Mike Barnes – A New Day Yesterday

Author Mike Barnes’ vivid chronicle of prog rock in the late 60s and 70s is suitably epic and grandiose in both its scope and ambition. If A New Day Yesterday was an album, it would surely be a triple gatefold. The publishers just may have missed a trick by not commissioning Hipgnosis to design the cover. The phrase ‘progressive rock’, Barnes notes, was coined in … Continue reading Mike Barnes – A New Day Yesterday

Mike Edison – Sympathy For The Drummer

The ‘Why [insert musician’s name here] Matters’ book concept is gathering a head of steam, and this time it’s the turn of the Stones’ venerable drummer, Charlie Watts. His mate Keith has repeatedly declared, “No Charlie, No Stones” and author Mike Edison, also a drummer, has taken it upon himself to back up that claim. For five decades, Charlie has had the best seat in … Continue reading Mike Edison – Sympathy For The Drummer

Nick Mason, Peter Hook et al – Classic Albums By Women

This well-designed tome was initially inspired by #AlbumsByWomen, a social media campaign initiated by Classic Album Sundays in support of International Women’s Day in 2018. At the outset, collaborators were encouraged to submit a photo and a mini-critique of, yep, you guessed it, their favourite classic album involving a woman. The response was positive, and so the social media campaign eventually morphed into this compelling … Continue reading Nick Mason, Peter Hook et al – Classic Albums By Women

Graham Duff – Foreground Music

Prolific UK comedy screenwriter and script doctor Graham Duff (he wrote Johnny Vegas vehicle Ideal) has been going to gigs for over 40 years, and each chapter heading of his excellent memoir is dedicated to a gig that left an enduring impression on him. From a ‘shit’ Cliff Richard concert at King George’s Hall in Blackburn, aged 10, to a momentous one watching personal favourites … Continue reading Graham Duff – Foreground Music

Holly George-Warren – Janis: Her Life And Music

Janis Lyn Joplin’s journey from a middle-class girl in the conservative city of Port Arthur, Texas to the very embodiment of the 60s counterculture is wonderfully well chronicled by seasoned biographer Holly George-Warren. As a youngster, Joplin was bullied for being different to the other girls, but as she got older those differences were celebrated, especially in San Francisco, where she was adopted as the … Continue reading Holly George-Warren – Janis: Her Life And Music

Booker T Jones – Time Is Tight, My Life Note By Note

Cricket lovers of a certain vintage will instantly recall Booker T.’s music from the track Soul Limbo, the BBC’s go-to theme tune for their coverage of the sport for many a year. While the great man barely mentions the sound of leather on willow in his much-awaited autobiography, the longevity of his career in music means he has an anecdote or two to go in … Continue reading Booker T Jones – Time Is Tight, My Life Note By Note

John O’Connell – Bowie’s Bookshelf

To coincide with his remarkable retrospective at the V&A in 2013, voracious reader David Bowie released a fascinating list of 100 books that he regarded as the “most important and influential” to him as an artist (as opposed to a catalogue of his personal favourites). Subtitled The Hundred Literary Heroes Who Changed His Life, experienced writer John O’Connell has cleverly run with this list and … Continue reading John O’Connell – Bowie’s Bookshelf

Lou Reed – I’ll Be Your Mirror

In the pantheon of rock’s greatest lyricists Lou Reed is right up there (though lagging behind Dylan, like everybody else). As a clearly impressed D. Bowie, latterly of Beckenham, once stated: “He gave us the environment in which to put our more theatrical vision. He supplied us with the stretch and the landscape, and we peopled it.” Reed’s literate approach to lyric writing was shaped … Continue reading Lou Reed – I’ll Be Your Mirror

Brett Anderson – Afternoons With The Blinds Drawn

Suede’s Brett Anderson follows up on his excellent early-days memoir Coal Black Mornings with another revelatory dip into his life as a blouse-wearing rock star. This is the book he said he wouldn’t write, as he details the sudden rise and gradual decline of both his band and emotional well-being. A skilled and lyrical writer, Anderson not only recounts the band’s narrative from playing empty … Continue reading Brett Anderson – Afternoons With The Blinds Drawn

Campbell Devine – Rock’n’Roll Sweepstakes

Way back in 1974, the perma-permed Ian Hunter wrote Diary Of A Rock’N’Roll Star, a frank, intriguing diary of Mott The Hoople’s 1972 US tour. It’s a cool classic of the genre and now reads as an incredible period piece. Fast forward, and glam survivor Hunter is now the subject of a chunky authorised biography, of which Rock’N’Roll Sweepstakes is only the first volume. Hunter … Continue reading Campbell Devine – Rock’n’Roll Sweepstakes