Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Literary Rock (or, just pretty pictures)

I'm having writer's block at the moment when it comes to actual music and Fred's post about the book The ABC's of Rock got me to thinking about some books I've enjoyed recently by various musicians and bands. So, here's a list of some titles you might enjoy....

U2 by U2:  I'll state right off the bat here that I've been a HUGE fan for over 25 years now and if the ability to time travel ever becomes a reality one of my first stops would be their show in 1985 at Compton Terrace outside of Phoenix (anyone remember THAT venue?) I was only 12 at the time and there's no way my parents would have allowed me to go, but I remember wanting to go see this band that I didn't know a whole lot about but that I was very intrigued by. I'll have to share the story of how I first heard them some other time (and no, it was NOT Bono who got my attention at first.) Anyway, about the book....

The book was essentially put together by the band themselves and the attention to detail shows. There are photos and biographical information included in the book that I had never seen or read before, and for me, that's saying something. This is truly a history of the band, and it's not some glossed-over "everything's been great" version. If you're a fan like I am, it's a real treat, and if you're just a casual fan it's a great way to learn more about the band. You'll probably get a chuckle out of some of the early band photos...I remember showing the book to some coworkers when it first came out and there were some real laughs over Bono's hair.

Late, Late At Night by Rick Springfield:  He was the first rock concert I ever went to (thanks Dad!), at the Tucson Community Center (as it was named then) in 1984. Obviously, Jesse's Girl is what got me hooked on him, but even at my tender age I think I sensed a darker side to him with some of his other songs. I saw him again in 2000 at the fairgrounds and I got the distinct vibe that he didn't really want to be there. When this book came out in 2010 I remember thinking, "Wow, I had no idea he's been struggling for so many years." This is a very warts-and-all autobiography and he's very honest about his struggles with depression, something he's battled with since he was a child. There are parts where he doesn't come off in a good light at all, but to his credit he doesn't blame other people for the choices he's made. I was pleasantly suprised by his last cd, Venus In Overdrive, and his newest cd, Songs For The End Of The World, is getting some amazing buzz.

Life by Keith Richards:  I didn't read this one from cover to cover, but I skimmed parts of it, especially the part when he first met Patti Hansen, his wife of many years. There's a bit in the book where he talks about how he's never "collected" women the way Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman have done over the years. I was sort of shocked to find out that he's truly a gentleman when it comes to women.  Wow!
Between A Heart And A Rock Place by Pat Benatar:  I can still remember being at my cousins' house and Jodene pulled out the 45 of Hit Me With Your Best Shot and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I think it's a toss up between her and Deborah Harry for coolest female rock star of the 70's/80's. Benatar writes about the pressures she felt being a female in the business and trying to have a "normal" life.

In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran by John Taylor:  I think this was pretty well written although there seems to be a certain amount of detail left out. For instance, there's a photo of Taylor with his foot bandaged and no mention of how that happened (you'll have to ready Andy Taylor's Wild Boy to find out.) I had no idea John was raised Catholic. I was too, so it was interesting to read his perspective on his religious upbringing and how that affected him. Back in the day, Duran Duran wouldn't have played Tucson but they've done shows here on their last two tours, and now I think I know why...I won't spoil it, but I think John Taylor has a soft spot for Tucson.

Cyndi Lauper, A Memoir:  I just started reading this. I always liked Cyndi more than Madonna. Even at 12 years of age my opinion was that Cyndi was the better singer and had a bit more originality. I have a habit of skimming books before I actually sit down and start reading from the first page. From what I've skimmed, Cyndi is definitely a feminist and makes no bones about the music industry being anti-female. I'm not sure if she thinks this is still the case today; I'll have to read the whole thing to find out. The pictures included in the book are fun to look at too.

No One Here Gets Out Alive by Danny Sugarman and Jerry Hopkins:  This is the classic biography of Jim Morrison of The Doors. I first read this when I was in high school, DURING French class, which would explain why I have retained no knowledge of French. Obviously it's been a loooong time since I've read this, but I just wanted to throw this one in.

Happy Musical Reading!



  1. I loved this blog! Thanks for the kind shout out Gingermusickid!

  2. Thanks so much, Fred! Glad you enjoyed it.


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