester Young and Count Basie; and on to New York, where he began to transcend the music he had mastered. Crouch reveals an ambitious young man torn between music and drugs, between his domineering mother and his impressionable young wife, whose teenage romance with Charlie lies at the bittersweet heart of this story.With the wisdom of a jazz scholar, the cultural insights of an acclaimed social critic, and the narrative skill of a literary novelist, Stanley Crouch illuminates this American master as never before.
By Paul Rees. 2013
Robert Plant by Paul Rees is the definitive biography of Led Zeppelin's legendary frontman. As lead singer for one of…the biggest and most influential rock bands of all time—whose song "Stairway to Heaven" has been played more times on American radio than any other track—Robert Plant defined what it means to be a rock god.Over the course of his twenty-year career, British music journalist and editor Paul Rees has interviewed such greats as Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Bono, and AC/DC. Rees now offers a full portrait of Robert Plant for the first time, exploring the forces that shaped him, the ravaging highs and lows of the Zeppelin years—including his relationship with Jimmy Page and John Bonham—and his life as a solo artist today.Illustrated with more than two dozen photographs, Robert Plant: A LIfe is the never-before-told story of a gifted, complicated music icon who changed the face of rock 'n' roll.
By Willie Nelson. 2012
In Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, Willie Nelson muses about his greatest influences and the things…that are most important to him, and celebrates the family, friends, and colleagues who have blessed his remarkable journey. Willie riffs on everything, from music to poker, Texas to Nashville, and more. He shares the outlaw wisdom he has acquired over the course of eight decades, along with favorite jokes and insights from family, bandmates, and close friends. Rare family pictures, beautiful artwork created by his son, Micah Nelson, and lyrics to classic songs punctuate these charming and poignant memories.A road journal written in Willie Nelson's inimitable, homespun voice and a fitting tribute to America’s greatest traveling bard, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die—introduced by another favorite son of Texas, Kinky Friedman—is a deeply personal look into the heart and soul of a unique man and one of the greatest artists of our time, a songwriter and performer whose legacy will endure for generations to come.
By Charles Cross. 2014
In Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain, Charles R. Cross, author of the New York Times…bestselling Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven, examines the legacy of the Nirvana front man and takes on the question: why does Kurt Cobain still matter so much, 20 years after his death?Kurt Cobain is the icon born of the 90s, a man whose legacy continues to influence pop culture and music. Cross explores the impact Cobain has had on music, fashion, film, and culture, and attempts to explain his lasting and looming legacy.
“An engaging journey into the wild and wonderful world of drumming.”—CLEM BURKE, BlondieTo have a great band you need a…great drummer. For the first time, Tony Barrell shines a long-overdue spotlight on these musicians, offering an exciting look into their world, their art, and their personalities. In Born to Drum, he interviews some of the most famous, revered, and influential drummers of our time—including Chad Smith, Ginger Baker, Clem Burke, Sheila E., Phil Collins, Nick Mason, Patty Schemel, Butch Vig, and Omar Hakim—who share astonishing truths about their work and lives. He investigates the stories of late, great drummers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, analyzes many of the greatest drum tracks ever recorded, and introduces us to the world’s fastest and loudest drummers, as well as the first musician to pilot a “flying drum kit” onstage.Filled with fascinating insights into the trade and little-known details about the greats, Born to Drum elevates drummers and their achievements to their rightful place in music lore and pop culture.“As Born to Drum proves, there’s a lot more to be told about drums and drumming than the Rolls-Royce in the swimming pool and the pyro beneath the bass drum.”—NICK MASON, Pink Floyd“Everyone should read this book—especially if you’re not a drummer. A great insight into a great sport.”—Joey Kramer, Aerosmith
By Robert Greenfield, Burt Bacharach. 2013
One of the greatest songwriters of all time finally shares his story. From his tumultuous marriages and the tragic loss…of his daughter to his collaborations with Dionne Warwick and the surprising stories behind the songs that generations have come to know and love, Burt Bacharach offers a frank, moving account of an unparalleled life.Over the past six decades, Burt Bacharach's legendary songwriting has touched millions of devoted listeners all over the world. In Anyone Who Had a Heart, Bacharach steps out from behind the music to give an honest, engaging look at his life—from his childhood in Forest Hills, New York, during the 1930s and 1940s to his rise as one of the most accomplished composers in modern popular music, working with Hal David, Dionne Warwick, Elvis Costello, and many others.While he soared professionally, Bacharach's private life was dominated by the never-ending search for love—and the heartbreak that comes when it is lost. His first three marriages ended in divorce. His long-running partnership with the late Hal David suffered a bitter split that lasted seventeen years. Throughout the highs and lows, Bacharach pursued his muse. Powerful and honest, Anyone Who Had a Heart illuminates the sensitivity and intelligence of a musical legend and offers a unique backstage look at the world of show business.
By Andrew Webber. 2018
"You have the luck of Croesus on stilts (as my Auntie Vi would have said) if you’ve had the sort…of career, ups and downs, warts and all that I have in that wondrous little corner of show business called musical theatre."One of the most successful and distinguished artists of our time, Andrew Lloyd Webber has reigned over the musical theatre world for nearly five decades. The winner of numerous awards, including multiple Tonys and an Oscar, Lloyd Webber has enchanted millions worldwide with his music and numerous hit shows, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera—Broadway’s longest running show—and most recently, School of Rock. In Unmasked, written in his own inimitable, quirky voice, the revered, award-winning composer takes stock of his achievements, the twists of fate and circumstance which brought him both success and disappointment, and the passions that inspire and sustain him.The son of a music professor and a piano teacher, Lloyd Webber reveals his artistic influences, from his idols Rodgers and Hammerstein and the perfection of South Pacific’s “Some Enchanted Evening,” to the pop and rock music of the 1960s and Puccini’s Tosca, to P. G. Wodehouse and T. S. Eliot. Lloyd Webber recalls his bohemian London youth, reminiscing about the happiest place of his childhood, his homemade Harrington Pavilion—a make-believe world of musical theatre in which he created his earliest entertainments. A record of several exciting and turbulent decades of British and American musical theatre and the transformation of popular music itself, Unmasked is ultimately a chronicle of artistic creation. Lloyd Webber looks back at the development of some of his most famous works and illuminates his collaborations with luminaries such as Tim Rice, Robert Stigwood, Harold Prince, Cameron Mackintosh, and Trevor Nunn. Taking us behind the scenes of his productions, Lloyd Webber reveals fascinating details about each show, including the rich cast of characters involved with making them, and the creative and logistical challenges and artistic political battles that ensued.Lloyd Webber shares his recollections of the works that have become cultural touchstones for generations of fans: writings songs for a school production that would become his first hit, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; finding the coterie of performers for his classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar; developing his first megahit, Evita, which would win seven Tonys Awards, including Best Musical; staking his reputation and fortune on the groundbreaking Cats; and making history with the dazzling The Phantom of the Opera. Reflecting a life that included many passions (from architecture to Turkish Swimming Cats), full of witty and revealing anecdotes, and featuring cameo appearances by numerous celebrities—Elaine Paige, Sarah Brightman, David Frost, Julie Covington, Judi Dench, Richard Branson, A.R. Rahman, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Richard Rodgers, Norman Jewison, Milos Forman, Plácido Domingo, Barbra Streisand, Michael Crawford, Gillian Lynne, Betty Buckley, and more—Unmasked at last reveals the true face of the extraordinary man beneath the storied legend.