Here, then, are the reviews of my music books………….

Eno & Byrne

1. On Some Faraway Beach

The Life and Times of Brian Eno

David Sheppard [2008] hb

“Great biography. Classy.”

2. Brian Eno

His Music and the Vertical Colour of Sound

Eric Tamm [1995] pb

3. A Year with Swollen Appendices

Brian Eno’s Diary

Brian Eno [1996] pb

“Out of print for many years and commanding vast sums on amazon. Now reprinted so everyone can indulge. It’s basically a diary written by Eno during one of his busy mid-ninety periods. What makes it attractive is his main subjects, U2 and David Bowie, with whom he was working for the first time since the ‘Low’ period. I actually liked his tales of Egypt. His ideas and working methods are to the fore and it’s riveting stuff.”

4. Brian Eno

Visual Music

Christopher Scoates [2013] with free mp3 download

5. How Music Works

David Byrne [2012] hb (though soft to the touch, padded)

“Lovely to hold and delightful to read. Exceptional.”

6. Brian Eno

Oblique Music

edited by: Albiez & Pattie [2016]

Other Biographies / Music related stuff

1. The Guiness Book of Hits of the 70s

Jo & Tim Rice, Paul Gambaccini, Mike Reid [1986] pb

“Reference book, but written with enthusiasm.”

2. Nilsson

The Life of a Singer-Songwriter

Alan Shipton [2013] hb

“Funny. Sad. Enthralling. Disquieting. A huge monument to a huge talent. Genuinely upsetting at times. Beggars belief.”

3. Turquoise Days

The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen

Chris Adams [2002] pb

“Got the band involved in discussing the songs, using sidebars throughout the book. Neat.”

4. Soul Catalogue – edition 1

Edited by: Chris Wells [1994] pb

“Labels. Numbers. Alphabetical releases.”

5. The Devil’s Music

A History of the Blues

Giles Oakley [1976] pb

6. Destroy

The Definitive History of Punk

Alvin Gibbs [1996] pb

7. Voxpop

Profiles of the Pop Process

Michael Wale [1972] pb

” A very detailed examination of the music industry in the early seventies, with chapters/interviews with all the major players at that time. Virtually every job is covered from PR to producer. The star happens to be Marc Bolan, who reveals a completely different character from the one feeding the media with crap. Disarmingly sensible and switched on. A book which is often overlooked or ignored. Essential.”

8. Alice Cooper

Welcome to my Nightmare

Dave Thompson [2012] pb

“After doing a fine job on Bowie’s later career, Dave is spreading himself too thin here. Not the best.”

9. The Soul Book

Ian Hoare, Clive Anderson, Tony Cummings, Simon Frith [1975] pb

10. Ronnie

Ron Wood [2007] pb

“Entertaining throughout. A right knees-up. I still prefer the Faces to the Stones! What do you think about that, Rod? And Ronnie was just the bass-player in the Jeff Beck group.”

11. Alice Cooper Golf Monster

How a Wild Rock ‘N Roll Life Led to a Serious Golf Addiction

Alice Cooper with Keith & Kent Zimmerman [2007] pb

“Everything you needed to know about golf, Graucho Marx & Raquel Welch. Bring on the Hollywood Vampires, indeed. Wonderful.”

12. Innocent When You Dream

Tom Waits The Collected Interviews

Edited by: Mac Montandon

Foreword by: Frank Black [2006] pb

13. Roxy

The Band That Invented An Era

Michael Bracewell [2007] pb

14. Unknown Pleasures

Inside Joy Division

Peter Hook [2012] pb

“This is the one which gets Hooky’s juices flowing for writing. Power to that. Great insights into the awful struggles bands initially face. Not a happy tale, this, but therapeutic nevertheless.”

15. Scott Walker

The Rhymes of Goodbye

Lewis Williams [2006] pb

“Dense. Oblique. Comprehensive. Who said pop was trivial?”

16. Madonna

An Intimate Biography

J. Randy Taraborrelli [2002] pb

“Everyone’s an expert.”

17. One Train Later

Andy Summers [2006] pb

“What a magnificent book! Or, rather, two books. Yep. One paperback, but two separate parts. Young Andy writes as well as he plays and offers value for money. Book Two naturally focuses on the most famous story, his role in the Police. But Book One has the really interesting bits.

So why One Train Later? Well, if you’ve scanned ‘The Coincidence Diaries’ in one of my other blogs, you’ll know how strange synchronous moments can be. If Andy had caught one train later, he may not have bumped into Stewart Copeland and rekindled their friendship and conseqential band structure. Such are the vagaries of fate. One train later and we wouldn’t have had Message in a Bottle and Every Breath You Take. The cynical may have wished foe an alternative universe.

Anyway, without Andy we would not have the Les Paul & an altogether different version of Derek or God. That may come as a major surprise. He also jammed with Jimi, borrowed from Jimmy and played with two Kevins. He was also a major player in the Animals and a mate of Zoot Money. By the time he’d got to meet Gordon he’d had enough careers to sink a battleship.

An awesome account of a charmed existence by one of the finest guitarists this country has ever produced. Essential.”

18. No More Mister Nice Guy

Keith Altham [1999] hb signed

“The PR King dishes the dirt and lavishes praise where it’s due. He knows everyone. All Van Morrison fans should buy this!”

19. Waging Heavy Peace

Neil Young [2012] pb

“How can one human suffer so much misfortune? Unbelievable. And you thought Neil was just rocking in the free world. What a talent. Gifted writing. Magnificent book.”

20. This is a Call

The Life and Times of Dave Grohl

Paul Brannigan [2011] pb

21. Reckless

My Life

Chrissie Hynde [2015] pb

“What’s the connection between Chrissie Hynde & Harvey Andrews? Bet she’s never heard of him! Extraordinary book. Have to admire such honesty. I don’t think I’d be telling everyone about half of this. The depths of depravity, the filth, the lack of dignity and self-worth, but never loathing…..the sheer recklessness…….is astonishing. Certainly changes perceptions. You have to admire the resilience. Just glad books don’t smell. Essential.”

22. Bedsit Disco Queen

How I Grew Up and Tried to be a Pop Star

Tracey Thorn [2013] hb

“Fantastic. What do you expect from one who has a first-class degree in English Literature? Rock has come a long way from ‘Beatles by Royal Command.’ I must dig out my Marine Girls tapes from John Peel’s radio shows.”

23. Rod

Rod Stewart [2012] hb

“Good old honest Rod. It’s all about model railways and how many women’s lives you can destroy, really. Get yer ‘ands outta yer pocket, yer tight bastard!”

24. Vacant

A Diary of the Punk Years 1976-1979

Nils Stevenson (Ray: photos) [1999] pb

25. Terence Trent D’Arby

Daisann McLane [1989] pb

“Slight. Fan-boy item from the pin-up early days. The autobiography will be stunning when it transpires. Watch out, Sony!”

26. John Peel

the olivetti chronicles [2009] hb

27. Chronicles

Bob Dylan [2004] hb

“Dylan is a writer. He writes with ease and is thoroughly engaging. It’s fantastic stuff, with some anecdotes, seemingly tangental, turning into entire chapters. When Dylan escapes, so does the reader. Should be on every literature curriculum list.”

28. Shakey

Neil Young’s Biography

Jimmy McDonough [2002] pb

29. Sex

Madonna [1992] metal

“Madonna’s monument to her body. Big. Visual. Has metal covers. Why not?”

30. Encyclopaedia of Albums (1000)

General Editor: Paul du Noyer [1988] hb

31. Guiness Rockopedia

The Ultimate A-Z of Rock & Pop [1998] hb

32. Pop

the Weird, the Wacky, the Wonderful World of Pop

[2008] hb

33. The Pop & Rock World Records 2011

Luke Crampton & Dafydd Rees [2010] hb

34. Roxy Music

Both Ends Burning

Jonathan Rigby [2008] or. 2005 pb

“It’s great when an author knows his subject and is an enthusiast, too. He also retains considerable objectivity, especially in dealing with Ferry’s weaknesses. It’s chock-full of detail with lengthy analyses of all the album tracks and related material. Had me seeking out my old Roxy stuff on several occasions while reading the book. Grateful to have so many of their brilliant concerts, too. If only Siren had been a total masterpiece. Buy it.”

35. Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen [2016] hb

“Don’t know what you’d expect from The Boss, but it’s nothing Boss-like whatsoever. And that’s both a relief and a very pleasant surprise. This is not your typical rock-star book at all. If you didn’t know it was Springsteen on the cover, you’d never believe what you were reading.

Bruce opens up. It’s often very dark. The gradual descent into insecurity comes as a shock when you consider the media persona we’re so used to witnessing, a man who displays such confidence on stage in public. It’s gripping stuff. Loyalty , love and friendship mean everything. The wealth?

It may seem disingenuous, but somehow it never is. I immediately went back to the bare sounds of the stripped-back albums. They make sense. Genius needs to be tortured, apparently.”

36. Substance

Inside New Order

Peter Hook [2016] hb

“Running to 724 pages this is not for the faint-hearted. However, once you start you will not put it down. By around page 500 I was exhausted and almost hated all the protagonists as much as Peter. Alcoholism and drug addiction vie with paranoia and mental health issues. Epicurean hedonism it is not.

The tale of Gazza and the champagne will linger long in the memory. It’s great news that Hooky has come out the other side to perform live once more. One of the great rock ‘n roll books.”

37. Head On

Julian Cope [1994] pb

“Hilarious. Cope is bordering on the polymath these days. If you were wondering which book to buy from this list, this should be the first! Rite on, drude!”

38. Art, Sex, Music

Cosey Fanni Tutti [2018] pb

Possibly the most depressing but astonishing autobiographies ever published. This is a ‘must-read.’ Abuse on a grand scale. Narcissistic megalomania unparalleled. Breathtaking arrogance.


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