Home Read News Next Week in Music | May 20-26, 2019 • New Books

Next Week in Music | May 20-26, 2019 • New Books

It wouldn't hurt you to put down that device and pick up a book now and then.

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If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, does that make reading about music like juggling about engineering? I don’t know. But I do know that these biographies, memoirs and other music-related books are due this week. So that’s something.


Begin the Begin: R.E.M.’s Early Years
By Robert Dean Lurie

THE PRESS RELEASE:Robert Dean Lurie’s biography is the first completely researched and written since R.E.M. disbanded in 2011. It offers by far the most detailed account of their formative years – the early lives of the band members, their first encounters with one another, their legendary debut show, early tours in the back of a van, initial recordings, their shrewdly paced rise to fame. The people and places of the American South are crucial to the R.E.M. story in ways much more complex and interesting than have been presented thus far, says Lurie, who explores the myriad ways in which the band’s adopted hometown of Athens, Georgia, and the South in general, have shaped its members and the character and style of their art. The South is more than the background to this story; it plays a major role: the creative ferment that erupted in Athens and gripped many of its young inhabitants in the late 70s and early 80s drew on regional traditions of outsider art and general cultural out-thereness, and gave rise to a free-spirited music scene that produced the B-52’s and Pylon, and laid the ground for R.E.M.’s subsequent breakout success. Lurie has tracked down and interviewed numerous figures in the band’s history who were under-represented in or even absent from earlier biographies, and they contribute previously undocumented stories and cast a fresh light on the familiar narrative.”


The Vinyl Frontier: The Story of the Voyager Golden Record
By Jonathan Scott

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In 1977, a team led by the great Carl Sagan was put together to create a record that would travel to the stars on the back of NASA’s Voyager probe. They were responsible for creating a playlist of music, sounds and pictures that would represent not just humanity, but would also paint a picture of Earth for any future alien races that may come into contact with the probe. The Vinyl Frontier tells the whole story of how the record was created, from when NASA first proposed the idea to Carl to when they were finally able watch the Golden Record rocket off into space on Voyager. The final playlist contains music written and performed by well-known names such as Bach, Beethoven, Glenn Gould, Chuck Berry and Blind Willie Johnson, as well as music from China, India and more remote cultures such as a community in Small Malaita in the Solomon Islands. It also contained a message of peace from U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a variety of scientific figures and dimensions, and instructions on how to use it for a variety of alien lifeforms. Each song, sound and picture that made the final cut onto the record has a story to tell. Through interviews with all of the key players involved with the record, this book pieces together the whole story of the Golden Record. It addresses the myth that The Beatles were left off of the record because of copyright reasons and will include new information about Carter’s role in the record, as well as many other fascinating insights that have never been reported before. It also tells the love story between Sagan and the project’s creative director Ann Druyan that flourishes as the record is being created.”


Rocketman: The Official Movie Companion
By Weldon Owen

THE PRESS RELEASE:Rocketman: The Official Movie Companion contains a wealth of amazing photographs from throughout the development and shooting of the movie as well as quotes and interviews from the cast and crew. The book will provide a fascinating insight into how the film was made, including locations, choreography, costumes and – of course – the music. In May 2019, audiences are invited to discover the fantastical story of Sir Elton John’s life, from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music, to global superstar, through his influential and enduring partnership with his songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin.”