Good books about music

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I'm going to Delaware for spring break to look at colleges, and it's going to be pretty boring. I'm making a run to Best Buy and Barnes and Noble's tomorrow to get stuff, and I was wondering if anyone knew of good books about music. We're going for fun to read here, since I need something that doesn't take too long to get into. I've already read Never Mind the Pollacks (which was great), and my closest Barnes and Noble's has Our Band Could be Your Life and that uncensored oral history of punk book that was on the OC three weeks ago.

WillSommer, Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:18 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Perfect Sound Forever
The Music's All That Matters
What Rock Is All About
Lipstick Traces
Just Kill Me
Psychotic Reactions & Carburetor Dung
The Aesthetics of Rock

little ivan, Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Get the Lester Bangs books.

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

and Please Kill Me: The Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:24 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Please Kill Me was on the OC?

Please kill me.

Oh well. Read it anyway. It's amazing. And Our Band Could Be Your Life. If you're interested in criticism, check out Psychotic Reactions and Carbeurator Dung or anything by Lester Bangs or one or two Greil Marcus books (The Basement Tapes). I'd stay away from Camden Joy, contrary to popular opinion.

I need something that doesn't take too long to get into

But you're going to college, man! Just buy Adorno's Essays on Music and accept that the next 4+ years of your life are going to be like that mwahahaha...

poortheatre (poortheatre), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:26 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Dave Marsh, The Heart of Rock & Soul (his 1,001 most important singles of the rock era, in bite-size nuggets)

Joseph McCombs (Joseph McCombs), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:43 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Love Saves the Day and Can't Stop Won't Stop by Tim Lawrence and Jeff Chang, respectively.

I also enjoyed Last Night a DJ Saved My Life and there's the ever-classic Generation Ecstasy.

deej., Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink

conflict of interest, but whatever:
Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner, Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music
featuring Eno, Cage, Stockhausen, Merzbow, Reynolds, lots of other luminaries, and some jerk named Sherburne

philip sherburne (philip sherburne), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:51 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll- Tosches
Faithfull: An Autobiography- Marianne Faithfull
Chronicles v.1- Dylan
Black Monk Time- Eddie Shaw
I, Tina- Tina Turner
Uptight: the VU story,
Transformer- Bockris
Planet Joe- Joe Cole

Elisa (Elisa), Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:09 (twelve years ago) Permalink

John Cage's Silence is a great book about music and other things.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:15 (twelve years ago) Permalink

All of the above, and Sidney Bechet's autobio (blanking on the title, but he only wrote one); Miles by Miles Davis; Rip It Up: The Black Experience in Rock 'N' Roll (Kandia Crazy Horse, ed.)

don, Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:17 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Also, Robert Palmer (not the singer)'s Deep Blues, Christgau's 70s Consumer Guide (yeah you can look up all the Consumer Guide entries at, 'cept maybe the *most* recent, which are at, but unless you just love typing in Subjects and hitting Enter and know exactly what to look for, the book is a lot more fun). Also most anything by Peter Guralnick (although I woouldn't start with the Elvis stuff)(if you want to get strung out ona good sick Elvis book, try Evis Aron Presley, by Alanna Nash with the Memphis Mafia) Most anything by Frith, Toop; Charles Keil' Uran Blues; Tom T. Hall's The Storyteller's Nashville (one of the funniest books I've read re musos, and good serious stuff too); Nelson Goerge's Seduced: The Life And Times Of A One Hit Wonder; Pamela Des Barres' I'm With The Band; Ruth Brown's Miss Rhythm (an epic!)

don, Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:41 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Ahh yeah Rap Attack by Toop. Does Greg Tate have any books out there worth picking up?

deej., Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:45 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Does Greg Tate have any books out there worth picking up?

I had never heard of Tate until I saw him speak not long ago. He is a BAD. ASS. Does he still write for The Voice? I feel like I never see him in there. Does he have a blog?

poortheatre (poortheatre), Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:56 (twelve years ago) Permalink

He definitely still writes for the voice, unbelievable writer too, sort of a marxist approach to hip-hop these days (as SFJ pointed out) which seems to distance him from discussing how the music moves him but which does raise significant points regarding hip-hop and the way it is being used both positively and negatively; I got sort of nuts at him during the "great tate debate" when he criticized people for celebrating the 30th anniversary of hip-hop and while I don't share his lack of enthusiasm/engagement with the current music, I do think he's absolutely right about what hip-hop's significance is (paraphrasing, renders African-Americans "all but invisible" in a cultural sense) and that unfortunately the advancement of African-American cultural capital has not resulted in economic justice or any kind of justice, really.

I'm mostly interested in reading a book of his since his prose is fairly magnificent.

deej., Thursday, 17 March 2005 06:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

r. crumb draws the blues - r. crumb
country - nick tosches (his other books too of course, but this is my favorite)
rythm oil and the true adventures of the rolling stones by stanley booth
awopbopaloobop by nik cohn

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 17 March 2005 07:05 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Touching From A Distance
Bass Culture
Songs They Don't Play On The Radio
Revolution In The Head
Rotten: No Dogs, No Blacks , No Irish

wtin, Thursday, 17 March 2005 10:56 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"Wonderland Avenue" - Danny Sugerman - I can't stand The Doors but I loved this book. Also, "The Dirt", the Motley Crue book. Again, hate the band, but a cracking read.

bg, Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:25 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Tate's 1991 collection Flyboy in the Buttermilk is tremendous. His review/demolition of Bad ("I'm White! What's Wrong with Michael Jackson") is worth the price by itself, especially when he sez that the album's title "accurately describes its contents in standard English."

If you want a cracking funny read on hip-hop, though, pick up The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop by Peter Shapiro, which has just been updated and enlarged (it was a pocket-size the first time, now it's 8 x 10). Best line goes to the Bad Boy Records writeup, when he notes that Puff Daddy, having been responsible for 40% of all 1997's number ones, moved to the Hamptons "so he could live by the sea, just like his magic dragon namesake."

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:41 (twelve years ago) Permalink

actually, strike that "though," Toop can be funny and obviously so can Tate.

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:42 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Neil McCormick's "Killing Bono" was a quick, fun read.

John Fredland (jfredland), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:44 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"Wonderland Avenue" - Danny Sugerman - I can't stand The Doors but I loved this book. Also, "The Dirt", the Motley Crue book. Again, hate the band, but a cracking read.

Same here! (Of course there's also the Led Zep bio.)

nathalie barefoot in the head (stevie nixed), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:46 (twelve years ago) Permalink

ooh, haven't read that led zep one. I just remembered a book called "Lost in Music" by Giles Smith, which was a hoot.

bg, Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:54 (twelve years ago) Permalink

chuck berry's autobiog

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 17 March 2005 12:26 (twelve years ago) Permalink

George Jones, I Lived To Tell It All
Miles Davis, Miles: The Autobiography

Next week on "The O.C.": Seth and Ryan get into a fatal disagreement over "James Taylor: Marked For Death," while Summer meets a new hottie who shares her disgust of Nick Hornby.

Keith C (kcraw916), Thursday, 17 March 2005 14:06 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Nelson George's previously mentioned Seduced is said to roman-a-clef of sorts (Russell Simmons, on back cover of early edition, earnestly denies that one of the characters is based on him--that's his whole blurb). Some wicked bits about the early days of hip-hop, and the music biz overall. The sequel, Urban Romance, spotlights a minor Seduced charactor, who writes for Billboard and the Voice. Haven't read it yet, but it's next. Tate's Everything But The Burden, about whites biting black music, is another I've heard good stuff about.

don, Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:09 (twelve years ago) Permalink

For a good time, read:

Dino by Nick Tosches (about Dean Martin; as deep as Catch a Fire by Timothy White, as entertaining as that Motley Crue book)

Backbeat: Earl Palmer's Story, by Tony Scherman (oral history/autobiography of the New Orleans drummer; had me at "Louis Armstrong was a pimp"...)

We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk by Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen (better than Please Kill Me, kind of like L.A. punk itself)

Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:30 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Here's TSOL frontman Jack Grisham in We Got the Neutron Bomb, before he announced his run for governor against Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (and Gary Coleman, etc.):

I was torturing this guy in the garage of my mom's house in this nice suburban neighborhood with my whole family inside eating Easter dinner... and I'd got this guy tied up in the rafter with a rope around his legs and I'm beating him with a two-by-four. I said, "Hang on a minute," and put the two-by-four down and walked into the house and kissed my aunt and said like, "Oh hi, how you doing?" I grabbed a deviled egg, told them I'd be back in a minute, and I went back out, grabbed the two-by-four, and kept workin' on the guy. I finally had to get out of Vicious Circle 'cause of the violence. There were constant stabbings and beatings and people cruising by my house at night, shooting up the neighborhood....

I did something pretty bad to somebody and they retaliated with guns. It was a big deal, I had to split to Alaska for a while, they cut the lines on my car, blew up my car... fuck...I don't wanna say who they were, but they weren't punks... boy, they were pissed off.

Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:34 (twelve years ago) Permalink

'Long Time Gone' the David Crosby (auto)biog is definitely the best music book i have ever read. the way he led his life and some of the decisions he made are genuinely stupefying. equal parts genius and retard. extraordinary when set against the soundtrack of the music he was making.

i went on holiday with the Deborah Curtis book and the Nick Drake biography once. happy times, let me tell you.

Lee F# (fsharp), Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:53 (twelve years ago) Permalink

dino is so good that i've lent and lost TWO copies to (so-called) friends

if you ever find dave rimmer's "once upon a time in the east", abt berlin east and west b4 the fall of the wall, i utterly UTTERLY recommend it: tho it's only somewhat abt music - unlike his earlier (and also good) "like punk never happened"

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:53 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I've just got "Lost in the Grooves" by the editors of Scram (the same peeps who did "Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth"), a collection of reviews of culty, forgotten or neglected albums. Some very ILM choices in there: Jandek, Poster Children, Bridgette Fontaine etc. If only slsk was working properly...

Richard C (avoid80), Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:00 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I wrote a few entries for Lost In The Grooves (Boogie Down Productions, Schoolly D, Sonny Sharrock).

Joe Carducci's Rock and the Pop Narcotic is being reissued sometime this year.

pdf (Phil Freeman), Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:02 (twelve years ago) Permalink

and how could i forget, the funniest rock-related book ever: the life and times of little richard by charles white.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:19 (twelve years ago) Permalink

xpost the David Crosby book has sections with different versions side by side, like the Synoptic Gospels: the Word according to St. David, his friends and ex-friends. But certainly not Gospel in the I-swung-naked-on-the-chandelier-but-now-I've-found-the-LORDuh (so send your dollars to my new friends today). He's got his regrets, but still the somae ornery critter ("Don't do crack, and also watch out for the CIA/Colobian Cartels, man," is more the POV)

don, Friday, 18 March 2005 00:01 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Bass Culture
Sadly retitled in America as The History of Jamaica's music or something like that, but it's excellent. The only disappointing aspect about it is that Lloyd Bradley doesn't cover any On-U-Sound releases in the book or even take them into account.

Quit glaring at Ian Riese-Moraine! He's mentally fraught! (Eastern Mantra), Friday, 18 March 2005 00:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm just finishing this, I like it, but it could have used a little bit more demographic and geographic background info on Jamaica and Kingston in particular.

JoB (JoB), Friday, 18 March 2005 01:32 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Nick Kent's "The Dark Stuff"
"Alt-Rock-o-Rama" (great on car trips!)
Brian Eno's "More Dark than Shark"
Motley Crue's "The Dirt" (well, not about music, per se)

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Friday, 18 March 2005 01:54 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Blissed Out is still my favorite Simon Reynolds book. Jon Savage's England's Dreaming (see recent thread on him); Chuck Eddy's Stairway To Hell and Accidental Evolution; a couple of good anthologies: ROck She Wrote and Trouble Girls.

don, Friday, 18 March 2005 06:37 (twelve years ago) Permalink

that book "Hip: A History" isn't strictly about music but it's also very good. I think the author's name is John Leland.

Ashandeej, Friday, 18 March 2005 06:41 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Audio Culture (edited cox / warner) seconded, and limiting myself to the books next to my desk (library's in the hallway)

Electronic and Experimental Music by Thom Holmes
also; Wireless Imagination (d kahn / g whitehead)
Paul Griffiths - A Concise History of Avant-Garde Music
Paul Griffiths - Modern Music And Beyond
Curtis Roads
William Duckworth : Talking Music
Cage: Silence / A Year From Monday
Cage / Feldman: Conversations
James Tenney : Meta / Hodos
Karlheinz Stockhausen - Stockhausen on Music (Compiled by R Maconie)
Sound By Artists (ed. Dan Lander)
Chris Cutler - File Under Popular
Attali - Noise
Russolo - The Art of Noises (get a hold of a copy any way you can)
Trevor Wishart - On Sonic Art
Douglas Kahn - Noise Water Meat

milton parker (Jon L), Friday, 18 March 2005 07:13 (twelve years ago) Permalink

milton, has "modern music and beyond" been updated at all?: when i first read it (= in like 1977), i remember thinking "waddya mean beyond"!! it stops in 1968 with a sad thud!!

i think the attali book is lousy at book length—it's a good short polemic idea bulked out to a contradictory nonsense schema—and wireless imagination is patchy (which is a pity, cz it's a great idea for an essay collection)

mark s (mark s), Friday, 18 March 2005 09:11 (twelve years ago) Permalink

really good things I've read over the last few months were adorno's bk on mahler and morton feldman's 'give my regards to 8th street' essay comp.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Friday, 18 March 2005 09:55 (twelve years ago) Permalink

weird, I stopped reading Neutron Bomb halfway through--bored me for some reason, though the stories weren't in themselves boring. hmmm. (though it may be because I've never been all that into L.A. punk and like NYC punk way more.)

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 18 March 2005 10:27 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"Bass Culture" seconded - terminally readable, even if you don't much care about the stuff (which I do); as much of a cultural history as anything else. There's a certain integrity to his (not total, by any means, but pronounced) dismissal of Dancehall (and I do sometimes hear, say, Bounty Killer a bit differently now that I've read about the jamaican warlords and can't just pretend it's all fun "hey let's pretend we're Al Pacino" wackyness), but I do sorta wish he had just stopped when "his" age was over.

The Elvis Guralnick books - again, you don't have to care about the subject matter to enjoy them (personally, I was so-so on Elvis before readin' 'em, am now an unabashed fan), and the second one is one hell of a car wreck: the descent starts like twenty pages into it, and by the end of the book you can't even feel sorry for the guy anymore, you just wonder why he hasn't kicked the bucket already.

"Where Did Our Love Go?" by Nelson George has some nice anecdotes, and is probably the best book on Motown around, tho to be frank I didn't learn all that much from it.

"The Heart Of Rock & Soul" seconded, and throw in the "New Book Of Rock Lists" too, if only for the sheer joy of reading the sentence "Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum Lists..." over and over again (not that book of rock jokes, tho, that was awful.) And also "Fortunate Son: The Best Of Dave Marsh", great stuff on Elvis, Muddy Waters, latino rock, etc.

I remember reading Maryiln Manson's "The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell" in my early teens and being surprised by how good it was (I'd always loathed the guy's music.) Dunno if it holds up.

"Sweet Soul Music", hell yeah.

I've read the entirety of Christgau's consumer guide online, and there's some great, great stuff there. So the books are recommended, too.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Friday, 18 March 2005 11:12 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Brother Ray by Ray Charles with David Ritz is fantastic and amazingly blunt and candid.

shookout (shookout), Friday, 18 March 2005 11:14 (twelve years ago) Permalink

'Joe Carducci's Rock and the Pop Narcotic is being reissued sometime this year.'

yay I've been wanting to read that one for a while!

adding to my prev post here leroi jones 'blues people' which I just finished this morning: most gd bks on music accept that they aren't just abt notes and chords.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Friday, 18 March 2005 12:53 (twelve years ago) Permalink

i think the attali book is lousy at book length"

You mean it's not long enough? I loved the book. Should re-read it...

I also loved the Lexicon Devil (bio on Darby Crash) though it's certainly not essential...

nathalie barefoot in the head (stevie nixed), Friday, 18 March 2005 12:54 (twelve years ago) Permalink

All my obvious suggestions are covered here, so let me just say: even if you're a die-hard, passionate, blacked-out-yr-own-teeth Joe Strummer/Clash fan, AVOID AT ALL COSTS the pile of dung known as "Let Fury Have the Hour: the Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer." The superficial "analysis," the copious mistakes (London Calling wasn't recorded in New York, dumbshit!), the TYPOS (?!?)'s a massacree!

Jason Toon, Friday, 18 March 2005 16:41 (twelve years ago) Permalink

African Rhythm and African Sensibility by John Miller Chernoff

the ONLY thing wrong with JMC's line is that he somewhat slightly seems to accept the assumption that the social dimension—the "dance"—isn’t also always part of all music in the West (though he does this in the context of getting ppl to see/hear/look for the fuller sense of the meaning of music): taking his insights abt Africa (Ghana, to be more accurate) and applying them everywhere else is revelatory

Most of it is a charming telling of him learning African drumming in Ghana

mark s (mark s), Friday, 18 March 2005 18:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

The only two lengthy reads on Led Zep - Stephen Davis' Hammer of the Gods and roadie Richard Cole's 'Stairway to Heaven,' are both pulpy and full of dirt and invented mythology. Not to say I don't recommend them though.

And I hope someone someday undertakes a lengthy Sabbath bio.

57 7th (calstars), Friday, 18 March 2005 19:01 (twelve years ago) Permalink

(it is kinda more like one of those Esquire *music books every guy should own* things...)

scott seward, Saturday, 17 September 2016 19:57 (seven months ago) Permalink

OTM on all counts.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 17 September 2016 20:03 (seven months ago) Permalink

I like Ocean of Sound more than Haunted Weather, but yeah, Toop is unfairly overlooked in general, I think.

Don Van Gorp, midwest regional VP, marketing (誤訳侮辱), Saturday, 17 September 2016 20:05 (seven months ago) Permalink

The Fred Goodman book, which does contain a handful of not-uninteresting anecdotes, is a fucking joke. The Springsteen sections read like Goodman never got over that one time Landau and Marsh left a flaming bag of poop on Goodman's doorstep.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 17 September 2016 20:09 (seven months ago) Permalink

No Whitney Balliett on jazz seems weird too. But I tend to honor the idiosyncratic-cranky, as in Stephen Calt on Skip James or Charles Keil's Music Grooves, which can be too much for a lot of people. And there are just a ton of great jazz books beside Art Pepper's autobio, like Count Basie with Albert Murray and David Rosenthal on hard bop and John Szwed on Sun Ra, it's almost like there should be a bunch of different lists that give you the picture of how diverse things really are. And no one remembers Mark Shipper's Paperback Writer, still the best book on the Beatles outside of Aesthetics of Rock.

Edd Hurt, Saturday, 17 September 2016 20:14 (seven months ago) Permalink

I think an edition of Cook & Morton's Penguin Guide to Jazz ought to be on that list.

aaaaaaaauuuuuuuuu (melting robot) (WilliamC), Saturday, 17 September 2016 20:14 (seven months ago) Permalink

Could someone do a poll on here?

I think an edition of Cook & Morton's Penguin Guide to Jazz ought to be on that list.

Definitely - that or the Ian Carr, Digby Fairweather, Brian Priestley 'Jazz: The Essential Companion'.

Sunn O))) Brother Where Art Thou? (Chinaski), Saturday, 17 September 2016 20:21 (seven months ago) Permalink

No Hear Me Talkin' To Ya seems like a glaring-ish omission.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 17 September 2016 20:30 (seven months ago) Permalink

And no one remembers Mark Shipper's Paperback Writer, still the best book on the Beatles outside of Aesthetics of Rock
I remember loving that when it came out and wish I still had my copy! Trying to remember some of the songs from the reunion album "Disco Jesus"? "Captain Take Her To The Altar"? And then there was this running joke that went something like this: "In 1972, Ringo enjoyed a string of hit singles. First he enjoyed 'Rocket Man' by Elton John, then he enjoyed 'Mother and Child Reunion' by Paul Simon." Maybe I should just track down a copy.

Sigue Sigue Kaputnik (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 September 2016 20:41 (seven months ago) Permalink

Wondering if ilxor clemenza remembers this book as well.

Sigue Sigue Kaputnik (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 September 2016 20:54 (seven months ago) Permalink

Meanwhile I just got an email recommending I watch Ron Howard movie Eight Days A Week on Hulu.

Sigue Sigue Kaputnik (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 September 2016 21:05 (seven months ago) Permalink

I do (only book I ever remember Sedated getting compared to)--as I mentioned on another thread, I had a copy and, foolishly it looks like, gave it to a friend's brother who'd been trying to get hold of it. Copies in good shape are a little pricey on (Never read it, by the way.)

clemenza, Saturday, 17 September 2016 21:07 (seven months ago) Permalink

My favorite title from the Mark Shipper Beatles book: "Yoko's Gone Broke-O."

Edd Hurt, Saturday, 17 September 2016 21:38 (seven months ago) Permalink

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 17 September 2016 22:01 (seven months ago) Permalink

lol at "Ken Percent."

Sigue Sigue Kaputnik (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 September 2016 22:14 (seven months ago) Permalink

clemenza's pal weighs in

Sigue Sigue Kaputnik (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 September 2016 22:18 (seven months ago) Permalink

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 17 September 2016 22:50 (seven months ago) Permalink

This book sounds interesting to me.

Made it through this in about one day - definitely worth a read. It's interesting on Sam Cooke and his chameleon-like career, pointing out that in newspaper reports of his death he was called a "rock 'n roll singer" whereas by the time Hendrix died a black rock star was considered a strange anomaly. The book's good on the double standards applied to black musicians in the '60s - accusations of selling out, not being black enough, while no one said white musicians weren't being white enough, and so on. Also, the coverage of the trendy arguments over the meaning of the word "soul" in the late '60s is fascinating stuff. There are musicological comparisons of, for example, Erma Franklin's "Piece of My Heart" vs. Janis Joplin's version vs. Dusty Springfield's (I hadn't even known Dusty did the song), and Dusty's "Son of a Preacher Man" vs. Aretha's. The author seems to treat the matter of the white co-opting of rock 'n roll from blacks as a matter between musicians, their stylistic choices, and the reaction to those by critics/media. Which leads to what I think is missing from the book - discussion of the business side of the equation. I would think record company execs, A&R people, promoters, and even record sellers had a lot to do with how rock became white. The author includes telling quotes from Wilson Pickett about his music first appearing on Top 40 radio but later segregated on soul stations, and another quote from Miles Davis about record companies preferring to promote white faces, but these leads aren't explored by the author. Maybe I was expecting a bigger-picture study of segregation within the pop music business whereas this book has more of a narrow focus on matters of rock aesthetics and cultural give-and-take

Josefa, Sunday, 18 September 2016 16:06 (seven months ago) Permalink

"I would think record company execs, A&R people, promoters, and even record sellers had a lot to do with how rock became white."

i think it was just $$$. white kids loved R&B and they loved it even more when paler people sang it.

scott seward, Sunday, 18 September 2016 16:48 (seven months ago) Permalink

this page REALLY wants you to know that elvis was not a racist, but i do love the pictures and some of the old quotes.

scott seward, Sunday, 18 September 2016 17:02 (seven months ago) Permalink

Ah, Elvis and B. B., they both bought their clothes at Lanksy's near Beale Street.

Edd Hurt, Sunday, 18 September 2016 17:17 (seven months ago) Permalink

Edd Hurt, Sunday, 18 September 2016 17:22 (seven months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I want to read this

written by Curtis' son Todd, with writer Travis Atria

and this too, someday:

new Simon Reynolds book on glam rock and its legacy

curmudgeon, Friday, 28 October 2016 15:50 (six months ago) Permalink

Was wondering about that Curtis Mayfield book when I saw it out of the corner of my eye and couldn't figure out how I had missed it as surely it must have existed before.

Funkateers for Fears (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 28 October 2016 15:53 (six months ago) Permalink

Loved James McBride's Kill 'Em and Leave on James Brown. Chuck Eddy's Terminated for Reasons of Taste is worth it for his excellent Billy Joel piece, Oneida profile and his obit on Mindy McCready, all good. Plugging Ed Ward's Michael Bloomfield bio The Rise and Fall of an American Guitar Hero, which I did the revisions and new material for, and the first volume of his history of rock 'n' roll, which is out in a couple weeks.

Edd Hurt, Saturday, 29 October 2016 02:23 (five months ago) Permalink

Thanks, Edd. Will check those out.

Funkateers for Fears (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 29 October 2016 03:32 (five months ago) Permalink

Here's a review of the McBride book that also mentions the earlier RJ Smith bio, and notes how they are different, and both worth reading

curmudgeon, Monday, 31 October 2016 16:48 (five months ago) Permalink

this seems like it could be interesting

Number None, Monday, 31 October 2016 22:36 (five months ago) Permalink

Bought a cheap ebook of Delta Lady by Rita Coolidge and read through it quickly on Sunday. Well done, I recommend.

From a Vanity 6 (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 31 October 2016 23:36 (five months ago) Permalink

Tim Lawrence's brand new Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor 1980-1983 is excellent (so far), very dense with facts. While I was already familiar with most of the names of the main scene-makers involved, the author really gets deep into how exactly everybody met each other and how each big event inspired the next one. He glues the story together really well.

It's particularly interesting on how & when the formula of "DJs + MCs + breakers + graffiti = hip hop" got established (it was later than you would think, and probably not where you would think)

Josefa, Tuesday, 1 November 2016 23:04 (five months ago) Permalink

Really want to read Shock & awe by Simon Reynolds.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 1 November 2016 23:11 (five months ago) Permalink

Leave us not forget this 'un:

Or this, which I didn't know about: Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92

dow, Tuesday, 1 November 2016 23:32 (five months ago) Permalink

Speaking of Reynolds, has anyone read Retromania? Is it any good?

pumped up kicks and levels on repeat all night (2011nostalgia), Wednesday, 2 November 2016 02:23 (five months ago) Permalink

Welp, I'm lazy. But thank you!

pumped up kicks and levels on repeat all night (2011nostalgia), Wednesday, 2 November 2016 05:34 (five months ago) Permalink

Shock & Awe is the first Reynolds book that I'm kind of "eh" about reading. Just don't see what could be added to the wealth of information about glam that's already out there.

Position Position, Wednesday, 2 November 2016 13:55 (five months ago) Permalink

it's good so far, but I've never read an entire book about glam so ymmv. it's a nice mix of history and criticism, certainly not as heavy on the latter as Retromania from what I recall, for better or worse. but it's interesting for instance to see Reynolds chart Bolan's transformation from woodland hippy to glam progenitor, and then step outside the narrative to ruminate on whether Bolan was just cynically faking the hippy thing before T. Rex or if he just happened to get really swept up and committed to these different styles as they emerged.

evol j, Wednesday, 2 November 2016 18:35 (five months ago) Permalink

hold onto your dreams is a very good, very full, very entertaining bio. (with some flaws. lawrence has a tendency to drop large chunks of studio/personnel/recording date info into the main body of the text instead of footnotes/endnotes.) if nothing else it enlarges and complicates the picture of russell as an actual (sometimes petty, usually flawed, often inscrutable) human being who happened to make (very good) music, versus the deified portrait of a cipher/savant that's come to define him during the whole 21st century reissue/documentary/hagiography deal.

a basset hound (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Wednesday, 2 November 2016 18:43 (five months ago) Permalink

Thanks! Will def get that. This AR documentary is really good too; the basic movie is on youtube at the moment, I think, but DVD is worth getting for the bonus material etc. (trailer etc here)

dow, Thursday, 3 November 2016 00:04 (five months ago) Permalink

AR book is good and Strongo otm but Love Saves the Day is on another level and probably my favourite good book about the end it's just a better story.

wanderly braggin' (seandalai), Sunday, 6 November 2016 22:31 (five months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Just picked this up. Anyone read it yet?

Jazzbo, Thursday, 26 January 2017 18:06 (three months ago) Permalink

Reallly getting in to the Flying Nun memoir In Love With these Times by label head Roger Shepherd.
Just read the chapter on the Fall record In A Hole which was released without full approval by the band since the test copy never made it over to the UK. So Shepherd got hit with a cease and desist when mark E Smith started seeing expensive import copies appearing in Manchester.

I need to grab the Gordons lp, had the e.p a long time back and it was great. Also finally need a physical copy of the Clean's Anthology. Will probably need other stuff as I go on.

Stevolende, Thursday, 26 January 2017 19:57 (three months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Pretty good:

(North American cover's slightly different.)

1972's always been my favourite year for pop music, but Hepworth makes a good case for '71 as the peak year for albums, starting with Never a Dull Moment, Riot, Who's Next, Tapestry, Sticky Fingers, and Hunky Dory. He has a habit of doubling back again and again--"Wasn't that already covered?" I'd catch myself thinking throughout--and I didn't like it as much as David Browne's 1970 book, Fire and Rain. Good bit near the end, something worth taking note of and thinking about:

"Most of the musicians who became superstars in 1971...were slightly older than rock and roll itself, and therefore they could remember a world before it existed."

clemenza, Monday, 20 February 2017 20:35 (two months ago) Permalink

Try that again (North American cover):

clemenza, Monday, 20 February 2017 20:43 (two months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Don't know about 'good' but Peter hook's new order book is 99p on Amazon today

koogs, Sunday, 19 March 2017 05:30 (one month ago) Permalink

^ uk

koogs, Sunday, 19 March 2017 05:31 (one month ago) Permalink

NB Kindle not paper

Stevolende, Sunday, 19 March 2017 08:49 (one month ago) Permalink

sorry, yes. it's a kindle daily deal.

koogs, Sunday, 19 March 2017 10:26 (one month ago) Permalink

He's dislikable and candid in equal measure, of course it's 95% contrarian against everything to do with Barney who is the focus of most of the ire, however it's not a bad read for all that.

MaresNest, Monday, 20 March 2017 00:05 (one month ago) Permalink

one month passes...
this just got released psychedelia by Richard Morton Jack.
Looks like it should be pretty interesting. That website has extracts you can look at.
But I think Amazon currently has it cheaper.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 18:11 (three days ago) Permalink

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