In Search of the Blues


Marybeth Hamilton - 2007
    Fierce, raw voices; tormented drifters; deals with the devil at the crossroads at midnight. In this extraordinary reconstruction of the origins of the Delta blues, historian Marybeth Hamilton demonstrates that the story as we know it is largely a myth. The idea of something called Delta blues only emerged in the mid-twentieth century, the culmination of a longstanding white fascination with the exotic mysteries of black music. Hamilton shows that the Delta blues was effectively invented by white pilgrims, seekers, and propagandists who headed deep into America’s south in search of an authentic black voice of rage and redemption. In their quest, and in the immense popularity of the music they championed, we confront America’s ongoing love affair with racial difference.

The History of Rock & Roll Volume II: 1964–1977: The Beatles, the Stones, and the Rise of Classic Rock


Ed Ward - 2019
    It begins with the question on everyone's mind: "Are you going to get a haircut in America?" and ends with a reporter tugging Paul McCartney's hair in an attempt to remove his nonexistent wig. This is where The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 2 kicks off. Chronicling the years 1964 through the mid-1970s, this latest volume covers one of the most exciting eras of rock history, which saw a massive outpouring of popular and cutting-edge music.Ward weaves together an unputdownable narrative told through colorful anecdotes and shares the behind-the-scenes stories of the megastars, the trailblazers, DJs, record executives, concert promoters, and producers who were at the forefront of this incredible period in music history. From Bob Dylan to Bill Graham, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Byrds, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, and more, everyone's favorite musicians of the era make an appearance in this sweeping history that reveals how the different players, sounds, and trends came together to create the music we all know and love today.

Elvis


Jerry Hopkins - 1971
    bestseller list, and its sequel was equally popular. Long out of print, both books, along with a wealth of exciting new interviews, are brought together in Elvis to form the most exhaustive account available of the King’s life. Telling the complete story of Presley’s rise and fall, from his poverty-stricken childhood in Tupelo through his musical development and emergence as pop’s first superstar to his decline and death, the book explores Presley’s singular appeal, his far-reaching influence, and his extraordinary legacy. Featuring newly published firsthand interviews with people close to Elvis — including high school teachers, girlfriends, directors, agents, recording engineers, bodyguards, sidemen, karate instructors, medical professionals, and even his personal jeweler — Elvis presents a comprehensive and amazingly intimate look at this cultural icon.

In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music


Nicholas Dawidoff - 1997
    In the Country of Country is a passionate and expansive account of a quintessentially American art form and the performers that made country music what it is today. Both deeply personal and endlessly evocative,  In the Country of Country pays tribute to the music that sprang from places like Maces Springs, Virginia, home of the Carter Family, and Bakersfield, California, where Buck Owens held sway. Bestselling author Nicholas Dawidoff takes readers to the back roads and country hollows that were home to Chet Atkins, Doc Watson, Emmylou Harris, and many more.

Springsteen on Springsteen: Interviews, Speeches, and Encounters


Jeff Burger - 2013
    No one is better qualified to talk about Springsteen than the man himself, and he’s often as articulate and provocative in interviews and speeches as he is emotive onstage and in recordings. While many rock artists seem to suffer through interviews, Springsteen has welcomed them as an opportunity to speak openly, thoughtfully, and in great detail about his music and life. This volume starts with his humble beginnings in 1973 as a struggling artist and follows him up to the present, as Springsteen has achieved almost unimaginable wealth and worldwide fame. Included are feature interviews with well-known media figures, including Charlie Rose, Ted Koppel, Brian Williams, Nick Hornby, and Ed Norton. Fans will also discover hidden gems from small and international outlets, in addition to radio and TV interviews that have not previously appeared in print. This collection is a must-have for any Springsteen fan.

Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues


Joel Selvin - 2014
    His heart damaged by rheumatic fever as a youth, Berns was not expected to live to see 21. Although his name is little remembered today, Berns worked alongside all the greats of the era—Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, Burt Bacharach, Phil Spector, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, anyone who was anyone in New York rhythm and blues. In seven quick years, he went from nobody to the top of the pops—producer of monumental r&b classics, songwriter of “Twist and Shout,” “My Girl Sloopy,” “Piece of My Heart,” and others.His fury to succeed led Berns to use his Mafia associations to muscle Atlantic Records out of their partnership and intimidate new talents like Neil Diamond and Van Morrison, whom he had signed to his record label. Berns died at age 38 from a long-expected heart attack, just when he was seeing his grandest plans and life’s ambitions frustrated and foiled.

Creem: America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine


Robert Matheu - 2007
    This title presents a retrospective of the beautiful haze that was rock's golden age, from the end of the hippies through glam and punk, and into 80's heavy metal.

Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross: (Updated and Expanded)


Craig Seymour - 2004
    Lynn Harris "...a sympathetic look at the most popular soul singer of his generation" - New York Daily News On July 1, 2005, the world lost one of the greatest R&B vocalists of all time, Luther Vandross. He left a legacy of some of the most enduring love songs of our age: “Here and Now,” “Superstar,” “If Only For One Night,” and “A House Is Not A Home.” The notoriously secretive star also left behind many questions such as the real-life inspiration behind all of those yearning love songs. The newly updated and expanded edition of Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross takes you deep inside the singer’s private world. It chronicles his underdog journey from the projects of New York City’s Lower East Side to the top of the charts, selling more than 20 million albums along the way. The book details Luther’s triumphs, as well as his struggles: his battle with weight; his feuds with Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, and En Vogue; the 1986 car accident that killed his best friend and nearly destroyed his career; and the rumors about his sexuality that followed him throughout his life. The book offers specific new details about Luther’s love life that will help illuminate the private pain of the man who brought the world so much joy.

Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music


Ted Gioia - 2008
    With original research and keen insights, Ted Gioia—the author of a landmark study of West Coast jazz and the critically acclaimed The History of Jazz—brings to life the stirring music of the Delta, evoking the legendary figures who shaped its sound and ethos: Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, B. B. King, and others. Tracing the history of the Delta blues from the field hollers and plantation music of the nineteenth century to the exploits of modern-day musicians in the Delta tradition, Delta Blues tells the full story of this timeless and unforgettable music. No cultural force boasts such humble origins or such world-conquering reverberations. In this evocative rags-to-riches tale, Gioia shows how the sounds of the Delta altered the course of popular music in America and in the world beyond.

Boogie Man: The Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century


Charles Shaar Murray - 1999
    Acclaimed writer Charles Schaar Murray's Boogie Man is the authorized and authoritative biography of this musician whose extraordinary career spanned over fifty years and included over one-hundred albums and five Grammy Awards. Murray was given unparalleled access to Hooker, and lets him tell his own story in his own words, from life in the Deep South to San Francisco, from the 1948 blues anthem "Boogie Chillen" to the Grammy-winning album The Healer nearly a half-century later. Boogie Man is far more than merely a brilliant biography of one man; it also gives the story of the music that inspired him. "When I die," Hooker said, they'll bury the blues with me. But the blues will never die." Here is the book that does him and his music full justice.

There's A Riot Going On: Revolutionaries, Rock Stars, and the Rise and Fall of '60s Counter-Culture


Peter Doggett - 2007
    While the Vietnam War raged, calls for black power grew louder and liberation movements erupted everywhere from Africa to Western Europe.Demonstrators took to the streets, fought gun battles with police, planted bombs in public buildings and attempted to overthrow the world's most powerful governments.Rock and soul music fuelled the revolutionary movement with anthems and iconic imagery. Soon the musicians themselves, from John Lennon and Bob Dylan to James Brown and Fela Kuti, were being dragged into the fray. Some joined the protestors on the barricades; some were persecuted for their political activism; some abandoned the cause and were dismissed as counter-revolutionaries.This collision of radical fervour and musical passion touched every facet of the revolution.Peace campaigners, feminists, black liberationists, anarchists and urban terrorists joined hands with many of the most important figures in black and white music to create a revolutionary tide that threatened to alter the face of global politics, before ebbing away under the pressure of government harassment and rampant egotism.

The Nation's Favourite


Simon Garfield - 1999
    Matthew Bannister said he was going to reinvent the station, the most popular in Europe. But things didn't go exactly to plan. The station lost millions of listeners. Its most famous DJs left, and their replacements proved to be disasters. Radio 1's commercial rivals regarded the internal turmoil with glee. For a while a saviour arrived, in the shape of Chris Evans. But his behaviour caused further upheavals, and his eventual departure provoked another mass desertion by listeners. What was to be done? In the middle of this crisis, Radio 1 bravely (or foolishly) allowed the writer Simon Garfield to observe its workings from the inside. For a year he was allowed unprecedented access to management meetings and to DJs in their studios, to research briefings and playlist conferences. Everyone interviewed spoke in passionate detail about their struggle to make their station credible and successful once more. The result is a gripping and often hilarious portrait a much loved national institution as it battles back from the brink of calamity.

A Fabulous Creation: How the LP Saved Our Lives


David Hepworth - 2019
    Henceforth, everybody else wanted to Make An Album. The end came only fifteen years later, coinciding with the release of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. By then the Walkman had taken music out of the home and into the streets and the record business had begun trying to reverse-engineer the creative process in order to make big money. Nobody would play music or listen to it in quite the same way ever again.It was a short but transformative time. Musicians became ‘artists’ and we, the people, patrons of the arts. The LP itself had been a mark of sophistication, a measure of wealth, an instrument of education, a poster saying things you dare not say yourself, a means of attracting the opposite sex, and, for many, the single most desirable object in their lives.This is the story of that time; it takes us from recording studios where musicians were doing things that had never been done before to the sparsely furnished apartments where their efforts would be received like visitations from a higher power. This is the story of how LPs saved our lives.

Preachin' the Blues: The Life & Times of Son House


Daniel Beaumont - 2011
    So begins Preachin' the Blues, the biography of American blues signer and guitarist Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. (1902 - 1988). House pioneered an innovative style, incorporating strong repetitive rhythms with elements of southern gospel and spiritual vocals. A seminal figure in the history of the Delta blues, he was an important, direct influence on such figures as Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. The landscape of Son House's life and the vicissitudes he endured make for an absorbing narrative, threaded through with a tension between House's religious beliefs and his spells of commitment to a lifestyle that implicitly rejected it. Drinking, womanizing, and singing the blues caused this tension that is palpable in his music, and becomes explicit in one of his finest performances, "Preachin' the Blues." Large parts of House's life are obscure, not least because his own accounts of them were inconsistent. Author Daniel Beaumont offers a chronology/topography of House's youth, taking into account evidence that conflicts sharply with the well-worn fable, and he illuminates the obscurity of House's two decades in Rochester, NY between his departure from Mississippi in the 1940s and his "rediscovery" by members of the Folk Revival Movement in 1964. Beaumont gives a detailed and perceptive account of House's primary musical legacy: his recordings for Paramount in 1930 and for the Library of Congress in 1941-42. In the course of his research Beaumont has unearthed not only connections among the many scattered facts and fictions but new information about a rumoured murder in Mississippi, and a charge of manslaughter on Long Island - incidents which bring tragic light upon House's lifelong struggles and self-imposed disappearance, and give trenchant meaning to the moving music of this early blues legend.

The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans


Ned Sublette - 2009
    By turns irreverent, joyous, darkly comic, passionate, and polemical, The Year Before the Flood juxtaposes the city’s crowded calendar of parties, festivals, and parades with the murderousness of its poverty and its legacy of racism. Along the way, Sublette opens up windows of American history that illuminate the present: the trajectory of Mardi Gras from pre–Civil War days, the falsification of Southern history in movies, the city’s importance to early rock and roll, the complicated story of its housing projects, the uniqueness of its hip-hop scene, and the celebratory magnificence of the participatory parades known as second lines. With a grand, unforgettable cast of musicians and barkeeps, scholars and thugs, vibrating with the sheer excitement of New Orleans, The Year Before the Flood is an affirmation of the power of the city’s culture and a heartbreaking tale of loss that definitively establishes Ned Sublette as a great American writer for the 21st century.