Jump to content
aberdeen-music
Sign in to follow this  
Bigsby

Music/Film Biography Recommendations

Recommended Posts

I enjoy a good music or film biography and I've run out, so looking for some recommendations.

Recently I've read Hammer of the Gods on Led Zep, Hotel California about all the West Coast country rock dudes and the one by the lead singer of the Chilli Peppers. Never bought a Chilli Peppers record in my life, but the book was good.

So lets have your recommendations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I enjoy a good music or film biography and I've run out, so looking for some recommendations.

Recently I've read Hammer of the Gods on Led Zep, Hotel California about all the West Coast country rock dudes and the one by the lead singer of the Chilli Peppers. Never bought a Chilli Peppers record in my life, but the book was good.

So lets have your recommendations.

Dear Boy - Keith Moon bio?

Rock'n'roll Gearhead by The Rev Billy F. Gibbons is good. Lots of great pictuurs as well.

There's a cracking bio about Ian Dury - can't remember the title tho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't think much of dylan's chronicles tbh

Why not? It's incredibly rich and reads in a cool stream-of-consciousness style... sort of like if subterranean homesick blues was an autobiography. Plus it's got loads of Dylan-tastic half truths!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read both Chronicles and The Kid Stays in the Picture, both excellent. I fancy the Billy Gibbons thing, although its more of a "coffee table" book I think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've read both Chronicles and The Kid Stays in the Picture, both excellent. I fancy the Billy Gibbons thing, although its more of a "coffee table" book I think?

Yeah - but there's some bio and philosphy in there.

Man, that guy owns some ugly, ugly guitars!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What about some of the older bio's like Pamela Des Barres' "I'm With The Band"?

A few tales to be told in there!

Yeah, noticed that one on Amazon, think I might go for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Steven Dedalus

This is surely my specalist subject....

Music Bios:

Head on - Julian Cope (amazing, even if you know nothing about the man or his music, or indeed find his music rubbish. It's just a great book, all round.

Our Band COuld Be Your Life - Michael Azzerad (an essential look at the American indie/punk scene during the 80s. You'll have heard of some of the bands in here, and it will make you want to listen to them again. The bands you haven't heard of? You'll be listening to them before too long.)

Across the Great Divide - Barney Hoskins (I think..) (a history of the Band, and a great look at Americana in general.)

The Ambient Century - Mark Pendergast (a fascinating look at the evolution of sound over the 20th century)

Rip it Up - Simon Renyolds (The history of post-punk)

England's Dreaming - Jon Savage (the history of punk)

Please Kill Me - Legs McNeil (the American punk sceen in all it's dirty glory)

Psychotic Reactions and Carburettor Dung - Lester Bangs (simply the best music journalism ever written)

Let it Blurt - Jim DeRogatis (a biography of Lester Bangs that is also a brilliant look at the evolution of rock criticism)

My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize - David Cavanagh (a long out of print look at the history of Creation records, and the concept of the British indie scene in general. Really hard to find, and almost completely discredited - suspiciously by the people it says unfavourable things about... - but worth snapping up if you can find it.)

No surrender - Johnny Rogan (Rogan's comparison of Van Morrisson and Ian Paisley. Better than it sounds)

The Severed Alliance - Johnny Rogan (Rogan's look at the Smiths. Brillaint reading, even if you have no interest in the Smiths)

See also: any of the 33 and a 1/3 series (Ottakars had the whole lot the last time I was in Aberdeen. Essentially, a biographical look at specific albums. Generally really good, bitesize reading.)

MOVIES:

Easy Riders and Raging Bulls - Peter biskind (seedy seventies film-making, in the golden age of Amercan cinema)

Seventies - Howard Sounes (Not strictly a film book, but has brilliant bits about Apocalypse Now, the Godfather, Woody allen, Jaws, etc.)

Woody Allen on Woody Allen - Stig Bjorkman (largly humourless look at his films, with fascinating insights)

(sorry I keep using the word 'fascinating' so much.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed on many of those...also...

America over the water (Shirley Collins)

Ginger Geezer (Viv Stanshall)

Margrave of the marshes (Peel)

Invisible Republic (Greil Marcus on Dylan's Basement Tapes)

Nick Drake biog by Patrick Humphries

I've got a backlog of bios to read..including ones on Soft Machine, Tim Buckley, Pete Brown and many others.

Currently reading a fascinating one about Moondog, and trying to get hold of 'Spectral Soprano', about Lol Coxhill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Steven Dedalus

Nick Drake biog by Patrick Humphries

.

I enjoyed that one immensely!

(after years of saying Nick Drake was completely rubbish...)

A great little companion piece is the 33 and a 1/3 of "Pink Moon".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
oddly enough i didn't think much of easy riders, raging bulls either :down:

I liked it.

Thanks for all those recommendations, I think the Woody Allen one will have to be a must, although it will make me want to watch his films and they hardly seem to be shown on the telly nowadays. :down:

I watched The Front recently, just brilliant, and it's not even one of his best ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of excellent books already listed. I'd also add:

Redemption Song - The definitive biography of Joe Strummer

No Black, No Dogs, No Irish - John Lydon

Nowhere To Run: The History of Soul Music - Hirshey Gerri

All The Rage - Ian McLagen

Diary of a Rock and Roll star - Ian Hunter

on films:

The Day the Laughter Stopped: The True Story of Fatty Arbuckle - David Yallop

Evil Spirits The Life of Oliver Reed - Cliff Goodwin

Stranger Than Fiction (Maverick film makers in recent American Cinema) - Geoff Andrew

Rat Pack Confidential - Shawn Levy

Crying With Laughter - Bob Monkhouse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Steven Dedalus

Redemption Song - The definitive biography of Joe Strummer

I wasn't that fussed on this one...I kind of felt it made Joe Strummer out to be a complete saint...maybe just too reverential?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wasn't that fussed on this one...I kind of felt it made Joe Strummer out to be a complete saint...maybe just too reverential?

I take your point, it's often the case when the author is close to the subject, however, I knew very little about Strummer so it's was informative.

One to avoid is Paolo Hewitt's Steve Marriott biog, 'All Too Beautiful'. The grammer was awful, spoiled what should be a great story. In fairness to Paolo, his recent Weller Book was interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Please Kill Me - Legs McNeil (the American punk sceen in all it's dirty glory)

Damn, this was going to be my recommendation. One of the best factual books I've ever read. It fuelled my Johnny Thunders obsession.

See also: any of the 33 and a 1/3 series (Ottakars had the whole lot the last time I was in Aberdeen. Essentially, a biographical look at specific albums. Generally really good, bitesize reading.)

I've only got the one on Meat Is Murder by Joe Pernice, but I've seen a number of others that look interesting.

Overall, hefty good list you've got yourself there!

I wouldn't recommend Nikki Sixx's Heroin Diaries. I have no interest in Motley Crue but the malevolent "Ooh, hardback book for a fiver!" part of my brain took over and I ended up buying it, getting 3/4 of the way through before giving up out of sheer boredom.

Summary: Every night Sixx writes in his diary about how he's just shot up, imagined midgets and Mexicans and police with shotguns outside his house ready to come in, he flushes his drugs, then hides in his closet with his shotgun. He gets clean, the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree, my wife hates the Eels, I mean hates them but she loved the book. I thought it was the best music bio I'd read for years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×