Book picks similar to
A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston by Robyn Crawford
Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed
Smokey Robinson - 2020
His career is filled with so many “he was there” moments it’s a wonder he doesn’t recall them with the swagger of a conquering hero: songwriting and singing as a teenager in Detroit; co-founding Motown Records with Berry Gordy; creating 26 Top 40 hits with his group The Miracles; helping to spark racial integration of popular music in the 1960s; discovering hitmakers like Diana Ross and the Supremes; penning tunes for a jaw-droppingly diverse group of artists including Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, The Jackson Five, Kim Carnes, Linda Ronstadt; and releasing smash hits as solo artist well into the 1980s.But surprisingly, and delightfully, Robinson is as awed by his success as we are listening to him describe it. He guides us through his extraordinary career with the same giddy sense of discovery and delight that music fans recall the first time they heard one of his infectious tunes.He takes us back to his group’s first, disastrous performance at the Apollo Theater, opening for a brilliant and generous Ray Charles. He describes daily life at the famed Hitsville studio in Detroit, where a young Diana Ross or Martha Reeves could be found working as the receptionist. He shares his pride in being an influence on the Beatles and hearing his songs on their album - a transforming moment for the Motown sound. “I ain't never heard no popular white boys say anything like that ever. For them to come out and tell the world? They were my guys from then on.”And, of course, he takes us inside his songs. He describes where he was - shaving in the mirror at home - when “The Tracks of My Tears” finally came together. He remembers taking the wheel on the last 150 miles back to Detroit after a tour, humming the melody that would become the Temptations hit “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” He recalls being floored by the way a 10-year-old Michael Jackson brought a depth and soul to “Who’s Loving You.” And he explains where the term “Quiet Storm” originated, a song title that went on to become an entire musical genre.It’s a journey Robinson revisits with a grateful, humble heart. He has no agenda to push, no axes to grind, no scores to settle. He reflects on the ups as well as downs, and looks back with appreciation for the people who put love in his life. That makes listening a distinct pleasure: You get to spend time with a hugely influential artist who is warm, upbeat, and proud to have built a life and career through his art.
On Time: A Princely Life in Funk
Morris Day - 2019
In On Time, the renowned funkster looks back on a life of turbulence and triumph. He chronicles his creative process with an explosive prose that mirrors his intoxicating music. Morris' story is a fast-paced page-turner replete with unexpected twists and shocking surprises. A major and fascinating theme is his lifelong friendship and years of musical partnership with Prince, from their early days on the Minneapolis scene to selling out stadiums and duking it out as rivals in Purple Rain. Eventually, Morris went on to release four albums with a new band of his very own, the legendary Time. He battled his addictions and came out victorious. But not before increasing tensions and embittered rivalry between Prince and the Revolution and Morris Day and the Time led the two performers towards separate paths. Through the years, the fierce brotherly love between Morris and Prince kept bringing them back together, over and over again -- until pride, ego, and circumstance interfered. Two months before Prince's untimely death, the two finally reconnected and started to make amends. But Morris could've never imagined it would be the last time he'd ever see his friend again.This is Morris Day's singular story in which the magic of music is the ultimate healer. On Time is also a deep meditation on friendship, Morris' poetic method of reconciling the loss of his close friend and longtime collaborator, and a way to commemorate an incendiary life cut short. But this book is more than just a walk down memory lane -- it's a metaphorical means to bring Prince back to life. Throughout the narrative, Morris allows Prince's "voice" to protect his own legacy, to counter Morris's interpretations of events, and to essentially breathe new life into a tale as old as time -- of two brothers, two bands, and a musical culture that even today pulsates with fresh energy.
My Life with Earth, Wind, & Fire
Maurice White - 2016
With an introduction by Steve Harvey and a foreword by David Foster."To the readers of this book you need to know that EW&F is simply the greatest living group in my lifetime. No one put together lyrics to a melody like they did; no one put harmony to sound and rhythm like they did; no one added horns in the way that they did and no one, but no one messed with our minds about love and life like they did. . . . EARTH because they grow on you; WIND because it moves you in one loving direction and FIRE because they consume your heart in a single flame of love."—Steve HarveyWith its dynamic horns, contrasting vocals, and vivid stage shows, Earth, Wind & Fire was one of the most popular acts of the late twentieth century—the band "that changed the sound of black pop" (Rolling Stone)—and its music continues to inspire modern artists including Usher, Jay-Z, Cee-Lo Green, and Outkast. At last, the band’s founder, Maurice White, shares the story of his success.White reflects on the great blessings music has brought to his life and the struggles he’s endured: his mother leaving him behind in Memphis when he was four; learning to play the drums with Booker T. Jones; moving to Chicago at eighteen and later Los Angeles after leaving the Ramsey Lewis Trio; forming EWF, only to have the original group fall apart; working with Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond; his diagnosis of Parkinson’s; and his final public performance with the group at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Through it all, White credits his faith for his amazing success and guidance in overcoming his many challenges.My Life with Earth Wind, and Fire is an intimate, moving, and beautiful memoir from a man whose creativity and determination carried him to great success, and whose faith enabled him to savor every moment.
Billy Ray Cyrus - 2012
He’s also father of Miley Cyrus, one of Hollywood’s most successful young stars, who grew up on stage and on screen, most famously as the lead on the Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana,” where Billy Ray Cyrus played her father. But sometimes the truth is even better than fiction. Now, for the first time, fans can read about Cyrus’s tenacious and inspiring struggle to find his own way to faith, family, and the power of music.Hillbilly Heart opens during Cyrus’s turbulent childhood in Kentucky, where he sought refuge in music and sports after his parents’ divorce. He was a troublemaker in training, known more for pulling pranks than for following in his preacher grandfather’s much-vaunted footsteps. But when he heard a voice telling him to get a left-handed guitar and start a band, this rebel found his cause. Ten years later, after tirelessly working the club circuit and knocking on the closed doors of music executives from Nashville to Los Angeles, Cyrus finally made a stratospheric breakthrough, becoming a multi-platinum selling artist and taking his rock-and-roll twist on country music to the world’s stage. Cyrus fans have always been able to piece together the details of his life through his lyrics—the ups and downs, adventures and disappointments—but Hillbilly Heart gives them a front row seat for his most candid performance ever.
The Emperor of Sound: A Memoir
Timbaland - 2015
An artist whose fans are multi-racial and multi-generational, Timbaland works with the hottest artists, from Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott to Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, Madonna, and his childhood friend, Pharrell Williams. Yet this celebrity is a uniquely private man who shuns parties, stays out of gossip columns, and rarely gives interviews. Deliberately choosing to tour by bus and conspicuously bling-free, he maintains a low-key lifestyle. If he’s not at the recording studio, he is at home with his family.In The Emperor of Sound, Timbaland offers fans an unprecedented look into his life and work. Completely uncensored and totally honest, he reveals the magic behind the music, sharing the various creative impulses that arise while he’s producing, and the layering of sounds that have created dozens of number one hits. Cinematically written, full of revealing anecdotes and reflections from today’s most popular music icons, The Emperor of Sound showcases this master’s artistry and offers an extraordinary glimpse inside this great musical mind.
Yes I Can
Sammy Davis Jr. - 1965
published his autobiography in 1965, it was an immediate long-running bestseller as well as a revelation. Yes I Can describes Sammy Davis's personal conviction, the view of success that both propelled him to stardom from ghetto obscurity and served as his armor against racism.
When I Left Home: My Story
Buddy Guy - 2012
An enormous influence on these musicians as well as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck, he is the living embodiment of Chicago blues. Guy's epic story stands at the absolute nexus of modern blues. He came to Chicago from rural Louisiana in the fifties—the very moment when urban blues were electrifying our culture. He was a regular session player at Chess Records. Willie Dixon was his mentor. He was a sideman in the bands of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. He and Junior Wells formed a band of their own. In the sixties, he became a recording star in his own right.When I Left Home tells Guy's picaresque story in his own unique voice, that of a storyteller who remembers everything, including blues masters in their prime and the exploding, evolving culture of music that happened all around him.
Hitman: Forty Years Making Music, Topping the Charts, and Winning Grammys
David Foster - 2008
In this compelling and outspoken memoir, Foster shares some of his incredible stories: the first time he met Barbra Streisand, as a young session player in Los Angeles; his first of 15 Grammys® for "After the Love Has Gone," Earth, Wind & Fire's memorable hit; the making of Unison, Celine Dion's English-language debut; the challenges he faced on his way to putting the group Chicago back on the charts; his award-winning contribution to Unforgettable: With Love, Natalie Cole's comeback album; those back-to-back recording sessions with Madonna and Michael Jackson; and the incredible chain of events that spawned Whitney Houston's historic blockbuster, "I Will Always Love You." Foster has worked with superstars of every decade, including: Celine Dion - Josh Groban - Whitney Houston - Michael Bublé - Barbra Streisand - Andrea Bocelli - Madonna - Michael Jackson - Natalie Cole - George Harrison - Earth, Wind & Fire - *NSYNC - Chicago - Paul McCartney - All-4-One - Katharine McPhee - Toni Braxton - Alice Cooper - Olivia Newton-John - Michael Bolton ...and many more. From his unique and privileged vantage point, Foster describes the delicate balancing act between artist and producer, offers revealing portraits of some of those artists at work, and shares his secrets for success in the maddeningly fickle music industry. At its heart, this is the story of a boy with perfect pitch who grew up to become one of the most influential musical forces of our time -- the solid gold hitman who produced the soundtrack of our lives.
Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy
Mike Love - 2016
The Beach Boys, from their California roots to their international fame, are a unique American story -- one of overnight success and age-defying longevity; of musical genius and reckless self-destruction; of spirituality, betrayal, and forgiveness -- and Love is the only band member to be part of it each and every step. His own story has never been fully told, of how a sheet-metal apprentice became the quintessential front man for America's most successful rock band, singing in more than 5,600 concerts in 26 countries.Love describes the stories behind his lyrics for pop classics such as "Good Vibrations," "California Girls," "Surfin' USA," and "Kokomo," while providing vivid portraits of the turbulent lives of his three gifted cousins, Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson. His partnership with Brian has few equals in American pop music, though Mike has carved out a legacy of his own -- he co-wrote the lyrics to eleven of the twelve original Beach Boy songs that were top 10 hits while providing the lead vocals on ten of them. The band's unprecedented durability also provides a glimpse into America's changing cultural mores over the past half century, while Love himself has experienced both the diabolical and the divine -- from Charles Manson's "family" threatening his life to Maharishi instilling it with peace. A husband, a father, and an avid environmentalist, Love has written a book that is as rich and layered as the Beach Boy harmonies themselves.
The Wind in the Reeds
Wendell Pierce - 2015
On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina barreled into New Orleans, devastating many of the city's neighborhoods, including Pontchartrain Park, the home of Wendell Pierce's family and the first African American middle-class subdivision in New Orleans. The hurricane breached many of the city's levees, and the resulting flooding submerged Pontchartrain Park under as much as 20 feet of water. Katrina left New Orleans later that day, but for the next three days the water kept relentlessly gushing into the city, plunging eighty percent of New Orleans under water. Nearly 1,500 people were killed. Half the houses in the city had four feet of water in them--or more. There was no electricity or clean water in the city; looting and the breakdown of civil order soon followed. Tens of thousands of New Orleanians were stranded in the city, with no way out; many more evacuees were displaced, with no way back in. Pierce and his family were some of the lucky ones: They survived and were able to ride out the storm at a relative's house 70 miles away. When they were finally allowed to return, they found their family home in tatters, their neighborhood decimated. Heartbroken but resilient, Pierce vowed to help rebuild, and not just his family's home, but all of Pontchartrain Park. In this powerful and redemptive narrative, Pierce brings together the stories of his family, his city, and his history, why they are all worth saving and the critical importance art played in reuniting and revitalizing this unique American city.
Cynthia Lennon - 2005
There is so much that I have never said, so many incidents I have never spoken of and so many feelings I have never expressed: great love on one hand; pain, torment, and humiliation on the other. Only I know what really happened between us, why we stayed together, why we parted, and the price I have paid for being John’s wife. —From the Introduction
Every Little Step: My Story
Bobby Brown - 2016
In MY PREROGATIVE, Brown will for the first time tell the full story of his life and set the record straight, particularly about his relationship with Whitney Houston.Bobby Brown has been one of the most compelling American artists of the past 30 years, a magnetic and talented figure who successfully crossed over many musical genres, including R&B and hip hop, as well as the mainstream. In the late 1980s, the former front man of New Edition had a wildly successful solo career-especially with the launch of DON'T BE CRUEL-garnering multiple hits on the Billboard top ten list, as well as several Grammy, American Music, and Soul Train awards. But Brown put his career on hold to be with the woman he loved-American music royalty Whitney Houston. The marriage between Brown and Houston was perhaps the most closely watched and talked about marriage of the 1990's-a pairing that obsessed the public and the gossip industry. Now, for the first time, the world will be able to hear the truth from the mouth of America's "bad boy" himself. Raw and powerful, MY PREROGATIVE is the story of a man who has been on the top of the mountain and in the depths of the valley and who is now finally ready to talk about his career and family life, from the passion and the excess to his creative inspirations and massive musical success.On the process of writing this book, Bobby says, "Right after I signed on to write my story, I went through one of the most agonizing traumas I had ever experienced with the death of my daughter. But I was surprised by how therapeutic it was to work on this project, to look at the entire arc of my life and to realize that although there has been considerable pain, I have also been incredibly blessed. I hope my fans and other readers of this book will be entertained by this trip into the crazy, exciting, fascinating world of Bobby Brown. And I hope they will feel that I have been as honest and open with them in these pages as I have tried to be my entire life."
Steve Jones - 2016
And without Steve Jones there would be no Sex Pistols. It was Steve who formed Kutie Jones and his Sex Pistols, the band that eventually went on to become the Sex Pistols, with his schoolmate Paul Cook and who was its original leader. As the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of Punk – the influence and cultural significance of which is still felt in music, fashion and the visual arts to this day – Steve tells his story for the very first time. Steve’s modern Dickensian tale begins in the streets of Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush, West London, where as a lonely, neglected boy living off his wits and his petty thievery, he is given purpose by the glam art rock of David Bowie and Roxy Music and becomes one of the first generation of ragamuffin punks taken under the wings of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. For the very first time Steve describes the sadness of never knowing his dad, the neglect and abuse he suffered at the hands of his step father, and how his interest in music and fashion saved him from a potential life of crime spent in remand centres and prison. From the Kings Road of the early seventies, through the years of the Sex Pistols, Punk Rock and the recording of Never Mind the Bollocks (ranked number 41 in Rolling Stone magazine’s Best Albums of All Time), to his self-imposed exile in New York and Los Angeles where he battled with alcohol, heroin and sex addiction – caught in a cycle of rehab and relapse – Lonely Boy, written with music journalist and author Ben Thompson, is the story of an unlikely guitar hero who, with the Sex Pistols, changed history.Publication coincides with the 40th anniversary of the release of the Sex Pistols first record, ‘Anarchy in the UK’, and of Steve’s infamous confrontation on Bill Grundy’s Today programme – that interview ushered in the ‘Filth and the Fury’ headlines that catapulted Punk into the national consciousness.