By Ray Connolly
What was it like to be Elvis Presley? What did it feel like when impossible fame made him its prisoner? As the world's first rock star there was no one to tell him what to expect, no one with whom he could share the burden of being himself - of being Elvis.On the outside he was all charm, sex appeal, outrageously confident on stage and stunningly gifted in the recording studio. To his fans he seemed to have it all. He was Elvis. With his voice and style influencing succeeding generations of musicians, he should have been free to sing any song he liked, to star in any film he was offered, and to tour in any country he chose. But he wasn't free. The circumstances of his poor beginnings in the American South, which, as he blended gospel music with black rhythm and blues and white country songs, helped him create rock and roll, had left him with a lifelong vulnerability. Made rich and famous beyond his wildest imaginings when he mortgaged his talent to the machinations of his manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker, there would be an inevitable price to pay. Though he daydreamed of becoming a serious film actor, instead he grew to despise his own movies and many of the songs he had to sing in them. He could have rebelled. But he didn't. Why? In the Seventies, as the hits rolled in again, and millions of fans saw him in a second career as he sang his way across America, he talked of wanting to tour the world. But he never did. What was stopping him?BEING ELVIS takes a clear-eyed look at the most-loved entertainer ever, and finds an unusual boy with a dazzling talent who grew up to change popular culture; a man who sold a billion records and had more hits than any other singer, but who became trapped by his own frailties in the loneliness of fame.
By Mick Wall
Prince was an icon. A man who defined an era of music and changed the shape of popular culture forever. There is no doubt that he was one of the most talented and influential artists of all time, and also one of the most mysterious. On 21st April 2016 the world lost its Prince; it was the day the music died.This book will open a door to Prince's world like never before - from his traumatic childhood and demonic pursuit of music as a means of escape, to his rise to superstardom, professional rivalries and marriages shrouded in tragedy, internationally bestselling music writer Mick Wall explores the historical, cultural and personal backdrop that gave rise to an artist the likes of which the world has never seen - and never will again.Mick, a lifelong Prince fan, was one of the first UK journalists to ever write about this enigmatic star, and it was his story that put Prince on the cover of Kerrang magazine in 1984 and inspired the biggest mailbag of letters the magazine has ever had. As Prince sang in '7', 'no one in the whole universe will ever compare', and this book is a shining tribute to the forever incomparable Prince.
Last of the Giants
By Mick Wall
Many millions of words have already been written about Guns N' Roses, the old line-up, the new line-up. But none of them have ever really gotten to the truth. Which is this: Guns N' Roses has always been a band out of time, the Last of the Giants. They are what every rock band since the Rolling Stones has tried and nearly always failed to be: dangerous. At a time when smiling, MTV-friendly, safe-sex, just-say-no Bon Jovi was the biggest band in the world, here was a band that seemed to have leapt straight out of the coke-smothered pages of the original, golden-age, late-sixties rock scene.'Live like a suicide', the band used to say when they all lived together in the Hell House, their notorious LA home. And this is where Mick Wall first met them, and became part of their inner circle, before famously being denounced by name by Axl Rose in the song 'Get in the Ring'.But this book isn't about settling old scores. Written with the clear head that 25 years later brings you, this is a celebration of Guns N' Roses the band, and of Axl Rose the frontman who really is that thing we so desperately want him to be: the last of the truly extraordinary, all-time great, no apologies, no explanations, no giving-a-shit rock stars. The last of his kind.
By Jo Berry
For all the Superwoman fans out there, this is the ultimate unofficial guide to Lilly Singh and Unicorn Island!Jam-packed with everything you need to be a part of Team Super, this book is filled with Lilly's top tips on dating, Superwoman motivation, YouTube, restyling your bedroom and getting Lilly's unique look with her hair and beauty tutorials.From her early life in Toronto to her world tour and life in LA, get to know Lilly's friends and collabs, her superheroes and her super rants like never before. From puzzles and challenges to Lilly's favourite catchphrases and her unicorn inspo for finding your happy place, this book is a must-have fan book for Superwomen everywhere!
The John Lennon Letters
By John Lennon, Hunter Davies
A lifetime of letters, collected for the first time, from the legendary The Beatles musician and songwriter John LennonJohn Lennon is one of the world's greatest-ever song writers, creator of 'Help!', 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', 'Imagine' and dozens more. Now, his letters have been collected and published, illuminating as never before the intimate side of a private genius.Hunter Davies, author of the only authorised biography of The Beatles, has tracked down almost three hundred of Lennon's letters and postcards - to relations, friends, fans, strangers, lovers and even to the laundry. Some of the letters are tender, informative, funny, angry and abusive, and some are simply heart-breaking - from his earliest surviving thank-you note, written when he was ten, to his last scribbled autograph given on 8 December 1980, the day he was shot, aged forty.
Getcha Rocks Off
By Mick Wall
Hanging out with rock stars, trying to steal their chicks, or throwing up over their guitars after launching into the hospitality a little too enthusiastically, Mick Wall spent much of the 1980s sprawled in limos and five-star hotels with the biggest rock bands in the world, including Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Mötley Crüe, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Van Halen, Motörhead and more. He was Kerrang! magazine's star writer and the presenter of Monsters of Rock, his own weekly show on Sky TV, and the decade passed in a blur of hard drugs, hot women, and some of the heaviest people your mother definitely would not like. Depicting a world where vague concepts like 'the future' are disdained in favour of nights that last a week and weeks that last forever, Getcha Rocks Off is a rock apocalypse Cider With Roadies, and a more frank and disturbing Apathy for the Devil. It is the kind of book you need to put on your leather jacket to read, open that bottle of Jack and reach for the Charlie. And let the good times roll...
By Mick Wall
In 'The Ace of Spades', Motörhead's most famous song, Lemmy, the born-to-lose, live-to-win frontman of the band sang, 'I don't want to live forever'. Yet as he told his friend of 35 years, former PR and biographer Mick Wall, 'Actually, I want to go the day before forever. To avoid the rush...'. This is his strange but true story. Brutally frank, painfully funny, wincingly sad, and always beautifully told, LEMMY: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY is the story of the only rock'n'roller never to sell his soul for silver and gold, while keeping the devil, as he put it, 'very close to my side'. From school days growing up in North Wales, to first finding fame in the mid-60s with the Rockin' Vicars ('We were very big up north, I had a Zephyr 6'); from being Jimi Hendrix's personal roadie ('I would score acid for him'), to leading Hawkwind to the top of the charts in 1972 with 'Silver Machine' ('I was fired for taking the wrong drugs'); from forming Motörhead ('I wanted to call the band Bastard but my manager wouldn't let me'), whose iconoclastic album NO SLEEP 'TIL HAMMERSMITH entered the UK charts at No. 1 - and its title into the lexicon of hip-speak.Based on Mick's original interviews with Lemmy conducted over numerous years, along with the insights of those who knew him best - former band mates, friends, managers, fellow artists and record business insiders - this is an unputdownable story of one of Britain's greatest characters. As Lemmy once said of Wall, 'Mick Wall is one of the few rock writers in the world who can actually write and seems to know anything about rock music. I can and do talk to him for hours - poor bastard.' With the hard part of his journey now over, Lemmy is set to become a legend. LEMMY: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY explains exactly how that came to be.
Going Off Alarming
By Danny Baker
The dazzlingly funny second volume of Danny Baker's memoirs: the television years.Since my first book was published I have had countless friends and family members get in touch to say how come I hadn't included this story or that tale. Was I ashamed of being shot twice, once up the arse, in Jamaica Road? How long should a man live with such a secret? If by retrospectively dropping my trousers every few pages I can reveal a fuller picture of myself during these years, then so be it.Besides. Being shot up the arse. In front of your mates.What else did I forget?
By Peter Guralnick
Rock 'n' roll was born in rural Alabama, 1923, in the form of Sam Phillips, the youngest son of a large family living in a remote colony called the Lovelace Community. His father had a gift for farming, which was brought to an end by the Depression. His mother picked guitar and showed the kind of forbearance that allowed her to name her son after the doctor who delivered him drunk and then had to be put to bed himself. And yet from these unprepossessing origins, in 1951 Phillips made what is widely considered to be the first rock 'n' roll record, Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston's 'Rocket 88'. Just two years later a shy eighteen-year-old kid with sideburns, fresh out of high school, wandered into his recording studio to make a record 'for his mother', secretly hoping that it might somehow get him noticed. His name was Elvis Presley. Elvis's success, and the subsequent triumph of rock 'n' roll, was initially propelled to an almost astonishing degree by a limited number of releases by Carl 'Blue Suede Shoes' Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis - all from this tiny, one-man label. An engaging mix of biography and anecdote, Peter Guralnick's book brilliantly recreates one shining moment in the history of popular culture. And Sam Phillips was the man who brought it all about.
Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre
By Mick Wall
Think you know the story of Jim Morrison and The Doors? This revelatory and explosive biography from critically acclaimed rock journalist Mick Wall will make you think again.In 1971, Jim Morrison was found dead in a club toilet in Paris. He was 27 years old. Since then, The Doors have been the subject of a mystery fuelled by sensationalised rumours and empty conjecture.In this definitive account of Jim Morrison and The Doors, critically acclaimed rock writer Mick Wall unravels the myths surrounding the iconic band and its frontman, and captures the unique and unforgettable spirit of the sixties. A brilliantly penetrating and long-overdue biography, Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre questions the idolisation of Jim Morrison and considers the story of The Doors in all of its uncomfortable truth.
By Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley is one of Britain's undisputed national treasures, an English actress, voiceover artist and author, best known for her roles in the British television series ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS portraying Edina Monsoon's best friend, Patsy Stone, as well as parts in THE NEW AVENGERS and SAPPHIRE & STEEL. A former model and Bond girl, her distinctive voice has been supplied for animated characters, film narration and AOL's "You've got mail" notification in the UK. She has spoken out as a human rights activist for Survival International and the recent Gurkha Justice Campaign, and is now considered a 'national treasure' of Nepal as well as the UK because of her support. She is also an advocate for a huge number of charities. She has won two BAFTA awards, but it is the sheer diversity of her life that has made her so compelling a personality - early years in Kashmir and Malaya, growing up in Kent, then a photographic model before becoming an actress, appearing in a huge range of roles, whether it is the Nimble bread TV ad, movies like ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, dramas like SENSITIVE SKIN and documentaries on the Northern Lights, Bhutan and the Nile, and of course as the unforgettable Patsy in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS or as Purdy in THE NEW AVENGERS, where her plummy vowels and upper-class demeanour has made her one of our most recognisable actors.
By Michael Coveney
WINNER OF BEST MEMOIR AT THE WOMAN & HOME READERS' CHOICE AWARDS 2016 AND A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEKNo one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight-lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith, one of Britain's best-loved actors. This new biography shines the stage-lights on the life and work of a truly remarkable performer, one whose career spans six decades.From her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie's path would cross with those of the greatest actors, playwrights and directors of the era. Whether stealing scenes from Richard Burton (by his own admission), answering back to Laurence Olivier, or impressing Ingmar Bergman, her career can be seen as a Who's Who of British theatre in the twentieth century. This book also covers her success in Hollywood, inaugurated by her first Oscar for her signature film, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, as well as her subsequent departure to Canada for a prolific four-season run of leading theatre roles.Recently Dame Maggie has been as prominent on our screens as ever, with high-profile roles as Violet Crawley, the formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the phenomenally successful television series Downton Abbey, and as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film franchise: what she herself describes as 'Miss Jean Brodie in a wizard's hat'. Yet paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public and carefully guarding her considerable talent. Michael Coveney's absorbing biography, drawing on personal archives, interviews and encounters with the actress, as well as conversations with immediate family and dear friends, is therefore as close as it gets to seeing the real Maggie Smith.
Shades of Jamie Dornan
By Jo Berry
Jamie Dornan is becoming a megastar. His announcement as lead role Christian Grey in the upcoming film adaptation of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY caused a media frenzy and he has been hitting the headlines ever since. After Charlie Hunnam drastically stepped away from the role, the model-turned-actor Dornan was catapulted into the international spotlight.As well as modelling for Calvin Klein alongside Kate Moss, he appeared in Sofia Coppola's MARIE ANTOINETTE, has dated Keira Knightley, was cast as the sheriff in the hit US fantasy TV drama ONCE UPON A TIME, and followed it up with an acclaimed leading performance in the Gillian Anderson-starring TV thriller THE FALL.Now set for the part of auburn-haired, sexually deviant billionaire Christian Grey, this book will reveal 50 shades of Jamie Dornan - a no holds barred biography of the man who, come 2015, everyone will want to know intimately.