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Next Week in Music | Nov. 8-14 • New Books

The upcoming crop of music books will be dropping some big names. Pick ’em up.

Led Zep and Eddie Van Halen. Dire Straits and Jesse Dayton. Bowie and Lou and Midge and Neil — and even Johnny Ramone. Next week’s new books are dropping some big names. Pick ’em up:


Led Zeppelin: The Biography
By Bob Spitz

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Rock star. Whatever that term means to you, chances are it owes a debt to Led Zeppelin. No one before or since has lived the dream quite like Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. In Led Zeppelin, Bob Spitz takes their full measure, separating the myth from the reality with his trademark connoisseurship and storytelling flair. From the opening notes of their first album, the band announced itself as something different, a collision of grand artistic ambition and brute primal force, of English folk music and African American blues. That record sold over 10 million copies, and it was just the beginning; Led Zeppelin’s albums have sold over 300 million certified copies worldwide, and the dust has never settled. The band is notoriously guarded, and previous books provided more heat than light. But Spitz’s authority is undeniable and irresistible. His feel for the atmosphere, the context–the music, the business, the recording studios, the touring life, the whole ecosystem of popular music — is unparalleled. His account of the melding of Page and Jones, the virtuosic London sophisticates, with Plant and Bonham, the wild men from the Midlands, in a scene dominated by The Beatles and Rolling Stones but changing fast, is in itself a revelation. Spitz takes the music seriously and brings the band’s artistic journey to full and vivid life. The music, however, is only part of the legend: Led Zeppelin is also the story of how the ’60s became the ’70s, of how playing clubs became playing stadiums, of how innocence became decadence. Led Zeppelin weren’t the first rock band to let loose on the road, but as with everything else, they took it to an entirely new level. Not all the legends are true, but in Spitz’s careful accounting, what is true is astonishing and sometimes disturbing. Led Zeppelin gave no quarter, and neither has Bob Spitz. Led Zeppelin is the full and honest reckoning the band has long awaited, and richly deserves.”

Eruption: The Eddie Van Halen Story
By Paul Brannigan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Arriving in California as a young boy in the early 1960s, Edward Van Halen and his brother Alex were ripe for the coming musical revolution. The sons of a Dutch, saxophone-playing father, the brothers discovered The Beatles, Cream and others. From the moment their hugely influential 1978 debut landed, Van Halen set a high bar for the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, creating an entirely new style of post-’60s hard rock and becoming the quintessential Californian band of the 1980s. But there was also an undercurrent of tragedy to their story, as Eddie’s struggles played out in public, from his difficult relationship with the band’s original singer, Dave Lee Roth, to substance abuse, divorce and his long-running battle with cancer.”

My Life in Dire Straits
By John Illsley

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “One of the most successful music acts of all time, Dire Straits filled stadiums around the world. Their albums sold hundreds of millions of copies and their music―classics like Sultans of Swing, Romeo and Juliet, Money for Nothing and Brothers in Arms ― is still played on every continent today. There was, quite simply, no bigger band on the planet throughout the ’80s. In this powerful and entertaining memoir, founding member John Illsley gives the inside track on the most successful rock band of their time. From playing gigs in the spit-and-sawdust pubs of south London, to hanging out with Bob Dylan in L.A., Illsley tells the story of the band with searching honesty, soulful reflection, and wry humor. Starting with his own unlikely beginnings in Middle England, he recounts the band’s rise from humble origins to the best-known venues in the world, the working man’s clubs to Madison Square Garden, sharing gigs with wild punk bands to rocking the Live Aid stage at Wembley. And woven throughout is an intimate portrait and tribute to his great friend Mark Knopfler, the band’s lead singer, songwriter, and remarkable guitarist. Tracing an idea that created a phenomenal musical legacy, an extraordinary journey of joy and pain, companionship and surprises, this is John Illsley’s life in Dire Straits.”

Beaumonster: A Memoir
By Jesse Dayton

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jesse Dayton’s story reads like a who’s who of American music. In his memoir Beaumonster, Dayton reveals the stranger-than-fiction encounters and outlandish experiences that have ensued across his wide-ranging career. After sneaking into night clubs to play gigs in his youth, 18-year-old Dayton and his trio began packing clubs and theaters across Houston, Dallas, and Austin. His first solo record, which featured great luminaries like Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiménez and Johnny Gimble, hit No. 1 on the Americana radio charts and then he was off to the races — touring the world solo and with punk legends Social Distortion and The Supersuckers. While doing press in Nashville, he caught the attention of Waylon Jennings and was whisked off to Woodland Studios, where he was greeted by none other than Johnny Cash, who told Dayton, “We’ve been waiting for you.” Since then, Dayton’s ride across the entertainment industry, traversing genres and formats, has only gotten wilder. Whether it’s playing guitar on records and film with the likes of Cash, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush, Glen Campbell and Duff McKagan; writing and recording soundtracks for horror director/rockstar Rob Zombie; directing Malcolm McDowell and Sid Haig in his own horror movie; filling in for the iconic punk band X’s guitarist; joining Ryan Bingham on tour; or the many solo and guest projects he continues to work on, Dayton is down to leave his mark, making Beaumonster a uniquely entertaining tale that will impress new and old fans alike.”

Neil Young on Neil Young: Interviews and Encounters
By Arthur Lizie

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Neil Young on Neil Young: Interviews and Encounters is a revealing anthology of Young’s most significant, fascinating, and entertaining discussions, declarations, and dreams, chronicling 50 years of conversations, feature stories, and press conferences. With many interviews widely available for the first time — including new transcriptions and first-time translations into English — the book spans Young’s words and ideas from 1967 onward: his early days with Buffalo Springfield and 1970s Harvest-fueled celebrity apex, an artistic rebellion and 1980s commercial dip, and the unexpected 1990s revival as the Godfather of Grunge through to his multi-decade victory lap as a living legend. Across the decades, Young’s own words tell the story as he perpetually reinvents himself as a master of music and film, a technology pioneer and innovator, and a bold political observer and strident environmental advocate.”

Dead Straight Guide to Velvet Underground and Lou Reed
By Peter Hogan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Velvet Underground were one of the most influential bands in rock sowing the seeds for punk, grunge and thousands of countercultural four-chord wonders. Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Moe Tucker mixed arty experimentation with primal rock ’n’ roll. Joined by the ice queen singer Nico and infamously managed by Andy Warhol, the Velvets brought the hip decadence of ’60s New York to the world.”

Bowie Odyssey: 71
By Simon Goddard

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Britain, 1971. Strange land of hot pants, moral outrage, anarchist bombs and sexual revolution. As Marc Bolan is hailed as the nation’s teenage saviour, the forgotten hope called David Bowie searches for the spark to relight his fire. He finds it in London’s gay clubland and the stoned fields of Glastonbury, the speedy streets of New York City and his new rock ’n’ roll allies Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. The ignition for songs about life on Mars and cosmic messiahs, starry alter-egos and bold fashions fit for the ultimate ’70s superstar. In the sequel to Bowie Odyssey 70, Simon Goddard continues his groundbreaking immersive narrative of the world around Bowie, through the second year of the decade he changed pop forever.”

Midge Ure… in a Picture Frame…
By Midge Ure

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A stunning collection of photographs taken by Midge Ure on his travels from 1980-1984. Midge first purchased a Canon A1 camera in 1980 and took it everywhere with him documenting the rise of the band Ultravox, which he joined in 1979. Whether this is in the studio, on tour, directing promotional videos for Ultravox and other bands, road trips and so on. A fascinating travelogue of a working musician.”

Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There
By Marc Myers

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Decades after the rise of rock music in the 1950s, the rock concert retains its allure and its power as a unifying experience — and as an influential multi-billion-dollar industry. In Rock Concert, acclaimed interviewer Marc Myers sets out to uncover the history of this compelling phenomenon, weaving together ground-breaking accounts from the people who were there. Myers combines the tales of icons like Joan Baez, Ian Anderson, Alice Cooper, Steve Miller, Roger Waters and Angus Young with figures such as the disc jockeys who first began playing rock on the radio, like Alan Freed in Cleveland and New York; the audio engineers that developed new technologies to accommodate ever-growing rock audiences; music journalists, like Rolling Stone’s Cameron Crowe; and the promoters who organized it all, like Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock, to create a rounded and vivid account of live rock’s stratospheric rise. Rock Concert provides a fascinating, immediate look at the evolution of rock ’n’ roll through the lens of live performances — spanning from the rise of R&B in the 1950s, through the hippie gatherings of the ’60s, to the growing arena tours of the ’70s and ’80s. Elvis Presley’s gyrating hips, the British Invasion that brought The Beatles in the ’60s, The Grateful Dead’s free-flowing jams, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall are just a few of the defining musical acts that drive this rich narrative. Featuring dozens of key players in the history of rock and filled with colorful anecdotes, Rock Concert will speak to anyone who has experienced the transcendence of live rock.”

The Pop Musical: Sweat, Tears, and Tarnished Utopias
By Prof. Alberto Mira

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley’s iron grip on the movie musical began to slip in the face of pop’s cultural dominance, many believed that the musical genre entered a terminal decline and finally wore itself out by the 1980s. Though the industrial model of the musical was disrupted by the emergence of pop, the Hollywood musical has not gone extinct. Many Hollywood productions from the 1960s to the present have revisited the forms and conventions of the classic musical — except instead of drawing from showtunes and jazz standards, they employ the styles and iconography of pop. Alberto Mira offers a new account of how pop music revolutionized the Hollywood musical. He shows that while the Hollywood system ceased producing large-scale traditional musicals, different pop strains — disco, rock ’n’ roll, doo-wop, glam, and hip-hop — renewed the genre, giving it a new life. While the classical musical presented a world light on conflict, defined by theatricality and where effortless talent can shine through, the introduction of pop spurred musicals to address contemporary social and political conditions. Mira traces the emergence of a new set of themes — such as the painful hard work depicted in Dirty Dancing (1987); the double-edged fandom of Velvet Goldmine (1998); and the racial politics of Dreamgirls (2006) — to explore why the Hollywood musical has found renewed relevance.”

Learn to Count 1-2-3-4 with Johnny Ramone
By David Calcano

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “1-2-3-4 … Let’s rock! Teach your little ones how to count — and introduce them to Johnny Ramone — with this colorful counting book inspired by the legendary founding member of The Ramones! An official Johnny Ramone book, inspired by some of Johnny’s favorite things: Elvis, baseball, cartoons, sci-fi and so much more! This fun children’s counting book combines punk rock themes with educational resources to provide fun for both parent and child. It even includes an introduction by Linda Ramone. Each page is filled with vibrant, attention-grabbing illustrations that take kids on a journey where they can join Johnny in outer space, help him pick out punk clothes for an upcoming show, make friends with monsters, and explore New York City with his wife. Both counting book and punk rock collector’s item, this book is the perfect addition to your family’s collection of Ramones musical history!”

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