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Next Week in Music | Feb. 26 – March 3 • New Books

Jim Gordon, The Who, Thin Lizzy, Oasis & more names for your reading list.

If you’ve been waiting — as I have — for Joel Selvin’s biography of talented, tormented drummer Jim Gordon, wait no longer. Not interested? Not a problem. Next week also brings tomes on The Who, college radio and cassette culture, along with deep dives into the catalogues of Thin Lizzy, Oasis, The Zombies, The Carpenters and more. Add these titles to your reading list:


Drums & Demons: The Tragic Journey of Jim Gordon
By Joel Selvin

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jim Gordon was one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. Just ask the world-famous musicians who played with him — John Lennon, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, Joe Cocker, and many more. They knew him for his superior playing, extraordinary training and technique, preternatural intuition, perfect sense of time, and his “big fill” — the mathematically precise clatter that exploded like detonating fireworks on his drum breaks. But as best-selling author and award-winning journalist Joel Selvin reveals in Drums & Demons, the story of Gordon is the most brilliant, turbulent, and wrenching rock opera ever. Drums & Demons follows Gordon as the very chemicals in his brain that gifted him also destroyed him. His head crowded with a hellish gang of voices screaming at him, demanding obedience, Gordon descended from the absolute heights of the rock world — playing with the most famous musicians of his generation — to working with a Santa Monica dive-bar band for $30 a night. And then he committed one of the most shocking crimes in rock history. Based on his trademark extensive, detailed research, Drums & Demons is at once an epic journey through an artist’s monumental musical contributions, a rollicking history of rock drumming, and a terrifying downward spiral into unimaginable madness that Gordon fought a valiant but losing battle against. One of the great untold stories of rock is finally being told.”

Teenage Wasteland: The Who at Winterland, 1968 & 1976
By Edoardo Genzolini

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In February 1968 and March 1976, The Who performed shows in the same venue: San Francisco’s Winterland. These two years represent a screen grab of the band taken in its purest form: Live and harder than ever, right before and right after the huge success The Who struggled to live with in the years between. Winterland was the perfect setting to see the band live in the city that welcomed them as a second home, San Francisco. At their first Winterland show in February 1968, just a few hundred hippies turn up. In March 1976, the venue was crammed to capacity — 5,000 tickets were sold. Still, as the Examiner noted, “The Who could have sold eight times as many,” since 43,000 requests for tickets were sent! This all-access look at those two shows is a glimpse of what it was like to see The Who at Bill Graham’s legendary concert venue, and features firsthand accounts and previously unpublished photos by fans at the shows, as well as details the band behind the scenes and onstage.”

Live from the Underground: A History of College Radio
By Katherine Rye Jewell

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Bands like R.E.M., U2, Public Enemy and Nirvana found success as darlings of college radio, but the extraordinary influence of these stations and their DJs on musical culture since the 1970s was anything but inevitable. As media deregulation and political conflict over obscenity and censorship transformed the business and politics of culture, students and community DJs turned to college radio to defy the mainstream — and they ended up disrupting popular music and commercial radio in the process. In this first history of US college radio, Katherine Rye Jewell reveals that these eclectic stations in major cities and college towns across the United States owed their collective cultural power to the politics of higher education as much as they did to upstart bohemian music scenes coast to coast. Jewell uncovers how battles to control college radio were about more than music — they were an influential, if unexpected, front in the nation’s culture wars. These battles created unintended consequences and overlooked contributions to popular culture that students, DJs, and listeners never anticipated. More than an ode to beloved stations, this book will resonate with both music fans and observers of the politics of culture.”

Unspooled: How the Cassette Made Music Shareable
By Rob Drew

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Well into the new millennium, the analog cassette tape continues to claw its way back from obsolescence. New cassette labels emerge from hipster enclaves while the cassette’s likeness pops up on T-shirts, coffee mugs, belt buckles, and cell phone cases. In Unspooled, Rob Drew traces how a lowly, hissy format that began life in office dictation machines and cheap portable players came to be regarded as a token of intimate expression through music and a source of cultural capital. Drawing on sources ranging from obscure music zines to transcripts of Congressional hearings, Drew examines a moment in the early 1980s when music industry representatives argued that the cassette encouraged piracy. At the same time, 1980s indie rock culture used the cassette as a symbol to define itself as an outsider community. Indie’s love affair with the cassette culminated in the mixtape, which advanced indie’s image as a gift economy. By telling the cassette’s long and winding history, Drew demonstrates that sharing cassettes became an acceptable and meaningful mode of communication that initiated rituals of independent music recording, re-recording, and gifting.”

Honesty Is No Excuse: Thin Lizzy On Record
By Martin Popoff

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Martin Popoff turns the microphone outward to an assembled panel of Thin Lizzy scholars and devotees. Together, the moderator and his brain trust deconstruct each of Thin Lizzy’s 12 studio albums and every single song inside of them. What emerges is a series of 12 substantive conversations, with theories proposed and debated, parts of songs pointed out and praised, and, repeatedly, punches not pulled. It’s likely that the most demanding of Thin Lizzy fans will come away with fresh perspectives on the band they hadn’t as of yet considered. And that’s the point of Popoff’s panel presentation — to send the devoted listener back to the sacred texts for a reminder of why he or she fell in love with Thin Lizzy in the first place.”

Oasis: Every Album, Every Song
By Andrew Rooney

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Dave Grohl once said of Oasis, ‘We’ve played shows with them before, where we play with them we think ‘That’s the greatest rock band I’ve ever seen in my life.’ The quality of the songs they were releasing, especially between 1994-1996, would seem to confirm that sentiment, with the quality of even their B-sides becoming the stuff of legend. Their second album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? would go on to become the best-selling album of the 1990s in the U.K. and all the while, it became impossible to open a newspaper or music magazine in the mid-1990s and not read about Oasis. From the time their debut album was released in 1994, the band’s climb to the top was one of the fastest in music history. Even their leader, Noel Gallagher, would say they should have split after their Knebworth 1996 concert. Yet when they walked off that stage in 1996, they still had over a decade left together, and, to the shock of some, many good songs left to write. Heavy on music and short on gossip, this is the story of all those songs; the life-changing anthems and the forgotten gems, the throwaways and the covers.”

The Zombies: Every Album, Every Song
By Emma Stott

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Most lauded for the gorgeously baroque Odessey and Oracle, and the ageless singles, She’s Not There and Time Of The Season, The Zombies’ were at the forefront of The British Invasion, recording music described by Tom Petty as ‘so original it hurt’. The Zombies: Every Album, Every Song voyages through every release, beginning with their first incarnation in the 1960s and uncovering how a U.S. No. 1 and a film appearance with Laurence Olivier were no guarantees of continued chart success. Poor publicity, unwise management and bad timing almost killed off the band; yet sublime songwriting and a lucky break with Al Kooper reanimated them… This book recounts their many afterlives; the story behind the ‘counterfeit’ Zombies; their first reunion album New World; and considers how their later version has sustained success more than the original lineup. Drawing on both archive interviews and new conversations with Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone to mark the release of The Zombies’ latest album — the critically acclaimed Different Game — this book proves why The Zombies not only have an immortal back catalogue but are also still making vital music today.”

The Carpenters: Every Album, Every Song
By Paul Tornbohm

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The brother and sister team of Karen and Richard Carpenter rank as one of the most successful acts in pop music history. Between the first Carpenters album released in 1969 and their final studio album together in 1981, they achieved three Grammy Awards, 18 hits in the U.S. Top 20 (and 10 in the U.K.) and multiple platinum discs, leading to eventual sales of over 100 million copies worldwide. Although the group’s career was brought to a tragic and premature end by the untimely death of Karen in 1983, they remain a much-loved band that continue to attract new fans. The Carpenters crafted their own distinctive sound with multi-part harmonies and lush arrangements, providing a rich backdrop for the distinctive sound of Karen’s vocals. In addition to being a gifted interpreter of songs, Karen was also passionate about playing the drums, with Richard’s talents extending to keyboards, singing, composing, arranging and producing. This book explores the background to each of their studio albums and classic singles, as well as their solo recordings, live albums and compilations of rare tracks. From their earliest recordings in a jazz trio through to Richard’s reinterpretations of their best-known songs with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and as a solo pianist, this appraisal looks at over 55 years of Carpenters releases.”

Elvis Presley: The Biography of the Legendary King of Rock and Roll
By United Library

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Step into the extraordinary life and legacy of Elvis Aaron Presley, the undisputed King of Rock and Roll, in this comprehensive exploration of his iconic career and cultural impact. Born on Jan. 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Miss., Elvis’s journey from a small-town upbringing to global stardom is a testament to his unparalleled influence on the 20th century. Delve into the early days of Presley’s music career, ignited in 1954 at Sun Records under the guidance of producer Sam Phillips. With his classic quartet featuring guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley pioneered rockabilly, a dynamic fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. His breakout single Heartbreak Hotel, released in 1956, quickly soared to No. 1, marking the beginning of a musical revolution. Despite initial controversy surrounding his performative style and the integration of African-American influences, Presley’s success skyrocketed with chart-topping records and electrifying television appearances. Explore his transition to Hollywood, where he starred in films like Jailhouse Rock, Blue Hawaii and Viva Las Vegas. Witness his triumphant return to the stage in the 1968 television comeback special, leading to a Las Vegas residency and global tours. However, Presley’s health took a toll due to prescription drug abuse and unhealthy habits, culminating in his sudden death at Graceland estate in 1977, leaving behind an enduring legacy. With approximately 500 million records sold worldwide and a multitude of records and awards, Presley’s impact on music and pop culture remains unparalleled.”