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.
On Board Flight 666
By Iron Maiden, John McMurtrie
The first and only official book from Britain's biggest heavy-metal band.IRON MAIDEN are a global phenomenon. On board their customised Boeing 757 plane named Ed Force One, and piloted by lead singer and airline captain Bruce Dickinson, the band, crew and 12 tonnes of equipment traversed the planet and broke the mould of traditional touring forever by playing concerts in every continent except Antarctica! Setting off in early 2008 on the Somewhere Back In Time world tour, through to the epic Final Frontier tour, Maiden finally played two sold-out shows in their native London. The Final Frontier tour celebrated their 15th and most successful studio album to date, hitting the No.1 spot in at least 28 countries. The band's official photographer John McMurtrie accompanied them on the tours and his unrestricted access allowed him to capture exclusive images and moments both onstage and off, in over 600 spectacular photographs annotated with individual insights and anecdotes.ON BOARD FLIGHT 666 provides an unprecedented insight into one of the most adventurous rock tours ever undertaken; and into what makes this band so special.
By Mick Wall
The final word on the only name synonymous with heavy metal - Black Sabbath.Way back in the mists of time, in the days when rock giants walked the earth, the name Ozzy Osbourne was synonymous with subversive and dark. Back then, Ozzy was the singer in Black Sabbath, and they meant business. In an era when it seemed possible to measure a band's musical prowess by how 'heavy' they were, they didn't come any weightier than Black Sabbath. There were, it's probably fair to say, none-more-black.A four-piece formed from the ashes of two locally well-known groups called The Rare Breed (Ozzy and bassist Geezer Butler) and Mythology (guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward), all four founding members of the original Black Sabbath grew up within half-a-mile of each other, in the same narrow, grey streets of Aston, a tiny Birmingham suburb then struggling to come to terms with the mess Hitler's bombs had made of it. Though they all shared a deep love of music - The Beatles for Ozzy, the Mothers of Invention for Geezer, the Shadows and Chet Atkins for Iommi, and Gene Kruppa for Ward - they all saw the opportunity to form a successful group, Ozzy would tell me, 'as the quickest way out of the slums.'This biography tells the story of how they made that dream come true - and how it then turned into a nightmare for all of them. How at the height of their fame, Sabbath discovered they had been so badly ripped off by their managers they did not even own their own songs. How they looked for salvation from Don Arden - an even more notorious gangster figure, who resurrected their career but still left them indebted to him, financially and personally. And how it finally came to a head when in 1979 they sacked Ozzy: 'For being too out of control - even for us,' as Bill Ward put it.Of course the story does not end there. The next 15 years would see a war break out between the two camps: the post-Ozzy Sabbath and Ozzy himself, whose solo career overshadowed Sabbath to the point where, when he offered them the chance to reform around him again, it was entirely on his terms. Or rather, that of his wife and manager - and, to add a further bitter twist to the tale for Sabbath, daughter of Don Arden - Sharon Osbourne.
By Nick Mason
The definitive history of Pink Floyd, one of the world's great bands, by founder member Nick Mason.One of the most fascinating rock bands ever, Pink Floyd was formed in 1965. After a year in the London 'underground' experimenting with revolutionary techniques such as lights that matched their music, they released their first single in 1966. Their breakthrough album, The Dark Side of the Moon, was released in 1973 and stayed in the charts until 1982, the longest a record has ever been continuously in the charts, becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time.In 1975 they released Wish You Were Here, which reached iconic status, then in 1979 The Wall went to number 1 in almost every country in the world. The movie version of The Wall starring Bob Geldof was released in 1982, becoming a cult favorite. In the 1980s a rift developed between the band members which culminated in law suits. Only recently have there been reconciliations which have allowed founder member Nick Mason to write his personal take on the band's history.