Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Queen

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The definitive biography of Queen and Freddie Mercury, by the author of Comfortably Numb and Bring It On Home

Despite the death of their exuberant front man Freddie Mercury in 1991, Queen remains one of the most popular bands on the planet, with 300 million global album sales and the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, a "foot-stomping celebration of Queen," hitting theaters. Yet the full story of their extraordinary success and the truths behind the enigmatic Mercury has never fully been told, until now.

Journalist Mark Blake, author of the bestselling Pink Floyd biography Comfortably Numb, has drawn on his own earlier interviews with the band and conducted nearly 100 exclusive interviews with record producers, ex-band members, personal assistants, and school friends, including many of Freddie Mercury's earliest associates, to produce a complete, fascinating account of the band's rise from suburbia to worldwide super-stardom. Is This the Real Life? tells, for the first time, how this groundbreaking band became champions of the world.
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About the author

Mark Blake is a former Assistant Editor of Q magazine, a long-time contributor to its sister title MOJO, and has written for Rolling Stone, the Times (London), Classic Rock, and the Daily Telegraph. He is the editor of two definitive music books, Dylan: Visions, Portraits & Back Pages and Punk: The Whole Story, and is the author of the Pink Floyd biography Comfortably Numb and Bring It On Home, the biography of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant. Blake lives in London with his wife and son.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Da Capo Press
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Published on
Mar 22, 2011
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Pages
432
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ISBN
9780306819735
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Biography & Autobiography / LGBT
Biography & Autobiography / Music
Music / Genres & Styles / Rock
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The intimate - and surprising - autobiography of Britain's most adored band

Prepare to meet the real McFly ...

In 2003, Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Harry Judd and Dougie Poynter came together and formed what would become one of the most popular and successful bands in the UK. Just teenagers at the time, they were catapulted into the limelight and had to adapt quickly to their new-found fame – and everything that came with it. Now, at last, they have decided to tell their story, in full and revealing detail.

Speaking with candour and their trademark humour, Tom, Danny, Harry and Dougie share both the stories of their own lives and that of McFly. They give their personal insights into their contrasting childhoods, the individual paths that led them to the band, the struggles they have each overcome, their love lives and, of course, their music.

Packed with previously untold stories, a lot of laughter and the occasional tear, Unsaid Things offers a privileged look into the lives of four guys who started out as bandmates and became best friends. Their unique camaraderie radiates from every page and by the end of the book, you’ll know them almost as well as they know each other ...

Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Harry Judd and Dougie Poynter have been together as McFly since 2003. They hold the record for being the youngest band to have a debut No 1 album in the UK. Their hits include: 'Five Colours in Her Hair', 'All About You', 'Please, Please' and 'Shine a Light'. They are one of the biggest bands in the UK.

Steve Marriott was one of the music world's most extraordinary individuals, A supremely gifted songwriter, singer and ... schemer. A vocalist from the same mould as Rod Stewart, Eric Burdon and Steve Winwood ... but arguably the greatest white soul singer of them all. Marriott never held back from anything, least of all his music, his vocals always possessed an intensity, clarity and maturity that at the time were unmatched by any other singer.

His band The Small Faces were the first to be banned from Top of The Pops and were deported from Australia at gunpoint. Steve's next group Humble Pie ruled the stadiums of America but the money earned was diverted by mafia associates and he returned to the UK broke and on the run from the Taxman. In later life he struggled with schizophrenia but always continued playing - blistering gigs in front of small audiences in the pubs and clubs around London. Recently reunited with his old Humble Pie sparring partner Peter Frampton, he was on the verge of a comeback when he was tragically killed in a housefire, aged 44-years-old. A huge influence on a new generation of musicians from Paul Weller to Noel Gallagher, due to his death, Marriott has perhaps not been granted the status in Rock 'n' Roll's pantheon that he deserved. A major reassessment is long overdue. Marriott was simply one of the greatest rock stars of all time.

“An exhaustive account of the East End musical maverick, it spans his beginnings as a child prodigy, his memorable work with arch top Mods the Small Faces, and all the way through to his later work with Humble Pie, his subsequent solo career and untimely death in 1991.” Gary Crowley

“A riveting account of the singer’s life, crammed with entertaining stories of
rebellion and debauchery and insightful historical background... Compulsive
reading.” The Daily Express

“One of the best books I’ve read about the backwaters of rock music.” The Daily Mail

“A wonderfully researched, eminently readable appreciation of the creative force behind the Small Faces and Humble Pie, who created some of the finest pop, rock ’n’ boogie music of his generation.” ***** Classic Rock

“All Too Beautiful traces Marriott’s mercurial career from his upbringing in postwar, bomb-damaged London to his cocaine-ravaged demise in a fire at his Essex home in 1991, aged 44. Revealing... sympathetic, long overdue.” **** Uncut

“Ultimately, this is a complex story of extraordinary talent, missed chances, exotic highs and frightening lows... This comprehensive biography of Steve Marriott is as close as we’re going to get to extracting the truth about Britain’s finest white-soul exponent.” ***** Record Collector

“Compelling reading.” **** Mojo


'A definitive tome for both Who fans and newcomers alike’ *****  Q Magazine

Pete Townshend was once asked how he prepared himself for The Who’ s violent live performances. His answer? ‘ Pretend you’ re in a war.’ For a band as prone to furious infighting as it was notorious for acts of ‘ auto-destructive art’ this could have served as a motto.

Between 1964 and 1969 The Who released some of the most dramatic and confrontational music of the decade, including ‘ I Can’ t Explain’ , ‘ My Generation’ and ‘ I Can See For Miles’ . This was a body of work driven by bitter rivalry, black humour and dark childhood secrets, but it also held up a mirror to a society in transition. Now, acclaimed rock biographer Mark Blake goes in search of its inspiration to present a unique perspective on both The Who and the sixties.

From their breakthrough as Mod figureheads to the rise and fall of psychedelia, he reveals how The Who, in their explorations of sex, drugs, spirituality and class, refracted the growing turbulence of the time. He also lays bare the colourful but crucial role played by their managers, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. And – in the uneasy alliance between art-school experimentation and working-class ambition – he locates the motor of the Swinging Sixties.

As the decade closed, with The Who performing Tommy in front of 500,000 people at the Woodstock Festival, the ‘ rock opera’ was born. In retrospect, it was the crowning achievement of a band who had already embraced pop art and the concept album; who had pioneered the power chord and the guitar smash; and who had embodied – more so than any of their peers – the guiding spirit of the age: war.

Freddie Mercury was rock’s most dazzling showman, a legendary entertainer who in 1991, at the age of just forty-five, became the first major music star to die of AIDS. Mercury’s soaring four-octave voice was a defining element in Queen’s unique sound, crucial to the success of the band’s fifteen studio albums, from Queen (1973) to Made in Heaven (1995). He was also a supremely talented songwriter and musician who wrote many of the band’s greatest hits, including ‘Killer Queen’, ‘We Are the Champions’ and their biggest triumph, the epic anthem ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. As a solo artist he released two acclaimed albums: Mr. Bad Guy in 1985 and the operatic 'Barcelona' with Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé in 1988.

Mercury’s extraordinary charisma was perhaps best seen in his imperious live performances, in which he’d hold vast stadium crowds to rapturous attention. His outrageous theatrics, physicality and over-the-top costumes led one commentator to describe him as ‘a performer out to tease, shock, and ultimately charm his audience with various extravagant versions of himself’. He pushed the limits of camp in everything he did. His extreme behaviour, in a society in which being gay was only starting to be accepted, just added to Freddie Mercury’s allure.

With expert understanding, Mark Blake traces Mercury’s life from his childhood in Zanzibar and India to his untimely death, and charts his astonishing achievements including in Queen’s world-conquering performance at Live Aid in 1985.

In the year that marks what would have been his seventieth birthday, Freddie Mercury: A Life celebrates a remarkable life, lived to the fullest. Featuring revealing interviews with fellow musicians, producers and collaborators, and a detailed discography and timeline, this is a memorable tribute to a unique recording artist and an irreplaceable performer who rocked the world.
The real-life Alex Vause from the critically acclaimed, top-rated Netflix show Orange Is the New Black tells her story in her own words for the first time—a powerful, surprising memoir about crime and punishment, friendship and marriage, and a life caught in the ruinous drug trade and beyond.

Fans nationwide have fallen in love with Orange Is the New Black, the critically acclaimed and wildly popular Netflix show based on Piper Kerman’s sensational #1 New York Times bestseller. Now, Catherine Cleary Wolters—the inspiration for Alex Vause, Piper’s ex-girlfriend, friend, and sometimes-romantic partner on the show—tells her true story, offering details and insights that fill in the blanks, set the record straight, and answer common fan questions.

An insightful, frustrating, heartbreaking, and uplifting analysis of crime and punishment in our times, Out of Orange is an intimate look at international drug crime—a seemingly glamorous lifestyle that dazzles unsuspecting young women and eventually leads them to the seedy world of prison. Told by a woman originally thrust into the spotlight without her permission—Wolters learned about Piper’s memoir in the media—Out of Orange chronicles Wolter’s time in the drug trade, her incarceration, her friendships and acquaintances with odd cellmates, her two marriages, and her complicated relationship with Piper. But Wolters is not solely defined by her past; she also reflects on her life and the person she is today.

Filled with colorful characters, fascinating tales, painful sobering lessons, and hard-earned wisdom, Out of Orange is sure to be provocative, entertaining, and ultimately inspiring.

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