Home Read News Next Week in Music | Dec. 7-13 • New Books

Next Week in Music | Dec. 7-13 • New Books

Presley, pop stars, paintings, pioneering producers and plenty more.

The tale of a pioneering Memphis producer, a stroll through a Beatle’s garden, a chronicle of pop’s greatest year, another biography of pop’s newest superstar, a portrait of a uniquely musical artist — and plenty more. Read all about ’em this week. Or right now:


Chips Moman: The Record Producer Whose Genius Changed American Music
By James L Dickerson

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Chips Moman’s genius began in the studio, where he instituted technical innovations that forever changed the recording industry, but it expanded from there with an uncanny ability to recognize hit songs when he heard them as rough demos, and then blossomed with an unsurpassed string of hit records. He rescued Elvis Presley’s career with his recordings of Suspicious Minds and In the Ghetto, and he provided Willie Nelson with one of his most memorable signature songs, Always on My Mind. Not bad for a Georgia country boy who dropped out of school in the eighth grade and hitchhiked to Memphis in search of the American Dream. “I think the Chips Moman story has provided me with the best book I have written since Col. Tom Parker, which was purchased by Warner Bros. for its Elvis film starring Tom Hanks,” says author James L. Dickerson. “I anticipate great interest in a movie based on Moman’s story. Small wonder. He has been called the “Steve McQueen of the music business.'” By any measure-sales, multi-genre capability, number of hit records, technical innovation, artistry, etc., Lincoln “Chips” Moman was the most important record producer in American history. With several hundred hits to his credit in pop, country, rhythm & blues, and rock, both from record production and songwriting, Moman is legendary within the music industry. This biography is the story of his life. Early on, Moman was a co-founder of Memphis’s Stax Records, along with Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton. Moman found the location for the studio, organized the recording system, recruited the early talent and produced the legendary soul music record label’s first hits. He produced Petula Clark and Dionne Warwick, The Box Tops (The Letter) and Neil Diamond (Sweet Caroline), Paul Revere & The Raiders (Goin’ to Memphis) and Dusty Springfield (Son of a Preacher Man), Ringo Starr and B.J. Thomas (Hooked on a Feeling), The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson) and Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette and Gary Stewart, Brenda Lee and others. Moman also recorded a country album, as of now unreleased, with actor Robert Duvall, who got permission from Moman to use him as a model for the character he played in Tender Mercies, a role for which he was awarded an Oscar.”

Can’t Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop’s Blockbuster Year
By Michaelangelo Matos

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Everybody knows the hits of 1984 — pop music’s greatest year. From Thriller to Purple Rain, Hello to Against All Odds, What’s Love Got to Do with It to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, these iconic songs continue to dominate advertising, karaoke nights, and the soundtracks for film classics (Boogie Nights) and TV hits (Stranger Things). But the story of that thrilling, turbulent time, an era when Top 40 radio was both the leading edge of popular culture and a moral battleground, has never been told with the full detail it deserves — until now. Can’t Slow Down is the definitive portrait of the exploding world of mid-eighties pop and the time it defined, from Cold War anxiety to the home-computer revolution. Big acts like Michael Jackson (Thriller), Prince (Purple Rain), Madonna (Like a Virgin), Bruce Springsteen (Born in the U.S.A.), and George Michael (Wham!’s Make It Big) rubbed shoulders with the stars of the fermenting scenes of hip-hop, indie rock, and club music. Rigorously researched, mapping the entire terrain of American pop, with crucial side trips to the U.K. and Jamaica, from the biz to the stars to the upstarts and beyond, Can’t Slow Down is a vivid journey to the very moment when pop was remaking itself, and the culture at large — one hit at a time.”

In Lennon’s Garden: An Intimate Portrait of John’s Final Years
By Michael “Tree” Medeiros

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Nearly a half-century after his sudden, untimely death, John Lennon’s gentle spirit and otherworldly talent live on in the hearts and minds of countless fans across the globe. Now, four decades after his murder shocked the world, yet another side of John is revealed: one witnessed by Michael Medeiros, a gardener he and wife Yoko Ono hired in 1977 to tend to their indoor garden. It was Michael who observed John’s parenting skills firsthand, who sailed with John in Bermuda, and who, on Dec. 8, 1980, exchanged kind words with John before unwittingly shaking hands with his killer. A heartfelt tribute to Lennon, this book also ponders the artist’s evolution and insecurities, while uncovering new details of his unusual partnership with the ever-ambitious Yoko. Candidly recounting intimate conversations and encounters with Lennon in the last four years of his life, Michael’s story is a fresh, stirring perspective on a complex and brilliant man.”

One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park
By Jeff Blue

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “From the unique perspective of the executive who discovered them, One Step Closer reveals how Brad Delson’s college internship was a catalyst for a group of young musical visionaries, led by Mike Shinoda, which gave rise to a band that survived countless rejections, exceeded everyone’s expectations but their own, and became the voice of a generation. This against-all-odds story chronicles the early days of Linkin Park, from their first demo and Whisky a Go Go performance as Xero, through their tireless efforts to perfect their iconic sound and the discovery of Chester Bennington. Jeff Blue was there when no one else believed — first as their publisher, then as their A&R guy. This is his memoir of that incredible journey. Riveting and inspiring, One Step Closer is a testament to perseverance, as well as a detailed behind-the-scenes account of the building of a dream and what it takes to make it.”

Inventing Elvis: An American Icon in a Cold War World
By Mathias Haeussler

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Elvis Presley stands tall as perhaps the supreme icon of 20th-century U.S. culture. But he was perceived to be deeply un-American in his early years as his controversial adaptation of rhythm and blues music and gyrating on-stage performances sent shockwaves through Eisenhower’s conservative America and far beyond. This book explores Elvis Presley’s global transformation from a teenage rebel figure into one of the U.S.’s major pop-cultural embodiments from a historical perspective. It shows how Elvis’s rise was part of an emerging transnational youth culture whose political impact was heavily conditioned by the Cold War. As well as this, the book analyses Elvis’s stint as G.I. soldier in West Germany, where he acted as an informal ambassador for the so-called American way of life and was turned into a deeply patriotic figure almost overnight. Yet, it also suggests that Elvis’s increasingly synonymous identity with U.S. culture ultimately proved to be a double-edged sword, as the excesses of his superstardom and personal decline seemingly vindicated long-held stereotypes about the allegedly materialistic nature of U.S. society. Tracing Elvis’s story from his unlikely rise in the 1950s right up to his tragic death in August 1977, this book offers a riveting account of changing U.S. identities during the Cold War, shedding fresh light on the powerful role of popular music and consumerism in shaping images of the United States during the cultural struggle between East and West.”

Billie Eilish
By Mick O’Shea

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In the space of just three years and while still a teenager, Billie Eilish has become one of the most-streamed artists on the planet. From her unique style of songs, co-created with her brother Finneas O’Connell, to her squeamish videos and unusual look, Billie is far from your typical 18-year-old singer. Though she’s young, she’s no cookie-cutter pop star. Her famous dead eyes, her performatively bored attitude along with her angsty, often sadistic lyrics about serial killers and psychopaths make Eilish intruiging and ‘intimidating as hell.’ With her colourful hair and her refusal to wear any tight clothing, Eilish is well known for her distinctive style. Her loose, body-obscuring silhouettes in neon colours and graffiti prints have become so iconic that she has now launched her own retro-inspired clothing collection. But Eilish’s appeal doesn’t just stem from her style or her music, she is also admired for her frank discussion of mental health and body image issues and taking her social responsibility as a role model seriously. And with seven gold and three platinum singles in the US under her belt, it looks like Billie is set to dominate the music industry for many years to come.”

Morgan Howell at 45 RPM
By Dominic Mohan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Morgan Howell paints classic 7”” singles and takes into account every crease, every tear, every imperfection—producing a one-off, truly unique artwork, almost identical to the owner’s original copy, but blown up, supersize, to 27.6 by 27.6 inches, and three-dimensional, with the spindle in the centre, as if the record is ready to play. This completely original approach has resulted in Howell attracting a cult following amongst art collectors and musicians alike— with paintings commissioned by the likes of Neil Diamond, Jude Law, Edgar Wright and The Stone RosesIan Brown, and major music labels selecting the artist’s work for display in their headquarters, indeed, Howell’’s painting of David Bowie’’s The Jean Genie is displayed at the Sony Music Building in London, and Yesterday by The Beatles has been shown at the Capitol Building in L.A. Morgan Howell at 45 RPM beautifully documents 95 of Howell’s creations, from ‘Tutti Frutti’ by Little Richard to ‘Heart of Glass’ by Blondie, to ‘Gimme Shelter’ by The Rolling Stones, to ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by The Kinks. The artworks are shown in full, alongside evocative commentaries from fans of Howell’s work, including The SmithsJohnny Marr, Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp, Happy MondaysShaun Ryder, producer William Orbit and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. The book features forewords by Sir Peter Blake and Andrew Marr, plus an in-depth interview with Morgan Howell, exploring his process as an artist and why, for him, music and art are intrinsically linked. With a format perfectly designed to fit on record shelves, this book is a must for vinyl junkies, music heads and art lovers everywhere.”