In the 21st century, it’s a bit of a challenge for a writer – even a very good one – to write a book about one of rock’n’roll’s early leaders. Because, of course, it’s all been done before. What could anyone possibly have new to say about such an oft-covered artist as Jerry Lee Lewis?
There are a few characteristics that – when present – enhance the quality and readability of a book. When the subject is a band, figure or personality in the rock idiom – though in fact this is something of a global truth applicable to much more than rock music – if the author has an
I recently had a conversation with a friend and fellow writer/editor, and the subject of that discussion was the dwindling opportunities to tell compelling stories from pop music history. So much ground has been covered; many of the major artists have had books – or at least chapters – written about them, and that sort
I was late to the party: I had amassed a collection of several thousand albums (vinyl and CD) before I even gave a serious listen to Black Sabbath. An acquaintance who knew of my musical likes and dislikes had wondered aloud why I didn’t listen to the band. He lent me an LP or two,
You know those cool Pete Frame rock family trees? One of those could come in handy when dealing with The Ramones. The group started with Johnny, Dee Dee, Joey and Tommy. When Tommy (i.e. the one in possession of what’s most conventionally known as talent) left, Marky took his place. Tommy came back at one
Historical revisionism is a tricky business. And it’s a daunting endeavor: the writer faces an uphill battle, attempting to convince his or her audience that what they’ve come to accept as the truth is in fact inaccurate. But thank goodness for those who take virtual sword in hand to do battle with prevailing wisdom. As
John Borack’s John Lennon: Life is What Happens is subtitled “Music, Memories & Memorabilia,” and that’s a tidy summing-up of what this book is all about. Part social commentary, part reminiscence, part criticism, part price guide, part coffee-table book, Life is What Happens occupies a useful spot as it touches on all of those areas.
More than a hundred years ago Prussian statesman Otto Von Bismarck said “Laws are like sausages: it is better not to see them being made.” In a general sense this wry observation is probably true, but thank goodness that modern society has political junkies – many of them reporters, as it turns out — who
The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones: Sound Opinions on the Great Rock’n’Roll Rivalry by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot Voyageur Press; 190pp. US$35.00 My teenage years started in the mid 70s, some seven years after the Beatles announced their breakup. But some remnants of the sixties mindset remained even then: you were implicitly expected to
Here’s the thing: I occasionally review books, but I certainly never sit down to write a review before I’ve actually finished reading that book. It only makes sense. Rules are made to be broken. And Paul Myers’ A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio is so friggin’ awesome that I simply couldn’t