A New York Times Notable BookWinner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award
"Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others." --Bob Dylan
From the moment that he first shook up the world in the mid 1950s, Elvis Presley has been one of the most vivid and enduring myths of American culture. Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley is the first biography to go past that myth and present an Elvis beyond the legend. Based on hundreds of interviews and nearly a decade of research, it traces the evolution not just of the man but of the music and of the culture he left utterly transformed, creating a completely fresh portrait of Elvis and his world. This volume tracks the first twenty-four years of Elvis' life, covering his childhood, the stunning first recordings at Sun Records ("That's All Right," "Mystery Train"), and the early RCA hits ("Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel"). These were the years of his improbable self-invention and unprecedented triumphs, when it seemed that everything that Elvis tried succeeded wildly. There was scarcely a cloud in sight through this period until, in 1958, he was drafted into the army and his mother died shortly thereafter. The book closes on that somber and poignant note. Last Train to Memphis takes us deep inside Elvis' life, exploring his lifelong passion for music of every sort (from blues and gospel to Bing Crosby and Mario Lanza), his compelling affection for his family, and his intimate relationships with girlfriends, mentors, band members, professional associates, and friends. It shows us the loneliness, the trustfulness, the voracious appetite for experience, and above all the unshakable, almost mystical faith that Elvis had in himself and his music. Drawing frequently on Elvis' own words and on the recollections of those closest to him, the book offers an emotional, complex portrait of young Elvis Presley with a depth and dimension that for the first time allow his extraordinary accomplishments to ring true. Peter Guralnick has given us a previously unseen world, a rich panoply of people and events that illuminate an achievement, a place, and a time as never revealed before.
More than any other band, Pearl Jam embodies the alternative style that dominates rock today. From their early days as fame-ducking grunge pioneers, through their headline-making battle with Ticketmaster, to their current status as self-assured survivors, Five Against One brings to life Pearl Jam's tumultuous ascent to superstardom in rich detail. A compelling portrait of the band's elusive leader Eddie Vedder and family photos never seen before by the public make this a must-have for every Pearl Jam fan.
Richard Wagner's devotees have ranged from the subtlest minds (Proust) to the most brutal (Hitler). The enduring fascination with his works arises not only from his singular fusion of musical innovation and theatrical daring, but also from his largely overlooked engagement with the boldest investigations of modern philosophy. In this radically clarifying book, Bryan Magee traces Wagner's intellectual quests, from his youthful embrace of revolutionary socialism to the near-Buddhist resignation of his final years. Magee shows how abstract thought can permeate music and stimulate creations of great power and beauty. And he unflinchingly confronts the Wagner whose paranoia, egocentricity, and anti-Semitism are as repugnant as his achievements are glorious.At once a biography of the composer, an overview of his times, and an exploration of the intellectual and technical aspects of music, Magee's lucid study offers the best explanation of W. H. Auden's judgment that Wagner, for all his notoriety, was perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived.
Hot and Cold: The Works of Richard Hell is a stupendous compendium of poetry, prose, photography, illustrations, interviews, essays, lyrics, and more by acclaimed artist, author, and rock star, Richard Hell. Since he first came to public attention in the 1970s, Richard Hell has made a spectacular if specialized reputation for himself in every conceivable medium-from music, painting, and photography to fashion, design, and writing. A man with a vision, Hell was the Prophet of Punk: the originator of the spiked haircut; ripped, drawn-on, safety-pinned clothes; and the seminal punk anthems Love Comes in Spurts and (I Belong to the) Blank Generation.I came back to England determined. I had these images that I came back with, it was like Marco Polo, or Walter Raleigh. These are the things I brought back: the image of this distressed, strange thing called Richard Hell. And this phrase, 'the blank generation.'
A complete, stand-alone method for rock guitar which builds musicianship and encourages creativity. It has the same attributes as the core method, and the two correlate. Covers rock and blues riffs, power chords, lead scales, and classic rhythm and lead guitar patterns as played by the greats. In standard notation and tablature. With a play-along recording. Book 1 includes power chords, eighth note rhythms, the blues form, minor pentatonic scales, rhythm riffs, music theory, boogie patterns, and lead guitar riffs and techniques. Includes riffs in the style of Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top(R), The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.
Before his untimely death in 1982, Lester Bangs was inarguably the most influential critic of rock and roll. Writing in hyper-intelligent Benzedrine prose that calls to mind Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, he eschewed all conventional thinking as he discussed everything from Black Sabbath being the first truly Catholic band to Anne Murray's smoldering sexuality. In Mainlines, Blood Feasts, Bad Taste fellow rock critic John Morthland has compiled a companion volume to Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, the first, now classic collection of Bangs's work. Here are excerpts from an autobiographical piece Bangs wrote as a teenager, travel essays, and, of course, the music pieces, essays, and criticism covering everything from titans like Miles Davis, Lou Reed, and the Rolling Stones to esoteric musicians like Brian Eno and Captain Beefheart. Singularly entertaining, this book is an absolute must for anyone interested in the history of rock.
The 23 essays (or "love songs") that make up the now classic volume Air Guitar trawl a "vast, invisible underground empire" of pleasure, through record stores, honky-tonks, art galleries, jazz clubs, cocktail lounges, surf shops and hot-rod stores, as restlessly on the move as the America they depict. Air Guitar pioneered a kind of plain-talking in cultural criticism, willingly subjective and always candid and direct. A valuable reading tool for art lovers, neophytes, students and teachers alike, Hickey's book--now in its eighth printing--has galvanized a generation of art lovers, with new takes on Norman Rockwell, Robert Mapplethorpe, Stan Brakhage, Andy Warhol and Perry Mason. In June 2009, Newsweek voted Air Guitar one of the top 50 books that "open a window on the times we live in, whether they deal directly with the issues of today or simply help us see ourselves in new and surprising ways," and described the book as "a seamless blend of criticism, personal history, and a deep appreciation for the sheer nuttiness of American life."Dave Hickey (born 1939) is one of today's most revered and widely read art writers. He has written for Rolling Stone, Art News, Art in America, Artforum and Vanity Fair among many others.
The definitive history of the first 30 years of heavy metal, containing over 100 interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Slipknot, Kiss, Megadeth, Public Enemy, Napalm Death, and more.
More than 30 years after Black Sabbath released the first complete heavy metal album, its founder, Ozzy Osbourne, is the star of The Osbournes, TV's favourite new reality show. Contrary to popular belief, headbangers and the music they love are more alive than ever. Yet there has never been a comprehensive book on the history of heavy metal - until now. Featuring interviews with members of the biggest bands in the genre, Sound of the Beast gives an overview of the past 30-plus years of heavy metal, delving into the personalities of those who created it. Everything is here, from the bootlegging beginnings of fans like Lars Ulrich (future founder of Metallica) to the sold-out stadiums and personal excesses of the biggest groups. From heavy metal's roots in the work of breakthrough groups such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to MTV hair metal, courtroom controversies, black metal murderers and Ozzfest, Sound of the Beast offers the final word on this elusive, extreme, and far-reaching form of music.
The story of how four young bohemians on the make - Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mimi Baez, and Richard Farina - converged in Greenwich Village, fell into love, and invented a sound and a style that are one of the most lasting legacies of the 1960s
When Bob Dylan, age twenty-five, wrecked his motorcycle on the side of a road near Woodstock in 1966 and dropped out of the public eye, he was recognized as a genius, a youth idol, and the authentic voice of the counterculture: and Greenwich Village, where he first made his mark as a protest singer with an acid wit and a barbwire throat, was unquestionably the center of youth culture.
So embedded are Dylan and the Village in the legend of the Sixties--one of the most powerful legends we have these days--that it is easy to forget how it all came about. In "Positively Fourth Street," David Hajdu, whose 1995 biography of jazz composer Billy Strayhorn was the best and most popular music book in many seasons, tells the story of the emergence of folk music from cult practice to popular and enduring art form as the story of a colorful foursome: not only Dylan but his part-time lover Joan Baez - the first voice of the new generation; her sister Mimi - beautiful, haunted, and an artist in her own right; and her husband Richard Farina, a comic novelist ("Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me") who invented the worldliwise bohemian persona that Dylan adopted--some say stole--and made as his own.
The story begins in the plain Baez split-level house in a Boston suburb, moves to the Cambridge folk scene, Cornell University (where Farina ran with Thomas Pynchon), and the University of Minnesota (where Robert Zimmerman christened himself Bob Dylan and swapped his electric guitar for an acoustic and a harmonica rack) before the four protagonists converge in New York.
Based on extensive new interviews and full of surprising revelations, "Positively Fourth Street" is that rare book with a new story to tell about the 1960s. It is, in a sense, a book about the Sixties before they were the Sixties--about how the decade and all that it is now associated with it were created in a fit of collective inspiration, with an energy and creativity that David Hajdu captures on the page as if for the first time.
Based on interviews with family members, colleagues, lovers, and the previously silent William Burroughs, this unsparing yet evenhanded biography guides the reader through the many personas, crises, and musical metamorphoses of David Bowie--also known as Davy Jones, the Laughing Gnome, Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, a drug-addled grandfather of punk, actor, art aficionado, political activist, one of rock's most resonant icons, and a totem of modern pop culture. Nowhere else is the man and musician so convincingly deconstructed and so compellingly humanized.