*A Rolling Stone Best Music Books of 2018 selection*
*A Pitchfork Pick: Best Music Books of 2018* Few bands have encouraged as much devotion as the Chicago rock band Wilco, and it's thanks, in large part, to the band's singer, songwriter, and guiding light: Jeff Tweedy. But while his songs and music have been endlessly discussed and analyzed, Jeff has rarely talked so directly about himself, his life, or his artistic process. Until now. In his long-awaited memoir, Jeff will tell stories about his childhood in Belleville, Illinois; the St. Louis record store, rock clubs, and live-music circuit that sparked his songwriting and performing career; and the Chicago scene that brought it all together. He also talks in-depth about his collaborators in Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, and more; and writes lovingly about his parents; wife, Susie; and sons, Spencer and Sammy. Honest, funny, and disarming, Tweedy's memoir will bring readers inside both his life and his musical process, illuminating his singular genius and sharing his story, voice, and perspective for the first time.
Mezz Mezzrow was a boy from Chicago who learned to play the sax in reform school and pursued a life in music and a life of crime. He moved from Chicago to New Orleans to New York, working in brothels and bars, bootlegging, dealing drugs, getting hooked, doing time, producing records, and playing with the greats, among them Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, and Fats Waller. Really the Blues, the jive-talking memoir that Mezzrow wrote at the insistence of, and with the help of, the novelist Bernard Wolfe, is the story of an unusual and unusually American life, and a portrait of a man who moved freely across racial boundaries when few could or did, "the odyssey of an individualist . . . the saga of a guy who wanted to make friends in a jungle where everyone was too busy making money."
From Booker T. Jones's earliest years in segregated Memphis, music was the driving force in his life. While he worked paper routes and played gigs in local nightclubs to pay for lessons and support his family, Jones, on the side, was also recording sessions in what became the famous Stax Studios-all while still in high school. Not long after, he would form the genre-defining group Booker T. and the MGs, whose recordings went on to sell millions of copies, win a place in Rolling Stone's list of top 500 songs of all time, and help forge collaborations with some of the era's most influential artists, including Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Sam & Dave.
Nearly five decades later, Jones's influence continues to help define the music industry, but only now is he ready to tell his remarkable life story. Time is Tight is the deeply moving account of how Jones balanced the brutality of the segregationist South with the loving support of his family and community, all while transforming a burgeoning studio into a musical mecca.
Culminating with a definitive account into the inner workings of the Stax label, as well as a fascinating portrait of working with many of the era's most legendary performers-Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Tom Jones, among them-this extraordinary memoir promises to become a landmark moment in the history of Southern Soul.
Now in paperback, Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man is the first-ever biography of Led Zeppelin's legendary guitarist and producer. Never before has the story been told in such sharp detail, leaving no stone unturned, from the heady days of swinging London in the 1960s - when Page was lighting up the scene as an incendiary session man - through the bombast, beauty, and blues that is Led Zeppelin (not to mention the wanton sex and drug orgies that would come to define rock excess). Here is the story of rock's most enigmatic and influential icon. "This biog is a cut above." - MOJO
When Les Paul spoke to People magazine in 1988, he said of author Mary Shaughnessy, "She listens and observes a lot, even things I don't tell her. If I clear my throat, she goes to the doctor and finds out if there's anything wrong with me." Now, five years later, Shaughnessy has captured the fascinating life of the man whose revolutionary recording techniques and guitar-playing reshaped popular music and paved the way for rock and roll.
Known variously in his long career as Mr. Guitar, the Wizard of Waukesha, and the Thomas Edison of Rock and Roll, Les Paul dominated not one but a whole range of popular music forms. Starting out in the Depression-ravaged thirties as the young hillbilly radio star Rhubarb Red, Les transformed himself into one of the most celebrated swing guitarists of the forties. At the same time, his remarkable experiments with solid-body guitar design and mutliple-track recording led to the unique Les Paul sound, which, together with his distinctive solos and his wife Mary Ford's gorgeous voice, catapulted the couple to international fame in the fifties. Topping the charts for years, they inspired an entire generation of young musicians - and prompted Gibson to launch its prestigious line of Les Paul guitars. Though they retired in the 1960s, Les came roaring back to the performing front in the seventies with a Grammy-winning album with Chet Atkins - and a legion of new fans. Still reaching career milestones today at the age of seventy-seven, he has been hailed by guitarists as diverse as Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, George Benson, and B. B. King, who calls Les the "maestro, because he masters whatever he does."
Les Paul: An American Original is a richly textured, meticulously researched biography that explains the real-life rags-to-riches story of this musical Renaissance man. From Les's triumphs over industry naysayers to his devastating personal and musical failures - as well as his tumultuous fourteen-year relationship with Mary Ford - this remarkable biography is the story of an American original, and a living history of American popular music.
Through astonishing force of will and exertion of talent, a young Lucy Hickenlooper of South Texas, reinvented herself as Olga Samaroff, international virtuoso concert pianist and one of the most influential musicians during the first half of the twentieth century, when music was still dominated by men and Old World prejudices. For those unfamiliar with her career, Olga Samaroff Stokowski may be known primarily for her tumultuous marriage to renowned conductor Leopold Stokowski. She was much more than a conductor's wife, however. Donna Staley Kline's biography reveals Olga as the driving and shaping force behind her husband's genius and offers the first considered look at a pioneering woman whose own career was marked by improbable firsts. She was the first American woman to win entrance into the piano class at Paris's prestigious Conservatoire Nationale de Musique; the first American female pianist to make her concert debut at Carnegie Hall, as well as to perform all thirty-two Beethoven sonatas; the first woman to serve as the music critic for a New York daily newspaper; the first American-born member of the piano faculty at the Juilliard School of Music; and among the first to make recordings and break ground in radio and television broadcasting. Known to her students simply as "Madam," Olga the beloved artist-teacher launched the first generation of American-born, American-trained concert pianists. William Kapell, Eugene List, Joseph Battista, Alexis Weissenberg, Rosalyn Tureck, and Maurice Hinson are only a few whose talent first found expression under her tutelage. But her passion for teaching extended well beyond the confines of the Philadelphia Conservatory and the Juilliard School. She sought to educate America in music, establishing in this country the first musical competition solely for native artists and creating layman's music courses for the general public. Carefully researched and drawing on interviews with her contemporaries and students, as well as on heretofore neglected letters and documents, An American Virtuoso on the World Stage will appeal to both music lovers and scholars in the field who seek a lively and penetrating look at one of American music's most important women. Olga's life story is of an American progressive who sought innovation and excellence and refused to yield to the musical establishment-and it is a story that has waited to be told. Donna Staley Kline, a former piano teacher and school librarian, retired in 1991 to devote her full attention to her research and writing. She has lectured widely and has previously written on the career of her favorite virtuoso in American Music Teacher and the Journal of the American Liszt Society.
Jim Cregan is an English rock guitarist, songwriter and producer, who in a career spanning fifty years has recorded numerous albums with stars such as Cat Stevens, Family, Willie Nelson, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Joe Cocker, The Gypsy Kings and Katie Melua among many others. However, he is perhaps best known for his 40-year association with Rod Stewart, as both his guitarist and co-writer/producer. In And on Guitar..., Cregan lifts the lid on an extraordinary career in which he toured for 13 weeks with Elton John as part of Family, recorded two albums with seminal psychedelic group Blossom Toes, and was recruited by Steve Harley to form the new Cockney Rebel (his sublime solo on their hit single 'Come Up and See (Make Me Smile)' is considered to be one of the best). And on Guitar... recounts Cregan's early life, his burgeoning music career, extraordinary tales of hedonism, and features a Who's Who of music's biggest stars.