With no real money to be made from his songs, what is Siblin’s motivation then? What is his rock ’n’ roll dream? It’s to sing, we learn on page 259 of 295, a song he had written. “It was a visceral need,” the pitchy author explains.
It’s a remarkable story of dogged determination to prove his own body wrong and, as such, is one of the more illuminating cultural studies of modern times.
Testimony will please hardcore Robertson fans; it is another layer, an additional perspective, in the historiography of rock music, and it adds to Helm’s and Dylan’s accounts, creating a deeper understanding...
These scrapbooks take you into every corner of Bawden’s long life...What an eye he had – for absolutely everything. Wondrous almanacs of one man’s sensibility, their every page bulges with interest and beauty.
Overall, Collins’s memoir is breezy and self-deprecating. When he lists his failures as a husband and father — especially in the final chapters, about a recent and near-fatal slide into alcoholism — he gets uncharacteristically serious.
In this brief biography, Peter Ackroyd highlights Hitchcock’s Jesuitical secondary school education at St Ignatius College in north London...For all its insight, Peter Ackroyd’s biography is a deft synthesis of numerous other studies of “Alfred the Great”; it is well written, however, and unusually well attuned to the religious element.
One could view this project as a metaphor for the baggage that we all carry and the notion that no matter how grand a life might appear, there’s always…stuff. Some of it may be good, some of it may be bad, but it’s always there. That seems to be Jacobson’s big takeaway – and it’s a valuable one.
With the occasional focus on the townspeople potentially not adding up to those uninitiated with the series, the novel could fall short on a few fronts...However, as supplementary material to the entire lore of the show and film, it is a wonderful addition and one that fans will hungrily delve into time and time again.
In an author’s note Parton exhorts young readers, bullies and victims alike, to have understanding hearts and find comfort in knowing that hurts can heal. Tender and heartfelt with a loving message—if a little sanitized.
I Am Brian Wilson is being published today, almost exactly fifty years after the release of “Good Vibrations.” It is a wonderful insight into a troubled genius; he is one of America’s greatest songwriters.
We learn as well about the perils and inconveniences of celebrity, his deep affection for his wife and daughter, and losses (parents, others). He ends with an account of his recent stage performance as Lyndon Johnson. The highs here—and there are many—are meth-less but addictive.
For dedicated readers with the patience for philosophy and oblique reasoning, the work offers intriguing insights into how we might understand art and religion as two modes of the same creative impulse.
Over 680 pages in length, Shock and Awe is a suitably (ridiculously?) gargantuan study of “a time when pop was titanic, idolatrous, unsane, a theatre of inflamed artifice and grandiose gestures”.
Rock writing rarely tells us properly what a band treading water or in slow decline feels like from the inside. Hook does so memorably.
Mr. Salle gets no points for originality of insight...But “How to See” is lovely to read, mostly, because Mr. Salle can actually write.
Mr. Lawrence, a professor of cultural studies at the University of East London, provides a lot to chew on, sometimes too much. Occasionally his paragraphs are weighted down with alphabetical lists of, say, every notable band that played at a particular club in a given year — like a garnish that overwhelms the dish.
...his excellent new book...The release of Semley’s book this week will no doubt occasion another battery of celebratory odes to the Kids and their importance, their influence, their continued relevance to this day.
Most insightful, he reveals his ongoing battles with depression—"shortly after my sixtieth I slipped into a depression like I hadn't experienced"—and his eventual ability to live with this condition. Springsteen writes with the same powerful lyrical quality of his music.
This is a book of great compassion that traces the contours of a single remarkable life. But Bergner is also doing something more expansive, examining the long and tormented history of black involvement in an elite artistic tradition and in society at large.
At a time when people feel compelled to revel in and share their excesses—and Gordon does share a few of his—it’s refreshing to find a story in which the search for meaning trumps the search for mischief.