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
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 the subversive and dark. Back then, Ozzy was the singer in Black Sabbath, and they meant business. 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.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.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, daughter of Don Arden - Sharon Osbourne.
The Beatles Lyrics
By Hunter Davies, Beatles
The first-ever collection of the original handwritten Beatles' lyrics.Never before has anyone attempted to track down and publish the original versions of the classic songs, many of which have never yet been published. These documents have ended up in the hands of collectors and friends of the Beatles, scattered across the world at museums and universities. Hunter Davies knew and worked with the Beatles during their heyday, and wrote their first and only authorized biography. In this collection, he has tracked down and reproduced over 100 original handwritten manuscripts of their songs, reproduced here - and, in almost every case, for the very first time.For the Beatles, writing songs was a process that could happen anytime and anywhere - songs might begin as a scribble on the back of an envelope, a napkin or on hotel stationery. From them we gain a unique insight into the remarkable creative process of the greatest songwriters of all time; what they were thinking, how they changed their minds, and then came up with the words which are now known the world over - complete with all the scribbles and crossings out.Each song is given its context: what the Beatles were doing at the time, how and when they came to write and record it, how the original version differs from the final one. Almost every Beatles song has a great story behind it, whether it is 'Yesterday', 'Eleanor Rigby' or 'Yellow Submarine'.Many books have appeared about the Beatles, but in the end what really matters - and will always matter most - is their music. Their music comes out of their lives, just as their lives and emotions are reflected in their music. The Beatles Lyrics is the definitive story of their lives, as uniquely told through their music.