Some Fantastic Place
By Chris Difford
Chris Difford is a rare breed. As a member of one of London's best-loved bands, the Squeeze co-founder has made a lasting contribution to English music with hits such as 'Cool For Cats', 'Up The Junction', 'Labelled With Love', 'Hourglass' and 'Tempted'. Even before his first release in 1977, his love of writing lyrics has never wavered. Over the course of a thirteen-album career with Squeeze, it was clear from the very beginning that Difford has few peers when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism. His 'kitchen-sink drama' style has drawn plaudits from fans on both sides of the Atlantic, and his influence is keenly felt today. The likes of Lily Allen. Mark Ronson, Kasabian, Razorlight and many more have recognized the debt they owe to Squeeze's music and to Difford's way with words, while journalists were moved by his winning combination with Glenn Tilbrook to dub the pair 'The New Lennon and McCartney'.In Some Fantastic Place, Chris Difford charts his life from his early days as a dreaming boy in south London with a talent for poetry to becoming a member of one of Britain's greatest bands and beyond. Along the way he reveals the inspiration and stories behind Squeeze's best-known songs, and his greatest highs and lows from over four decades of making music.
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 Philip Norman
The first biography written with Paul McCartney's approval and with access to family members and friends closest to him.Superbly evoking half a century of popular music and culture, Paul McCartney is the definitive life of a long-misunderstood genius.In this masterly biography, history's most successful songwriter, a man of seemingly effortless talent, beauty and charm, is revealed as a complex, insecure workaholic who still feels as great a need to prove himself in his seventies as when he was a teenager.We learn how his boyhood was blighted by the death of his mother, Mary - later the inspiration for 'Let It Be' - but redeemed by his remarkable father, Jim, a Liverpool cotton-salesman who was his only music-teacher and whose influence has permeated his career.We understand as never before the creative symbiosis between John Lennon and himself that unlocked the extraordinary treasury of their songs for the Beatles when they were barely into their twenties, and the fierce rivalry which lasted beyond the band's break-up to the end of John's life - and still haunts and inspires Paul to this day.Here for the first time is the full story of Paul post-Beatles: his trauma after being brutally sidelined by John, George and Ringo over the appointment of their last manager, Allen Klein; his near-breakdown on his remote Scottish farm and dogged determination to build a new band, Wings, into as big a name in the 1970s as the Beatles had been in the 1960s.Here too is the first inside story of his marriage to Linda Eastman, much criticised at the outset but destined to become the longest and strongest in rock until her death from cancer. Here are the traumatic post-Linda years when his charmed life seemed temporarily to crack up: his whirlwind romance with Heather Mills ending after four years' marriage in one of the most expensive and rancorous divorces in British legal history. As richly fascinating and dramatic as its subject, Paul McCartney: The Biography is the last word on a man whose music has lit up the world.
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.
My Life with Wagner
By Christian Thielemann
'Idiosyncratic, humorous, enlightening and written by one of the finest conductors alive ... This is the book to buy if you are going to see Wagner or listen to him at home' LITERARY REVIEWOver a distinguished career conducting some of the world's finest orchestras, Christian Thielemann has earned a reputation as the leading modern interpreter of Richard Wagner. MY LIFE WITH WAGNER chronicles his ardent personal and professional engagement with the composer whose work has shaped his thinking and feeling from early childhood.Thielemann retraces his journey with Wagner - from Berlin to Bayreuth via Venice, Hamburg and Chicago. Next he takes each opera in turn, his appraisal illuminated by a deep affinity for the music, an intimate knowledge of the scores and the inside perspective of an outstanding practitioner. And yet for all the adulation Wagner's art inspires in him, Thielemann does not shy away from unpalatable truths about the man himself, explaining why today he is venerated and reviled in equal measure. The result is a richly rewarding read for admirers of a composer who continues to fascinate long after his death.
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; 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.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.
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.
By Mick Wall
Everyone from Sir Paul McCartney and Jimmy Page to Queens of the Stone Age now relishes the chance to share a stage with Dave Grohl and his legendary Foo Fighters. The question is: why? Musical depth? Not really. Major success? Well, yes. Despite no longer shifting albums in the same quantity as they did twenty years ago, this band can still fill stadiums the world over (when Dave's not breaking his leg, of course).Long before Kurt Cobain blew his brains out in 1994, Dave Grohl was planning for a life after Nirvana. The unflinching bright sunlight to Cobain's permanent midnight darkness, Grohl had come from a similar broken home to his erstwhile band leader, but came out of the experience differently - brimming with positivity and a shrewd grasp of opportunities in the music industry.Did Grohl merely take the sonic blueprint of Nirvana and embellish it with a more life-affirming pop sheen? Of course he did. Every band in America that sold over a million records in the post-grunge 90s did the same. The difference was that Grohl had real credibility. And he knew it.With exclusive testimony from true insiders (including Krist Novoselic, Grohl's bass-playing partner in Nirvana, ex-girlfirends, record company executives, tour photographers and confidantes), this book is an exploration of the real story behind Grohl and the Foo Fighters - the only serious literary biography of the group and its leader, one of the most famous and critically bulletproof rock figures of the 21st century.
The Rivered Earth
By Vikram Seth
The Rivered Earth contains four libretti written by Vikram Seth to be set to music by Alec Roth - together with an account of the pleasures and pains of working with a composer.Entitled 'Songs in Time of War', 'Shared Ground', 'The Traveller' and 'Seven Elements', they take us all over the world - from Chinese and Indian poetry to the beauty and quietness of the Salisbury house where the poet George Herbert lived and died.Spanning centuries of creativity and humanity, these poems pulse with life, energy and inspired brilliance.They are accompanied by four pieces of calligraphy by the author.
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 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 Some Faraway Beach
By David Sheppard
Authorised biography of Brian Eno - the 'Father of Ambient Music'A sonic alchemist to the stars, Brian Eno's address book is a veritable who's who of rock and pop. Tellingly, his involvement with Roxy Music, David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2 has coincided with these artists producing their most challenging and critically revered work.ON SOME FARAWAY BEACH is the first serious, critical examination of the life and times of Brian Eno, from an idiosyncratic childhood to 1960s art school and the sharp end of pop charts around the world.
Judi: Behind the Scenes
By Judi Dench
An illustrated memoir of one of Britain's greatest and best-loved actors.'National treasure? I hate that. Too dusty, too in a cupboard, too behind glass, too staid ... What I love is being part of a company. On stage I am not trying to be myself, I'm trying to be someone else, the more unlike me the better.'From her first theatrical roles as a teenager in York to her commanding performances as 'M' in the James Bond films, Dame Judi Dench's professional life has consisted of non-stop acting, leading to numerous accolades, including an Academy Award.BEHIND THE SCENES is a fully updated and expanded edition of Dame Judi's first photograph album SCENES FROM MY LIFE, published in 2005. It is a uniquely personal take on her life and brilliant career, showing her off stage as well as on: in the wings, off sets, in dressing rooms and happily larking about. Beautifully illustrated with photographs from her own collections, here are reflections and reminiscences on those who have mattered to her most - her family, fellow actors, directors and writers - communicated with the truth and insight of her acting.