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A bountiful fall for music books
Patti Smith's "M Train" is one of a veritable glut of new music-related books hitting shelves this fall. Among the other notable titles are:
"Adrenalized: Life, Def Leppard and Beyond" by Phil Collen with Chris Epting (Atria): A slim, efficient romp through the guitarist's eventful life, focused of course on his time with the Leps although the sex and drugs part of the equation were more dramatic in his previous band, Girl.
"Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll" by Fred Goodman (Houghton Mifflin Hardcourt): One of the music business' best chroniclers takes on -- and succeeds in -- the unenviable task of fleshing out one of the industry's most ill-regarded villains.
"Comin' Right At Ya: How a Jewish Yankee Hippie Went Country, or, The Often Outrageous History of Asleep at the Wheel," by Ray Benson and David Menconi (University of Texas Press): How can you resist a title like this? And rest assured that Benson's storytelling chops Forrest Gump-caliber life live up to that billing.
"Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt" by Kristin Hersh (University of Texas Press): Following her own memoir "Rat Girl," singer-songwriter Hersh delves affectionately but objectively into her under-appreciated hero with a novelesque approach that makes for a rich, engaging and illuminating read.
"Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music" by John Fogerty (Little, Brown): Fogerty pulls no punches in these 416 pages, imparting plenty of insight into his music and venting about the complex and ultimately fractured relationships with his Creedence Clearwater Revival bandmates.
"How Can It Be?: A Rock & Roll Diary" by Ronnie Wood (Genesis Publications): The Rolling Stone guitarist lovingly -- and lavishly -- recreates his diary from 1965, before he was a big time rock star but was still rubbing elbows with those who were. Absolutely charming.
"Los Lobos: Dream in Blue" by Chris Morris (University of Texas Press): A definitive and long overdue biography of the "Just Another Band From East L.A." crew, carefully detailed by a writer who witnessed the story from almost the very beginning.
"MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson" by Steve Knopper (Scribner): Do we really need another book about Michael Jackson? Well, yes, when it's one as meticulously reported and richly detailed as the comprehensive and definitive portrait drawn by this University of Michigan alumnus.
"Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half The Story" by Jewel (Blue Rider Press): It's an apt title as Jewel reveals how much of a jungle it is for all women in rock -- even the sensitive songwriter kind.
"Petty: The Biography" by Warren Zaynes (Henry Holt): Zaynes, a singer and songwriter himself, uses his friendship with Tom Petty, with the man's blessing, for an intimate and insightful portrait that can only come from a genuine insider.
"Photograph" by Ringo Starr (Genesis Publications): These are Starr's own photographs, making for a treasure trove of priceless, candid images of the Beatles and beyond.
"Reckless: My LIfe as a Pretender" by Chrissie Hynde (Doubleday): Yes, the lure is the Pretenders and those relationships with fellow rockers Ray Davies and Jim Kerr, but the real fascination is Hynde's journey from being a fish out of water in Akron to the cutting edge of London at the dawn of its punk rock era.
"Ringo: With a Little Help" by Michael Seth Starr (Backbeat): A comprehensive if not exactly revelatory look at the Beatles who's been undeservedly overshadowed by his bandmates over the years.
"Shout It Out Loud: The Story of Kiss's Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon" by James Campion (Backbeat): A detailed -- and then some -- account of the landmark album that insured Kiss would be rocking and rolling for longer than just all nite. (sic)
"The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory" by John Seabrook (M.W. Norton & Company): The New Yorker staff writer peels back the curtain for a fascinating look at the pop world's super-producer hitmaker culture and the near-scientific methodology they employ.
"Sound Explosion: Inside L.A.'s Studio Factory with the Wrecking Crew" by Ken Sharp (Velocity): This lavishly illustrated, eye-opening document of the famed studio troupe dishes the details on the recording of more than 50 legendary songs that you'll appreciate even more after reading.
"Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink" by Elvis Costello (Blue Rider Press): It's dense in spots, as you might suspect, but Costello offers an engaging travelogue through both life and career, clearing up a few myths along the way.
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