5 New Music Biographies

born to run.jpg
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (27 Sep 2016)
‘Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.’ —Bruce Springsteen, from the pages of Born to Run
In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began. Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humour and originality found in his songs.
He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger and darkness that fuelled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as ‘The Big Bang’: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candour, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song ‘Born to Run’ reveals more than we previously realized.
  Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll. Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs (‘Thunder Road’, ‘Badlands’, ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’, ‘The River’, ‘Born in the U.S.A.’, ‘The Rising’, and ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’, to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.

lonelyboy
Lonely Boy by Steve Jones
(17 Nov 2016)
Without the Sex Pistols there would be no Punk. 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.

tranny
Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Famous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace
(24 Nov 2016)
“”If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman/ My mother once told me she would have named me Laura/ I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her.””-“The Ocean”
A searing account of her search for identity and true self, TRANNY reveals the struggles and victories that Laura Jane Grace, the lead singer of the cult punk rock band Against Me! experienced in her quest for gender transition.
Illuminated by Laura Jane’s never-before-published journal entries reaching back to childhood, TRANNY is an intensely personal and revelatory look inside her struggles with identity and addiction. Grappling with everything from sex, drugs, failed marriages, music, and soul of a punk rock star, this memoir paints a vivid portrait of one of the most revolutionary transgender icons of our time.

syd barrett
Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd: Dark Globe
(30 Nov 2016)
Syd Barrett was an art-school student when he founded Pink Floyd, with whom he served as vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter in the original line-up. Famous before his twentieth birthday, Barrett led the charge of psychedelia onstage at London s famed UFO club and his acid-inspired lyrics became a hallmark of London’s 1967 Summer of Love.
Improvisatory and whimsical, Zen-like and hard-living, Barrett pushed the boundaries of music into new realms of artistic expression while battling his inner-demons. This probing and comprehensive biography, a full ten years in the writing, features a wealth of interviews with Syd’s family, intimates, friends and band mates, providing an unvarnished look at Barrett’s life and work.
Author Julian Palacios authoritatively traces Barrett’s swift evolution from precocious youth to psychedelic rock star, examining both his wide-ranging inspirations and his influence on generations of musicians, and presenting an extensive overview of his musical, artistic and literary influences. A never-to-be forgotten casualty of the excess, innovation and idealism of the 1960s, Syd Barrett channeled the “gestalt” of the era and is one of the most heavily mythologized men in rock. “Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe” offers a rare portrayal of this unique spirit in flight and freefall.”

sinatra's century
Sinatra’s Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World by David Lehman
(1 Dec 2016)
In celebration of his one-hundredth birthday, a charming, irresistibly readable, and handsomely packaged look back at the life and times of the greatest entertainer in American history, Frank Sinatra.

Sinatra’s Century is an irresistible collection of one-hundred short reflections on the man, his music, and his larger-than-life story, by a lifetime fan who also happens to be one of the poetry world’s most prominent voices. David Lehman uses each of these short pieces to look back on a single facet of the entertainer’s story—from his childhood in Hoboken, to his emergence as “The Voice” in the 1940s, to the wild professional (and romantic) fluctuations that followed. Lehman offers new insights and revisits familiar stories—Sinatra’s dramatic love affairs with some of the most beautiful stars in Hollywood, including Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Ava Gardner; his fall from grace in the late 1940s and resurrection during the “Capitol Years” of the 1950s; his bonds with the rest of the Rat Pack; and his long tenure as the Chairman of the Board, viewed as the eminence grise of popular music inspiring generations of artists, from Bobby Darin to Bono to Bob Dylan.

Brimming with Lehman’s own lifelong affection for Sinatra, the book includes lists of unforgettable performances; engaging insight on what made Sinatra the model of American machismo—and the epitome of romance; and clear-eyed assessments of the foibles that impacted his life and work. Warm and enlightening, Sinatra’s Century is full-throated appreciation of Sinatra for every fan.

 

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