Recognized the world over for his distinct voice and timeless hits spanning a career of nearly half a century, Charlie Wilson is one of the most celebrated musicians of his generation. So it took friends and family by surprise when he checked into rehab and revealed that he had been not only homeless, but also helpless.
Here is the riveting story of how love and faith carried him through not only his addiction, but also prostate cancer. Here, too, is the story of his work in the music business, including a career resurgence that saw collaborations with some of the most sought-after artists of today, including Pharrell and Justin Timberlake.
Now over twenty years sober, Wilson recounts a life filled with vertiginous highs and heartbreaking lows. His is a story of triumph over adversity, courage in the face of extreme hardship, and love when all else is lost. It is a tale of the last sixty years in social and pop culture history, and one that will stay with you for years to come.
MO' META BLUES
The World According to Questlove
Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture.
Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences--from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate?!?
But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind.
It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes.
It's a record that keeps going around and around.
Ten years in the making, Tune In takes the Beatles from before their childhoods through the final hour of 1962—when, with breakthrough success just days away, they stand on the cusp of a whole new kind of fame and celebrity. They’ve one hit record ("Love Me Do") behind them and the next ("Please Please Me") primed for release, their first album session is booked, and America is clear on the horizon. This is the lesser-known Beatles story—the pre-Fab years of Liverpool and Hamburg—and in many respects the most absorbing and incredible period of them all. Here is the complete and true account of their family lives, childhoods, teenage years and their infatuation with American music, here is the riveting narrative of their unforgettable days and nights in the Cavern Club, their laughs, larks and adventures when they could move about freely, before fame closed in.
For those who’ve never read a Beatles book before, this is the place to discover the young men behind the icons. For those who think they know John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it’s time to press the Reset button and tune into the real story, the lasting word.
From the Hardcover edition.
Among the bands profiled: Mission of Burma, Butthole Surfers, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Big Black, Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Mudhoney, The Replacements, Beat Happening, and Dinosaur Jr.
The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.
Ross, in this sweeping and dramatic narrative, takes us from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties, from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies. We follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. In the tradition of Simon Schama's The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club, the end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.
Unlike many forms of popular music, metalheads tend to embrace their favorite bands and follow them over decades. Metal is not only a pastime for the true aficionados; it’s a lifestyle and obsession that permeates every aspect of their being. Louder Than Hell is an examination of that cultural phenomenon and the much-maligned genre of music that has stood the test of time.
Louder than Hell features more than 250 interviews with some of the biggest bands in metal, including Black Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Spinal Tap, Pantera, White Zombie, Slipknot, and Twisted Sister; insights from industry insiders, family members, friends, scenesters, groupies, and journalists; and 48 pages of full-color photographs.
“Enthralling… Impossible to put down.” — The Independent
Acclaimed journalist Peter Doggett recounts the previously untold story of the dramatic final chapter in the lives, loves, and legal battles of John, Paul, George, and Ringo—aka The Beatles—from their breakup in 1969 to the present day. Called “refreshingly straightforward and highly readable” by The Daily Telegraph (London), You Never Give Me Your Money is the dramatic and intimate story of the breakup and aftermath of The Fab Four as it’s never been told before.
From the early development of recorded and transmitted sound, DJs have been shaping the way we listen to music and the record industry. Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton have tracked down the inside story on some of music’s most memorable moments. Focusing on the club DJ, the book gets first-hand accounts of the births of disco, hip hop, house, and techno. Visiting legendary clubs like the Peppermint Lounge, Cheetah, the Loft, Sound Factory, and Ministry of Sound, and with interviews with legendary DJs, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is a lively and entertaining account of musical history and some of the most legendary parties of the century.
Set in the world of 1960s and '70s soul music, Respect Yourself is a story of epic heroes in a shady industry. It's about music and musicians -- Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, the Staple Singers, and Booker T. and the M.G.'s, Stax's interracial house band. It's about a small independent company's struggle to survive in a business world of burgeoning conglomerates. And always at the center of the story is Memphis, Tennessee, an explosive city struggling through heated, divisive years.
Told by one of our leading music chroniclers, Respect Yourself brings to life this treasured cultural institution and the city that created it.
Segell outlines the saxophone's fascinating history while he highlights many of its legendary players, including Benny Carter, Illinois Jacquet, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Branford Marsalis, and Michael Brecker. The Devil's Horn explores the saxophone's intersections with social movement and change, the innovative acoustical science behind the instrument, its struggles in the world of "legit" music, and the mystical properties that seduce all who fall under its influence. Colorful, evocative, and richly informed, The Devil's Horn is an ingenious portrait of one of the most popular instruments in the world.
In Elvis: My Best Man, a heartfelt, entertaining, and long-awaited contribution to our understanding of Elvis Presley and the early days of rock ’n’ roll, George Klein writes with great affection for the friend he knew—about who the King of Rock ’n’ Roll really was and how he acted when the stage lights were off. This fascinating chronicle of boundary-breaking and music-making through one of the most intriguing and dynamic stretches of American history overflows with insights and anecdotes from someone who was in the middle of it all. From the good times at Graceland to hanging out with Hollywood stars to butting heads with Elvis’s iron-handed manager, Colonel Tom Parker, to making sure that Elvis’s legacy is fittingly honored, GK was a true friend of the King and a trailblazer in the music industry in his own right.
From the Hardcover edition.
“Eddie’s a true flag-waving defender of all things rock.” —Bret Michaels
“Eddie’s name should be spelled M-E-T-A-L. All of us should be thanking him because he has kept this scene alive for everyone.” —Ronnie James Dio
In the much-anticipated sequel to the bestselling Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, Trunk picks up where he left off by featuring 35 new bands, both legendary and forgotten, and sharing his passion for all things metal. Complete with his favorite playlists, band discographies, memorabilia, trivia, and more than 200 color photographs, this new book combines brief band histories with Trunk’s unique personal experiences and anecdotes in a must-read for all fans of rock and roll. Featuring a diverse lineup, from Marilyn Manson and Ace Frehley to Lita Ford and Whitesnake, Volume 2 salutes all those who are ready to rock!
Tracing the contours of this history, Greg Milner takes us through the major breakthroughs and glorious failures in the art and science of recording. An American soldier monitoring Nazi radio transmissions stumbles onto the open yet revolutionary secret of magnetic tape. Japanese and Dutch researchers build a first-generation digital audio format and watch as their "compact disc" is marketed by the music industry as the second coming of Edison yet derided as heretical by analog loyalists. The music world becomes addicted to volume in the nineties and fights a self-defeating "loudness war" to get its fix.
From Les Paul to Phil Spector to King Tubby, from vinyl to pirated CDs to iPods, Milner's Perfecting Sound Forever pulls apart musical history to answer a crucial question: Should a recording document reality as faithfully as possible, or should it improve upon or somehow transcend the music it records? The answers he uncovers will change the very way we think about music.
The early ’90s grunge movement may have last only a few years, but it spawned some of the greatest rock music of all time: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. This book contains the first-ever interview in which Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder was willing to discuss the group’s history in great detail; Alice in Chains’ band members and Layne Staley’s mom on Staley’s drug addiction and death; insights into the Riot Grrrl movement and oft-overlooked but highly influential Seattle bands like Mother Love Bone/Andy Wood, the Melvins, Screaming Trees, and Mudhoney; and much more.
Grunge Is Dead digs deeper than the average grunge history, starting in the early '60s, and explaining the chain of events that gave way to the grunge movement. The end result is a book that includes a wealth of previously untold stories and insight for the longtime fan, as well as its renowned story for the newcomer. Grunge Is Dead collects the whole truth of grunge music in one comprehensive volume.
Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, he reveals:
• How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world
• Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre
• That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise
• How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head
A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
More than a decade in the making, this will be the standard Beethoven biography for years to come.
Based on a decade of research and reporting--as well as access to the Replacements' key principals, Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson--author Bob Mehr has fashioned something far more compelling than a conventional band bio. Trouble Boys is a deeply intimate portrait, revealing the primal factors and forces that shaped one of the most brilliant and notoriously self-destructive rock 'n' roll bands of all time.
Beginning with riveting revelations about the Replacements' troubled early years, Trouble Boys follows the group as they rise within the early '80s American underground. It uncovers the darker truths behind the band's legendary drinking, showing how their addictions first came to define them, and then nearly destroyed them.
A roaring road adventure, a heartrending family drama, and a cautionary showbiz tale, Trouble Boys has deservedly been hailed as an instant classic of rock lit.
On the evening of July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at Newport Folk Festival, backed by an electric band, and roared into his new rock hit, Like a Rolling Stone. The audience of committed folk purists and political activists who had hailed him as their acoustic prophet reacted with a mix of shock, booing, and scattered cheers. It was the shot heard round the world—Dylan’s declaration of musical independence, the end of the folk revival, and the birth of rock as the voice of a generation—and one of the defining moments in twentieth-century music.
In Dylan Goes Electric!, Elijah Wald explores the cultural, political and historical context of this seminal event that embodies the transformative decade that was the sixties. Wald delves deep into the folk revival, the rise of rock, and the tensions between traditional and groundbreaking music to provide new insights into Dylan’s artistic evolution, his special affinity to blues, his complex relationship to the folk establishment and his sometime mentor Pete Seeger, and the ways he reshaped popular music forever. Breaking new ground on a story we think we know, Dylan Goes Electric! is a thoughtful, sharp appraisal of the controversial event at Newport and a nuanced, provocative, analysis of why it matters.
Published in celebration of Pearl Jam’s twentieth anniversary and in conjunction with Cameron Crowe’s definitive documentary film and soundtrack of the same name, Pearl Jam Twenty is an aesthetically stunning and definitive chronicle of their two decades as a band—by the band itself.
In 1991, Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten catapulted the little-known Seattle-based band into superstardom. Then, at the height of their popularity, the band shunned the spotlight, refusing to shoot videos or do interviews. Even as Pearl Jam’s studio albums continued to be critically acclaimed and commercially successful, selling over sixty million albums worldwide, the inner workings of the band—their day-to-day routines, influences, and motivations—remained unknown even to their diehard fans.
Twenty years later, this is their story. Pearl Jam Twenty is a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, rare archival memorabilia, and the band’s personal photos, tour notes, and drawings. Told with wit and insight in the band members’ own words, and assembled by veteran music writer Jonathan Cohen with Mark Wilkerson—and including a foreword by Cameron Crowe along with original interviews with legends and contemporaries like Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Dave Grohl—this intimate work provides an in-depth look at a group of musicians who through defying convention established themselves as “the greatest American rock band ever” (USA TODAY Readers’ Poll 2005).
—New York Post
The Woodstock music festival of 1969 is an American cultural touchstone, and no book captures the sights, sounds, and behind-the-scenes machinations of the historic gathering better than Michael Lang’s New York Times bestseller, The Road to Woodstock. USA Today calls this fascinating, entertaining, and blissfully nostalgic look back, “Invaluable.” In The Road to Woodstock, Michael Lang recaptures the magic for the generation that was there…and for the generations that followed.
No longer dismissed as relics of the hippie era, a new generation has lionized the Dead for creating a culture that paved the way for social networking, free music swapping, and the uncompromising anti-corporate attitude of indie rock. Now, fifty years after the band first began changing rock 'n' roll—both sonically and psychically—So Many Roads paints the most vivid portrait yet of the Grateful Dead, one of the most enduring institutions in American music and culture.
Bob Stanley—musician, music critic, and unabashed fan—recounts the progression from the Beach Boys to the Pet Shop Boys to the Beastie Boys; explores what connects doo wop to the sock hop; and reveals how technological changes have affected pop production. Working with a broad definition of “pop”—one that includes country and metal, disco and Dylan, skiffle and glam—Stanley teases out the connections and tensions that animate the pop charts and argues that the charts are vital social history.
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is like the world’s best and most eclectic jukebox in book form. All the hits are here: the Monkees, Metallica, Patsy Cline, Patti Smith, new wave, New Order, “It’s the Same Old Song,” The Song Remains the Same, Aretha, Bowie, Madonna, Prince, Sgt. Pepper, A Tribe Called Quest, the Big Bopper, Fleetwood Mac, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” Bikini Kill, the Kinks, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, and on and on and on. This book will have you reaching for your records (or CDs or MP3s) and discovering countless others.
For anyone who has ever thrilled to the opening chord of the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” or fallen crazy in love for Beyoncé, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is a vital guide to the rich soundtrack of the second half of the twentieth century.
From the moment in 1965 when he first stepped on stage—at age seven—in Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson was destined to become the undisputed King of Pop. In a career spanning four decades, Jackson became a global icon, selling over four hundred million albums, earning thirteen Grammy awards, and spinning dance moves that captivated the world. Songs like “Billie Jean” and “Black and White” altered our national discussion of race and equality, and Jackson’s signature aesthetic, from the single white glove to the moonwalk, defined a generation. Despite publicized scandals and controversy, Jackson’s ultimate legacy will always be his music.
In an account that “reminds us why Michael Jackson was, indeed, a ‘genius’ entertainer” (New York Newsday), Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper delves deeply into Jackson’s music and talent. From the artist’s early days with the Jackson 5, to his stratospheric success as a solo artist, to “Beat It” and “Thriller,” “Bad” and “The Man in the Mirror,” to his volatile final years, his attempted comeback, and untimely death, Knopper draws on his “critical and reportorial savvy in assessing Jackson’s creative peaks and valleys,” (USA TODAY) exploring the beguiling and often contradictory forces that fueled Michael Jackson’s genius. Drawing on an amazing four hundred interviews—ranging from Jackson’s relatives, friends, and key record executives to celebrities like will.i.am and Weird Al Yankovic—this critical biography puts his career into perspective and celebrates his triumph in art and music. This is “a thoughtful look at an artist who grew up in a segregated mill town and who, for the rest of his life, made music to bring down walls” (Chicago Tribune).
An NME Book of the Year 2013
A Rough Trade Book of the Year 2013
A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year 2013
This Mortal Coil, Birthday Party, Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, Pixies, Throwing Muses, Breeders, Dead Can Dance, Lisa Germano, Kristin Hersh, Belly, Red House Painters.
Just a handful of the bands and artists who started out recording for 4AD, a record label founded by Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent in 1979, a label which went on to be one of the most influential of the modern era.
Combining the unique tastes of Watts-Russell and the striking design aesthetic of Vaughan Oliver, 4AD records were recognisable by their look as much their sound. In this comprehensive account concentrating on the label’s first two decades (up to the point that Watts-Russell left), music journalist Martin Aston explores the fascinating story with unique access to all the key players and pretty much every artist who released a record on 4AD during that time, and to its notoriously reclusive founder.
With a cover designed by Vaughan Oliver this is an essential book for all 4AD fans and anyone who loved the music of that time.
In this engaging and accessible account, Stuart Isacoff leads us through the battles over that scale, placing them in the context of quarrels in the worlds of art, philosophy, religion, politics and science. The contentious adoption of the modern tuning system known as equal temperament called into question beliefs that had lasted nearly two millenia–and also made possible the music of Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, and all who followed. Filled with original insights, fascinating anecdotes, and portraits of some of the greatest geniuses of all time, Temperament is that rare book that will delight the novice and expert alike.
Before MP3s, CDs, and cassette tapes, even before LPs or 45s, the world listened to music on fragile, 10-inch shellac discs that spun at 78 revolutions per minute. While vinyl has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, rare and noteworthy 78rpm records are exponentially harder to come by. The most sought-after sides now command tens of thousands of dollars, when they’re found at all.
Do Not Sell at Any Price is the untold story of a fixated coterie of record collectors working to ensure those songs aren’t lost forever. Music critic and author Amanda Petrusich considers the particular world of the 78—from its heyday to its near extinction—and examines how a cabal of competitive, quirky individuals have been frantically lining their shelves with some of the rarest records in the world. Besides the mania of collecting, Petrusich also explores the history of the lost backwoods blues artists from the 1920s and 30s whose work has barely survived and introduces the oddball fraternity of men—including Joe Bussard, Chris King, John Tefteller, and others—who are helping to save and digitize the blues, country, jazz, and gospel records that ultimately gave seed to the rock, pop, and hip-hop we hear today.
From Thomas Edison to Jack White, Do Not Sell at Any Price is an untold, intriguing story of the evolution of the recording formats that have changed the ways we listen to (and create) music. “Whether you’re already a 78 aficionado, a casual record collector, a crate-digger, or just someone…who enjoys listening to music, you’re going to love this book” (Slate).
This is a book both broad and deep, drawing from the diverse worlds of classical, jazz, rock, pop, blues, country, folk, musicals, hip-hop, world, opera, soundtracks, and more. It's arranged alphabetically by artist to create the kind of unexpected juxtapositions that break down genre bias and broaden listeners’ horizons— it makes every listener a seeker, actively pursuing new artists and new sounds, and reconfirming the greatness of the classics. Flanking J. S. Bach and his six entries, for example, are the little-known R&B singer Baby Huey and the '80s Rastafarian hard-core punk band Bad Brains. Farther down the list: The Band, Samuel Barber, Cecelia Bartoli, Count Basie, and Afropop star Waldemer Bastos.
Each entry is passionately written, with expert listening notes, fascinating anecdotes, and the occasional perfect quote—"Your collection could be filled with nothing but music from Ray Charles," said Tom Waits, "and you'd have a completely balanced diet." Every entry identifies key tracks, additional works by the artist, and where to go next. And in the back, indexes and playlists for different moods and occasions.