She won the Grammy at the age of 17, and her biography has already arrived! This month’s new books on popular music are all about stars, including our awesome Lorde, Leonard Cohen, and Muse. The story about Jon Ronson, who was FRANK of the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band, offers intriguing insight to this unique and bizarre band and the time, which became the movie, Frank. Check them out!
Lorde : your heroine / Marc Shapiro.
The unauthorised biography of the New Zealand teen superstar, Lorde by a New York Times bestselling author. New Zealander newcomer Lorde reached the top of the modern rock/alternative and rock albums charts, and the lead single ‘Royals’ won the 2014 Grammy Award for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.(Syndetics summary)
A broken hallelujah : rock and roll, redemption, and the life of Leonard Cohen / Liel Leibovitz.
“Leibovitz presents a thoughtful examination of the music of Leonard Cohen, the elegant Canadian wordsmith and musician, through a strong Jewish perspective. Tellingly, Leibovitz calls Cohen a prophet. He examines the musician’s life and work through the angles of Jewish eschatology, Zen Buddhism, Canadian poetry, and American rock and roll, as well as lust and lucre. Yes, there are biographical details here, but A Broken Hallelujah offers something else: a finely etched musical portrait of a complicated man both highly spiritual and sensual and the often exquisite music that he has created over many decades, austere and melancholy songs that dare to find beauty amid ugliness.” (adapted from Booklist)
Bathed in lightning : John McLaughlin, the 60s, and the emerald beyond / Colin Harper.
“On February 16 1969, John McLaughlin flew into New York, from London, in a snowstorm. The following day, Miles Davis, his hero, invited him to play on a record. Two years later, on the path of Bengali mystic Sri Chinmoy, John launched The Mahavishnu Orchestra-an evocation in music of spiritual aspiration and extraordinary power, volume and complexity, far beyond anything else in jazz or rock. Drawing on dozens of exclusive interviews and many months of meticulous research, author and music historian Colin Harper brings that unrepeatable era vividly to life.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)
Nirvana : in the words of the people who were there / Carrie Borzillo.
“Written by a leading journalist, it’s as near as possible to a day-by-day log of every significant event from the band’s inception right through to Kurt Cobain’s tragic early death. Spawned in the intensely fertile music scene that blossomed in and around Seattle in the late 1980s, Nirvana instantly distinguished itself by virtue of the singular passion that drove its leader, Kurt Cobain. The singer was imbued with incredible personal magnetism, as well as an uncommon gift for articulating the chaotic emotions of what has been called a lost generation, but his extreme distaste for the attention attracted by those talents proved overwhelming.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)
The Dylanologists : adventures in the land of Bob / David Kinney.
“Since he stumbled upon Dylan’s Biograph album as a teenager long after the album came out, Kinney has been consumed with the enigmatic bard from Hibbing, Minn. He eventually discovers he’s not alone in this fixation and uncovers an “entire nation of unreformed obsessives” like himself who are so fanatical about knowing more about Dylan that they collect bootleg tapes, travel on pilgrimages to Hibbing, and even dig through Dylan’s garbage in search of clues that will reveal his identity. Kinney chronicles some of the reasons that they can’t get Dylan’s voice and music out of their heads, hearts, and homes. They discover over and over just why Dylan’s music means so much to them.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)
Frank : the true story that inspired the movie / by Jon Ronson.
“In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong. Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank is set for release in 2014, starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson and directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie is a memoir of funny, sad times and a tribute to outsider artists too wonderfully strange to ever make it in the mainstream.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)
Out of this world : the story of Muse / by Mark Beaumont.
“From a battle of the bands contest in Teignmouth to the first band ever to sell out the new Wembley Stadium, the story of Muse’s stratospheric rise is one of UK rock’s most fascinating and incendiary tales.”(Syndetics summary)
I never met a story I didn’t like : mostly true tall tales / Todd Snider.
“For years, Todd Snider has been one of the most beloved country-folk singers in the United States, compared to Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, John Prine, and dozens of others. He’s become not only a new-century Dylan but a modern-day Will Rogers, an everyman whose intelligence, self-deprecation, experience, and sense of humor make him a uniquely American character. In live performance, Snider’s monologues are cheered as much as his songs. Running the gamut from personal memoir to shaggy-dog comedy to rueful memories of his troubles and triumphs with drugs and alcohol to sharp-eyed observations from years on the road, I Never Met a Story I Didn’t Like is for fans of Snider’s music, but also for fans of America itself.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)
I’m talking / Kate Ceberano.
“In her own unmistakable voice, Kate Ceberano takes us on a very personal journey from her surburban childhood, her immersion in the Melbourne club scene of the eighties and her rise to stardom at the age of fourteen when she fronted the wildly popular funk band I’m Talking, to the life of a female performer and recording artist in London, Los Angeles and New York. With parallel careers as a pop and jazz singer and songwriter, Kate has recieved the highest awards in the Australian music industry including the ARIA for Best Female Artist… and made a triumphant debut for Opera Australia in ‘South Pacific’. Now she reveals, for the first time, just what that was like.”(adapted from amazon.co.uk)
Remember the time : protecting Michael Jackson in his final days / Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, with Tanner Colby.
“While much is known about his life, very little is known about the “true” man. Although his former bodyguards Whitfield and Beard’s first-person vignettes provide little-known facts about Jackson, this title raises more questions than can be gleaned from their two-and-half-year security detail. Written with Tanner Colby, this book attempts to showcase Jackson’s “humanity” while leading the reader to speculate about those things that kept him imprisoned by paranoia and isolation. Whitfield and Beard present Jackson as a “normal eccentric” who craved stability and relationships while remaining distrustful of most; a childlike, doting father whose naivete in certain situations (e.g., finances) is both baffling and fascinating.” (adapted from Library Journal)