By Philip Norman
Eric Clapton is acknowledged to be rock's greatest virtuoso, the unrivalled master of its most essential tool, the solid-body electric guitar. Clapton transfigured three of the 1960s' most iconic bands, the Yardbirds, Cream and Blind Faith, walking away from each when it failed to measure up to his exacting standards. He was the only outsider be an honorary member of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and the studio musician of choice for solo superstars from Bob Dylan to Aretha Franklin.Yet even as a rock god in excelsis, his true passion was always the blues. Even his own blues heroes, the likes of Muddy Waters, B. B. King and Buddy Guy, would recognise the supremacy of this wispy white boy from the English county of Surrey.No life has been more rock 'n' roll than Clapton's in his epic consumption of drugs and alcohol, his insatiable appetite for expensive cars, clothes, and women - most famously revealed when he fell in love with Pattie Boyd, the wife of his best friend, George Harrison, and the inspiration for 'Layla'.With the benefit of unrestricted access to family members, close friends and fellow musicians, and his encyclopedic knowledge of sixties music and culture, Philip Norman has written the definitive portrait of the insecure, often pain-racked man.
When Giants Walked the Earth
By Mick Wall
The definitive final word on the world's greatest rock band, Led Zeppelin. Over ten years after WHEN GIANTS WALKED THE EARTH, Mick's seminal biography of the band, comes this major and extensively researched revision, which will provide an unflinching look at life inside one of the biggest-selling rock bands of all time, and present the definitive, final word on Led Zeppelin.They were 'the last great band of the sixties; the first great band of the seventies'; they rose, somewhat unpromisingly, from the ashes of the Yardbirds to become one of the biggest-selling rock bands of all time. Mick Wall, respected rock writer and former confidant of both Page and Plant, unflinchingly tells the story of the band that wrote the rulebook for on-the-road excess - and eventually paid the price for it, with disaster, drug addiction and death. WHEN GIANTS WALKED THE EARTH reveals for the first time the true extent of band leader Jimmy Page's longstanding interest in the occult, and goes behind the scenes to expose the truth behind their much-hyped yet spectacularly contrived comeback at London's O2 arena in 2007, and how Jimmy Page plans to bring the band back permanently - if only his former protégé, now part-time nemesis, Robert Plant will allow him to. Wall also recounts, in a series of flashbacks, the life stories of the five individuals that made the dream of Led Zeppelin into an even more incredible and hard-to-swallow reality: Page, Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham, and their infamous manager, Peter Grant.
Being John Lennon
By Ray Connolly
John Lennon was a rock star, a school clown, a writer, a wit, an iconoclast, a sometime peace activist and finally an eccentric millionaire. He was also a Beatle - his plain-speaking and impudent rejection of authority catching, and eloquently articulating, the group's moment in history.Chronicling a troubled life, from that of the cast-aside child of a broken wartime marriage to his murder by a deranged fan, Being John Lennon analyses the contradictions in the singer-songwriter's creative and destructive personality. A leader who could be easily led, he was often generous and often funny, but sometimes scathingly cruel.As a journalist, author Ray Connolly had a close working relationship with Lennon, and the entire Beatles coterie. In this biography he unsparingly reassesses the chameleon nature of the perpetually dissatisfied star who just couldn't stop reinventing himself. Drawing on many interviews and conversations with Lennon, his first wife Cynthia and second Yoko Ono, as well as his girlfriend May Pang and song-writing partner Paul McCartney, this complex portrait is a revealing insight into a restless man whose emotional turbulence governed his life and talent.
The Story of NOW That's What I Call Music in 100 Artists
By Michael Mulligan
Everyone remembers their first NOW album. Since NOW That's What I Call Music Volume 1 was released in 1983 on double vinyl and double cassette, NOW has become synonymous with pop music and has featured some of the most iconic artists of the last three decades. To celebrate the release of the 100th NOW album, The Story of NOW That's What I Call Music in 100 Artists looks back at some of the most memorable - and occasionally regrettable - hits of the last 35 years! Jam packed with amazing facts and 'Well I never!' moments about the 4,000+ artists to have graced the NOW track listings - from Phil Collins to Pharrell, Bananarama to Lady Gaga and Peter Andre to Pet Shop Boys - The Story of NOW is a celebration of pop music through the decades. So plug in your earphones and pump up the volume, because this party is just getting started!
How Does It Feel?
By Mark Kermode
'A rattling tornado of a tale' DANNY BAKER'Wonderful and wry . . . it will increase your zest for life' RICHARD AYOADEFollowing a formative encounter with the British pop movie Slade in Flame in 1975, Mark Kermode decided that musical superstardom was totally attainable. And so, armed with a homemade electric guitar and very little talent, he embarked on an alternative career - a chaotic journey which would take him from the halls and youth clubs of North London to the stages of Glastonbury, the London Palladium and The Royal Albert Hall.HOW DOES IT FEEL? follows a lifetime of musical misadventures which have seen Mark striking rockstar poses in the Sixth Form Common Room, striding around a string of TV shows dressed from head to foot in black leather, getting heckled off stage by a bunch of angry septuagenarians on a boat on the Mersey, showing Timmy Mallet how to build a tea-chest bass - and winning the International Street Entertainers of the Year award as part of a new wave of skiffle. Really. Hilarious, self-deprecating and blissfully nostalgic, this is a riotous account of a bedroom dreamer's attempts to conquer the world armed with nothing more than a chancer's enthusiasm and a simple philosophy: how hard can it be?
Some Fantastic Place
By Chris Difford
Longlisted for the Penderyn Music Book PrizeOver the course of a thirteen-album and multi-award-winning career with Squeeze, it was clear from the very beginning that Chris Difford has few peers when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism. In Some Fantastic Place, he charts his life from his childhood in south London to becoming a member of one of Britain's greatest bands and beyond. Along the way Chris 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 DJ Target
An explosive insider account of grime, from subculture to international phenomenon. *****A group of kids in the 2000s had a dream to make their voice heard - and this book documents their seminal impact on today's pop culture.DJ Target grew up in Bow under the shadow of Canary Wharf, with money looming close on the skyline. The 'Godfather of Grime' Wiley and Dizzee Rascal first met each other in his bedroom. They were all just grime kids on the block back then, and didn't realise they were to become pioneers of an international music revolution. A movement that permeates deep into British culture and beyond. Household names were borne out of those housing estates, and the music industry now jumps to the beat of their gritty reality rather than the tune of glossy aspiration. Grime has shaken the world and Target is revealing its explosive and expansive journey in full, using his own unique insight and drawing on the input of grime's greatest names.
The Most Beautiful
By Mayte Garcia
In The Most Beautiful, a title inspired by the hit song Prince wrote about their legendary love story, Mayte Garcia for the first time shares the deeply personal story of their relationship and offers a singular perspective on the music icon and their world together: from their unconventional meeting backstage at a concert (and the long-distance romance that followed), to their fairy-tale wedding (and their groundbreaking artistic partnership), to the devastating losses that ultimately dissolved their romantic relationship for good. Throughout it all, they shared a bond more intimate than any other in Prince's life. 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.
By Nick Mason
UPDATED FOR 2017 WITH A NEW CHAPTERThe definitive history of Pink Floyd, one of the world's great bands, by founder member Nick Mason.Pink Floyd is one of the most creative, successful and enduring bands of all time. As the only member to have been part of the band throughout the 50 years of its existence, and the first to write a personal take on their history, Nick Mason gives unique insights into Pink Floyd's highs and lows: from their emergence in the late 1960s underground, to the huge worldwide success of The Dark Side of the Moon and the rifts and pressures that developed within the group.In a new chapter Nick Mason looks back at the years following the band's final performance at Live 8 in July 2005 and reflects on the huge changes that have occurred since: the irreplaceable losses, the new releases and the impact on the Floyd's continued success of both digital technology and social media. Intelligent, original and self-deprecating, Inside Out is the first-hand story of a band that has become a legend, as celebrated by the Victoria & Albert Museum's landmark Pink Floyd exhibition in 2017.
Like a Bat Out of Hell
By Mick Wall
"I never wanted to be a big star. I just wanted to be the biggest at what I do! Powerful, unstoppable, heavy - when that word still meant something good!" - Meat Loaf, as told to Mick Wall Everything in the story of Meat Loaf is big. From the place he was born (Texas); to the family he was born into (his father weighed 22 stone, his uncle weighed over 40 stone, while Meat Loaf himself weighed 17 stone before he was even in his teens); to the sound he made (a colossal collision between Richard Wagner, Phil Spector and Bruce Springsteen); and of course the records he sold - nearly 50 million in Britain and America alone. Now, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Bat Out of Hell, the album that gave rise to Meat Loaf's astonishing career, the premiere of Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical, and the launch of a mammoth two-year farewell tour, Mick Wall, who has interviewed Meat Loaf on numerous occasions throughout his career, pulls back the curtains to reveal the soft-hearted soul behind the larger-than-life character he created for himself. From a tumultuous childhood with an alcoholic father to the relentless abusive bullying from classmates and their parents alike, nobody could have predicted Meat Loaf's meteoric rise to fame. But when the messianic rock opera Bat Out of Hell was released in 1977, it became one of the biggest albums of all time, selling over 45 million copies worldwide to date. Its release marked the start of a rollercoaster ride of incredible highs and seemingly career-ending lows. By the 80s, Meat Loaf was battling with drug and alcohol addiction and escalating money problems that would eventually lead to a nervous breakdown. But just when it seemed like it was all over, the astonishing success of Bat Out of Hell II and the mega-hit 'I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)' marked an extraordinary new wave of success. Now, Mick Wall will bring this extraordinary story up to date, drawing on the hours he spent with Meat Loaf, both in interviews and on tour, as well as offering up a unique insight from those who have known him best.
The Universal Tone
By Carlos Santana, Ashley Kahn, Hal Miller
The intimate and long-awaited memoir of guitar legend Carlos Santana.In 1967 at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, a young guitarist played a blistering solo that announced a prodigious talent. Two years later he played a historic set at Woodstock, and the world came to know Carlos Santana by name.THE UNIVERSAL TONE is a tale of musical self-determination and self-discovery. It traces his journey from his teen days playing in Tijuana, and the establishment of his signature guitar sound; his roles as husband, father and rock star; and his recording of some of the most influential rock albums of all time, up to and beyond the sensational SUPERNATURAL, which garnered nine Grammy awards. The book abounds with a fearlessness that finds humour in the world of high-flying fame, speaks plainly of personal revelations, and celebrates the divine and infinite possibility Santana sees in each person he meets.
By Thomas Voigt
'The most sought-after tenor in the world', the greatest tenor of today', 'the new king of tenors' - for years Jonas Kaufmann has occupied a unique status among the world's greatest opera singers.Thomas Voigt's revealing biography, written in collaboration with Kaufmann, reflects on the singer's artistic development in recent years; his work in the recording studio; his relationship to Verdi and Wagner; and much more. The book includes contributions from Plácido Domingo, Anja Harteros, Antonio Pappano, Helmut Deutsch and Jürgen Kesting, as well as many striking photographs.Kaufmann was born in Munich in 1969. Soon after training at the University of Music and Performing Arts he was invited to make his debut in theatres such as the Stuttgart Opera and Hamburg State Opera, as well as international appearances at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Paris Opera and La Scala in Milan. He made his Salzburg Festival debut in 1999 in a new production of Busoni's Doktor Faust. He performed the role of Don José in Bizet's Carmen at Covent Garden in 2006 and made his acclaimed debut as Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera alongside Angela Gheorghiu. He has sung leading tenor roles in the operas of Richard Wagner with success in Germany and abroad, and is also a highly accomplished Lieder singer. In 2015 Kaufmann became the first German to perform the British seafaring anthem 'Rule, Britannia!' at the Last Night of the Proms.No wonder that the New York Times has described Jonas Kaufmann as 'a box-office draw, and ... the most important versatile tenor of his generation'.
The Beatles Lyrics
By Hunter Davies, Beatles
Over 100 handwritten manuscripts of the Beatles' original lyrics, tracked down from friends of the band, museums, universities and collectors.Hunter Davies, author of the only authorised biography of the Beatles, worked with the band in their heyday. Here he reveals each song's context with vivid behind-the-scenes stories and gives a unique insight into the creative process of the world's greatest songwriters. From 'Yesterday' and 'Eleanor Rigby' to 'Yellow Submarine', The Beatles Lyrics is the definitive story of the band, uniquely told through their 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 McCartney's approval and with access to family members and friends closest to him.In 2013, Sir Paul McCartney granted Philip Norman 'tacit approval' as his biographer. The result is a masterly and complex portrait of the most successful songwriter in history.It gives a unique insight into McCartney's childhood, blighted by the loss of his mother when he was fourteen, and into the creative symbiosis and fierce rivalry between John Lennon and himself that powered the Beatles' music. Here, too, for the first time, is the full story of McCartney's triumphant but troubled post-Beatles years: the tragic death of his first wife, Linda, and the chaotic divorce from his second wife, Heather Mills.Paul McCartney is the definitive life of a long-misunderstood genius that superbly evokes half a century of popular music and culture.
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.
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.