Check out some of these newly catalogued books on popular music, including the long-awaited biographies of Roger Waters and Jimmy Webb. Also featured is The origins of cool in postwar America, a unique study of the history of ‘cool’, which provides a fascinating read.
The decibel diaries : a journey through rock in 50 concerts / Carter Alan.
“Sometimes a rock concert is more than just an event. Every so often a band’s performance becomes a musical milestone, a cultural watershed, a political statement, and a personal apotheosis. On any given night a rock concert can tell the truth about who we are, where we are, and what’s going on in music and life right now. In The Decibel Diaries, Carter Alan, longtime DJ and music director at WZLX in Boston, chronicles a lifetime in rock with a tour through fifty concerts. Taken together, The Decibel Diaries is a visceral and visionary portrait of nearly fifty years of rock ‘n’ roll.” (Syndetics summary)
Roger Waters : the man behind The Wall / Dave Thompson.
“Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall is the first full biography of the author of The Dark Side of the Moon , Wish You Were Here , and, of course, The Wall . It traces his life from war-torn suburbia to the multitude of wars he has fought since then with his bandmates, with his audience, and most of all with himself. Packed with insight and exclusive interviews with friends and associates, Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall dismantles the wall brick by brick, revealing the man who built it in all his glory.” (Syndetics summary)
The most beautiful : my life with Prince / Mayte Garcia.
“At the one-year anniversary of his death, legendary musician Prince’s first wife shares a uniquely intimate, candid, and revelatory look inside the personal and professional life of one of the world’s most beloved icons. No one else can tell this story or can provide a deeper, more nuanced portrait of Prince–both the famously private man and the pioneering, beloved artist–than Mayte, his partner during some of the most pivotal personal and professional years of his career. The Most Beautiful is a book that will be returned to for decades, as Prince’s music lives on with generations to come.” (Syndetics summary)
The cake and the rain / Jimmy Webb.
“Jimmy Webb’s words have been sung to his music by a rich and deep roster of pop artists, including Glen Campbell, Art Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Donna Summer and Linda Ronstadt. He’s the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration, and his chart-topping career has, so far, lasted fifty years, most recently with a Kanye West rap hit and a new classical nocturne. Now, in his first memoir, Webb delivers a snapshot of his life from 1955 to 1970, from simple and sere Oklahoma to fast and fantastical Los Angeles, from the crucible of his family to the top of his longed-for profession.” (Syndetics summary)
Otis Redding : an unfinished life / Jonathan Gould.
“The long-awaited, definitive biography of The King of Soul, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Redding’s iconic performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. In Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life, Jonathan Gould finally does justice to Redding’s incomparable musical artistry, drawing on exhaustive research, the cooperation of the Redding family, and previously unavailable sources of information to present the first comprehensive portrait of the singer’s background, his upbringing, and his professional career.” (Syndetics summary)
Talking guitar : conversations with musicians who shaped twentieth-century American music / Jas Obrecht.
“In this lively collection of interviews, storied music writer Jas Obrecht presents a celebration of the world’s most popular instrument as seen through the words, lives, and artistry of some of its most beloved players. Readers will read–and hear–accounts of the first guitarists on record, pioneering bluesmen, gospel greats, jazz innovators, country pickers, rocking rebels, psychedelic shape-shifters, singer-songwriters, and other movers and shakers.” (Syndetics summary)
Grown-up anger : the connected mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet massacre of 1913 / Daniel Wolff.
“A tour de force of storytelling years in the making: a dual biography of two of the greatest songwriters, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, that is also a murder mystery and a history of labor relations and socialism, big business and greed in twentieth-century America–woven together in one epic saga that holds meaning for all working Americans today. In this magnificent cultural study, Wolff braids three disparate strands–Calumet, Guthrie, and Dylan–together to create a devastating revisionist history of twentieth-century America.” (Syndetics summary)
The poetry of pop / Adam Bradley.
“Encompassing a century of recorded music, this pathbreaking book reveals the poetic artistry of popular songs. Pop songs are music first. They also comprise the most widely disseminated poetic expression of our time. Adam Bradley traces the song lyric across musical genres from early twentieth-century Delta blues to mid-century rock ‘n’ roll to today’s hits. Bradley shows that pop music is a poetry that must be heard more than read, uncovering the rhythms, rhymes, and metaphors expressed in the singing voice and this book illustrates how words and music come together to produce compelling poetry, often where we least expect it.” (Syndetics summary)
Meet me in the bathroom : rebirth and rock and roll in New York City, 2001-2011 / Lizzy Goodman.
“Meet Me in the Bathroom charts the transformation of the New York music scene in the first decade of the 2000s, the bands behind it–including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend–and the cultural forces that shaped it, from the Internet to a booming real estate market that forced artists out of the Lower East Side to Williamsburg. Journalist Lizzy Goodman offers a fascinating portrait of a time and a place that gave birth to a new era in modern rock-and-roll.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The origins of cool in postwar America / Joel Dinerstein.
“Cool. It was a new word and a new way to be , and in a single generation, it became the supreme compliment of American culture. The Origins of Cool in Postwar America uncovers the hidden history of this concept and its new set of codes that came to define a global attitude and style. As Joel Dinerstein reveals in this dynamic book, cool began as a stylish defiance of racism, a challenge to suppressed sexuality, a philosophy of individual rebellion, and a youthful search for social change. Dinerstein reveals that they came together to create something completely new–and that something is cool .” (Syndetics summary)