Home Read News Next Week in Music | March 23-29 • New Books

Next Week in Music | March 23-29 • New Books

Turn off the news for a few minutes and bury your nose in one of these good reads.


Just in the nick of time, things are slowly but surely picking up on the book front. Here are this week’s new titles — along with a couple that slipped by me last week.

To Hell and Back: My Life in Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers, in the Words of the Last Man Standing
By Walter Lure

THE PRESS RELEASE: “There have been many books written about Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, but only by people who weren’t there. Walter Lure was ― from the band’s chaotic beginnings on New York’s Lower East Side, through a now-legendary U.K. tour with The Sex Pistols and The Clash, and on to a yearlong stay in London ― eyewitness and midwife to the birth of U.K. punk. Now, he tells his story in To Hell and Back, a thrilling ride through the clubs and dives of two continents, in the company of one of the most notorious junkies in rock ‘n’ roll history. Drawing from his own contemporary journals, Lure paints a vivid portrait of life in both cities, during perhaps the most crucial musical uprising of the past forty years … the music, the characters, the clothes, the fights, the drugs, the orgies, the lot. Lure lays bare his own battle with drugs, and reflects upon his life after the band’s split ― rising to become a Wall Street fixture yet still finding time to make music.”

Nashville’s Songwriting Sweethearts: The Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Story
By Bobbie Malone & Bill C. Malone

THE PRESS RELEASE: “You might not know the names of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, but you know their music. Arriving in Nashville in 1950, the songwriting duo became the first full-time independent songwriters in that musical city. In the course of their long careers, they created classic hits that pushed the boundaries of country music into the realms of pop and rock. Songs like Bye Bye Love, All I Have to Do Is Dream, Love Hurts and Rocky Top inspired young musicians everywhere. Here, for the first time, is a complete biography of Nashville’s power songwriting couple. In Nashville’s Songwriting Sweethearts, authors Bobbie Malone and Bill C. Malone recount how Boudleaux and Felice, married in 1945, began their partnership as itinerant musicians living in a trailer home and writing their first songs together. In Nashville the couple had to deal with racism, classism, and in Felice’s case, sexism. Yet through hard work and business acumen — and a dose of good luck — they overcame these obstacles and rose to national prominence. By the late 1990s, the Bryants had written as many as 6,000 songs and had sold more than 350 million copies worldwide. They were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, and in 1991 they became members of the Country Music Hall of Fame — a rare occurrence for songwriters who were not also performers. In 1982 their composition Rocky Top was adopted as one of the official state songs of Tennessee. The Bryants were lucky enough to arrive in the right place at the right time. Their emergence in the early ’50s coincided with the rise of Nashville as Music City, USA. And their prolific collaboration with The Everly Brothers, beginning in 1957, sparked a fusion between country and pop music that endures to this day.”

Steely Dan: Every Album, Every Song
By Jez Rowden

THE PRESS RELEASE: “One of the biggest names in the musical landscape of the 1970s, Steely Dan released a string of albums that pushed the boundaries of what was possible in a recording studio. With albums like The Royal Scam and Aja, the songs of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen drew from their love of jazz, their ability to write memorable pop hooks and their penchant for subversive humour to produce a catalogue of unparalleled brilliance. With worldwide album sales in excess of 40 million copies, the durability of their songs has made Becker and Fagen one of the most celebrated writing partnerships in popular music. With Walter Becker’s untimely death in 2017, Donald Fagen continues to keep the band’s flame burning on stages around the world. This book gives an overview of Steely Dan’s career while investigating every track recorded across the nine Steely Dan studio albums, plus Becker and Fagen’s six solo albums. There is also a discussion of the official live albums and joint collaborations, the duo’s early, largely unreleased, recordings and other tracks recorded under the Steely Dan name, making this a comprehensive guide for both fans of the band’s work or newcomers to the fascinating world of Steely Dan.”

The Solo Beatles 1969-1980: Every Album, Every Song
By Andrew Wild

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Beatles, as a band, released over 200 songs in the eight years between 1962 and 1970. After they split, each commenced a solo career to varying degrees of commercial and critical success. All four of The Beatles achieved number one solo singles in the U.S. between 1970 and 1974. These included great, half-forgotten songs such as Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth), My Love, Photograph and Whatever Gets You Thru the Night. Three of the four had U.K. No. 1 solo singles between 1970 and 1980 in the U.K., too, with only Ringo Starr missing out. Between them, John Lennon (and Yoko Ono), Paul McCartney (and Wings), George Harrison and Starr had 22 top 10 albums in the U.S. and 25 in the U.K. between 1969 and 1980. They were nothing if not productive. But who but the most committed fans listen today to Rotogravure, Thirty-three and a Third, Some Time in New York City or Wild Life? It is surely time to re-evaluate The Beatles’ solo work in the period to 1980. This book examines every solo Beatles album from 1969 to 1980, track by track. It includes the classics, the lost gems, the turkeys, the collaborations, the back-biting, the hits and the misses.”