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Horace Cordier
01-23-2007, 07:29 PM
Truth is, they usually stink. And I feel like I've read 'em all (at least the ones relating to the heavier end of the scale).

The problem? Often they are just fanboy things written by people with no real connection to the artists and very little new information, or they are written with some strange agenda in mind (I'm thinking here of a book I read about Hendrix that was really more about how the author viewed him as some sort of Black Power icon). Then you have the "trashy" ones that are just about the sensationalism.

So what are some ones that people actually enjoyed, or found informative?

I'm currently reading the AC/DC MAXIMUM ROCK AND ROLL bio by Murray Engleheart with Arnaud Durieux and so far it is excellent. AC/DC have suffered more than most from some really crummy books, but this one is meticulously researched and a gripping read. The material on Bon Scott paints a very vivid picture of the man, and the stuff about AC/DC's Australian days is really interesting. Highly recommended.

Also, can anyone recommend good books on the following bands:

ALLMAN BROTHERS, CREAM, PINK FLOYD, or YES? These are all bands I really like but there are so many books out there I would like to avoid the crap.

Don Guarisco
01-23-2007, 07:38 PM
A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS by Nicholas Schaffner is a good, solid read on the Floyd. Covers both the making of the albums and the personal stories behind the scenes in detail, including a lot of stuff on Syd Barrett (whose sad tale is related in a sensitive but honest style).

Howard Farmer
01-23-2007, 07:43 PM
Chronicles Volume One by Bob Dylan reveals more of the man than any bio I ever read on him. I found it very interesting.
I read Catch A Fire about Bob Marley some years back and thought it was good. :)

Bill Pissott
01-23-2007, 07:46 PM
ALLMAN BROTHERS

http://www.amazon.com/Skydog-Duane-Allman-Randy-Poe/dp/0879308915/sr=1-1/qid=1169595893/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-2557168-8144120?ie=UTF8&s=books

http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Riders-Story-Allman-Brothers/dp/0316294527/sr=1-3/qid=1169595893/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/102-2557168-8144120?ie=UTF8&s=books

Horace Cordier
01-23-2007, 08:05 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Skydog-Duane-Allman-Randy-Poe/dp/0879308915/sr=1-1/qid=1169595893/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-2557168-8144120?ie=UTF8&s=books

http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Riders-Story-Allman-Brothers/dp/0316294527/sr=1-3/qid=1169595893/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/102-2557168-8144120?ie=UTF8&s=books

Nice one Bill. And I can order the 2 of them together and save even more $$$.

Thanks man. Its a done deal!

Bill Pissott
01-23-2007, 08:14 PM
Sure thing. Enjoy.

Michael Greenwood
01-23-2007, 11:01 PM
Wreckers of Civilisation-The Story of Coum Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle by Simon Ford. Great book on an even greater band and they're heavy in the truest musical sense of the word.

Randy Thomas G
01-23-2007, 11:52 PM
Nick Kent's THE DARK STUFF has great bio/interview essays on Syd Barrett, the Rolling Stones, Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Iggy Pop, etc. A really great book.

Nick Tosches book on Jerry Lee Lewis, HELLFIRE, is the best biography I've ever read. It is very unconventional and is written in a style closer to a southern gothic novel than a biography.

I'm reading Robert Greenfield's EXILE ON MAIN STREET: A SEASON IN HELL WITH THE ROLLING STONES and after a cliche intro it is becoming really good. Stanley Booth's book THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF THE ROLLING STONES is an unconventional, personal account of the Stones tour leading up to Altamont.

Fred Goodman's MANSION ON THE HILL is a very strong book about Neil Young, Dylan and Springsteen.

It isn't strictly a biography, as it is about the impact of business on their music and relationships, but anyone who is a fan of any of those artists should be horrified and fascinated at the same time (btw Young comes out looking the best, Dylan the worst).

J. Harte
01-24-2007, 02:31 PM
I found SHAKEY, McDonough's bio of Neil Young massively entertaining, but that's because I'm a fan of the writer, not Young, particularly--too much of his stuff is too hippie for me. He comes across as a control freak nutcase who surrounds himself with people much more out-of-control than himself, which I found interesting. Or "innaresting," as Shakey would say.

John G.
01-24-2007, 03:18 PM
Black Sabbath: Doom Let Loose - By Martin Popoff

Phenomenal book... Popoff interviews virtually every single key player in Sabbath's long history and discusses literally every single song that they recorded, from the debut all the way to the two songs they recorded for their Reunion live albums. Chapters are organized per studio album, with equal weight given to the later stuff as the earlier stuff... the book is equal parts history, interviews with band members, and song commentary. It's one of the finest books I've ever read.

Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills - By Mick Wall and Chris Ingham

Authorized biography on the heavy metal greats. While the book is heavily weighted to their early pre-recorded career and the Di'Anno stuff (I would have preferred just as much time spent on the 80s and 90s heyday), it is a very illuminating read. This one plays less as a song commentary and more of a detailed history of the band, with interviews with the band members, managers, and behind the scenes players sprinkled throughout to give their own comments and interpretation on the band's history. It has been updated to cover the album Dance of Death, which is the version that I own. It's a fantastic read.

Aleck Bennett
01-24-2007, 05:19 PM
Nick Tosches book on Jerry Lee Lewis, HELLFIRE, is the best biography I've ever read. It is very unconventional and is written in a style closer to a southern gothic novel than a biography.

Tosches is a damn fine writer, no matter what he's writing about. It ain't a rock bio, but I'd have to say that I prefer DINO ever-so-slightly (but it's been years since I've read HELLFIRE -- I'm gonna go back and reread it now, though), and consider it the best bio I've read. I also second SHAKEY as a fine read. Peter Guralnick's two volumes on Elvis are also great -- LAST TRAIN TO MEMPHIS: THE RISE OF ELVIS PRESLEY and CARELESS LOVE: THE UNMAKING OF ELVIS PRESLEY.

Steve P.
01-24-2007, 06:25 PM
Yes-Close to the Edge by Chris Welch. He's a little biased because he's obviously a fan, but it's still a well-written book.

Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd by Nick Mason. You won't get to the text for a couple of days because you'll be too busy looking at the wonderful photographs. This is a great book. Essential for a Floyd fan and in some ways preferable to Nicholas Schaffner's excellent Saucerful of Secrets.

Emerson Lake & Palmer: The Endless Enigma. 800 pages of very scholarly review/history of the band. It's incredibly detailed, arguably too detailed. It helps if you have some basic understanding of music theory.

And the winner is:

Van Der Graaf Generator: The Book. This is a huge tome, very similar in scope to the Nick Mason book on the Floyd. It's expensive as hell and only available as an import but if you're a fan, this will be at or near the top of your favorite books. The author told me that there are no plans for a second pressing so if you want it, grab it now!

Steve P.
01-24-2007, 06:28 PM
Black Sabbath: Doom Let Loose - By Martin Popoff

Phenomenal book... Popoff interviews virtually every single key player in Sabbath's long history and discusses literally every single song that they recorded, from the debut all the way to the two songs they recorded for their Reunion live albums. Chapters are organized per studio album, with equal weight given to the later stuff as the earlier stuff... the book is equal parts history, interviews with band members, and song commentary. It's one of the finest books I've ever read.



I just finished this book and I have mixed feelings about it. I didn't learn much I didn't already know about Sabbath and Popoff's style grates after a while. He's entertaining as hell in his heavy metal encyclopedias, but for me his style doesn't translate that well to book form. But that's just me, because a lot of people love the book.

Oh and I highly second the "Run to the Hills" recommendation. I forgot about that one.

Chad Haden
01-24-2007, 07:22 PM
WHITE LINE FEVER by Lemmy
OLD GODS ALMOST DEAD by Stephen Davis

Randy Thomas G
01-24-2007, 11:32 PM
Tosches is a damn fine writer, no matter what he's writing about. It ain't a rock bio, but I'd have to say that I prefer DINO ever-so-slightly (but it's been years since I've read HELLFIRE -- I'm gonna go back and reread it now, though), and consider it the best bio I've read. I also second SHAKEY as a fine read. Peter Guralnick's two volumes on Elvis are also great -- LAST TRAIN TO MEMPHIS: THE RISE OF ELVIS PRESLEY and CARELESS LOVE: THE UNMAKING OF ELVIS PRESLEY.

I got DINO for my Mom and she loved it but I've still got to check it out myself, Scorsese wants to adapt it to film, which I think would be amazing.

Aleck Bennett
01-25-2007, 01:18 AM
I got DINO for my Mom and she loved it but I've still got to check it out myself, Scorsese wants to adapt it to film, which I think would be amazing.

It's phenomenal. I like Dean Martin a good bit as a vocalist, but I never had much interest in his personal life, so I wasn't expecting to be really that affected by it (I read it on a friend's recommendation). And man, it's powerful stuff. And I can *completely* see Scorsese filming an adaptation of it. It's got a really interesting and compelling structure that would translate beautifully to film, particularly in Scorsese's hands.

Aaron G
01-25-2007, 02:12 AM
The LOU REED and KEITH RICHARD's bios by Victor Bockris are pretty good.

SHAKEY the one on Neil Young is great too..

Horace, that ACCADACCA bio is meant to be terrible, if you haven't read it, I can suggest the one written by Clinton Walker.

But I find alot of rock-bios incredibly dull.

Conner H
01-25-2007, 07:11 PM
Black Sabbath: Doom Let Loose - By Martin Popoff

Phenomenal book... Popoff interviews virtually every single key player in Sabbath's long history and discusses literally every single song that they recorded, from the debut all the way to the two songs they recorded for their Reunion live albums. Chapters are organized per studio album, with equal weight given to the later stuff as the earlier stuff... the book is equal parts history, interviews with band members, and song commentary. It's one of the finest books I've ever read.

It's a pretty good read, but it offers nothing a few years of being an obsessed Sabbath fan with an internet connection doesn't. :D Still, a good collection of information for those of you that have friends.