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.
By Alan Parker
The last word on Sid Vicious - the world's most iconic punk figure.The old school register for Soho Parish Primary school has a note in the margin recording that five-year-old John Simon Ritchie turned up for his first day at school unaccompanied in September 1962. He'd walked from his mum's council flat near Drury Lane, across Covent Garden and several major road junctions to Gt Windmill Street alone. Somehow it's a fitting start to the wild and troubled life that would be Sid Vicious's. It's also a story that's indicative of the detailed research Alan Parker has put into this biography of Sid Vicious. He spent an evening discussing young Simon Ritchie's schooldays with the headmistress of Soho Parish, has interviewed the likes of fellow Sex Pistols Paul Cook and Glen Matlock at length, as well as numerous other punk luminaries. The basics of Sid Vicious's brief 21 years are well known: art school, junkie mother, life in a squat, a year in the Sex Pistols until their demise in 1978, Nancy Spungeon's death, Sid's arrest, followed by Sid's own fatal overdose on 2 February 1979. Parker brings a wealth of new detail to the story, much gained from the New York Police Department and extensive interviews with Anne Beverley (Sid's mother), prior to her own suicide in 1996. This enables him to come to dramatic conclusions about who killed Nancy Spungeon and how Sid himself died. This will be the definitive and final word on Sid Vicious, and the perfect tribute to a man who has become a true icon of the 21st century.
By Philip Norman, Peter Coates
For half a century Eric Clapton has been acknowledged to be rock music's greatest virtuoso, the unrivalled master of its indispensable tool, the solid-body electric guitar. His career has spanned the history of rock, and often shaped it via the seminal bands with whom he's played: the Yardbirds, John Mavall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominoes. Winner of eighteen Grammys, the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame's only three-time inductee, he is an enduring influence on every other star soloist who ever wielded a pick. Now his full story - including those bits that were left out from Clapton's memoir - is told by rock music's foremost biographer, with Clapton's consent and access to family members and close friends. In Slowhand: Eric Clapton's Blues, Philip Norman returns to the heroic age of British rock and follows Clapton through his distinctive and scandalous childhood, early life of reckless rock 'n' roll excess, and twisting and turning struggle with addiction in the 60s and 70s. Readers will learn about his relationship with Pattie Boyd - wife of Clapton's own best friend George Harrison - the tragic death of his son, which inspired one of his most famous songs, 'Tears in Heaven', and even the backstories of his most famed, and named, guitars. Packed with new information and critical insights, Slowhand reveals the complex character behind the legend.(p) Hachette Book Group 2018
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.
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!