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StevenShelby

Rock/blues book suggestions

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Anyone have good suggestions for books about blues/rock bands/artists? I'm interested primarily in rock bands from the sixties-nineties and blues/blues rock players. So Zeppelin, the Stones, SRV, Hendrix, Pearl Jam, GnR, etc. But the quality of the book matters, too ...

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If you want a good bit of info about the blues, learn about Robert Johnson on Netflix. I learned his story years ago before the Netflix thing came out to understand how much influence he’s had on several artists we love and know. I just sort of think that white guys being blues artists are funny haha! ...At least those that don’t understand the history of the blues. But you know, to each their own. Today’s “blues” is very different from what it was decades ago since it has/had sort of a mainstream piece to it. Just learn this guy’s story... Just as a bit insight, RJ was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to play the guitar the way he did. 

Edited by NighthawkChris

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1 hour ago, NighthawkChris said:

Just as a bit insight, RJ was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to play the guitar the way he did. 

Is that what they said before it was the heroin that made everyone good?

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12 minutes ago, Dub-T-123 said:

Is that what they said before it was the heroin that made everyone good?

I do not recall anything about RJ and heroin. He was a hard drinker from the result of a sad lifestyle back in the day. Don’t know from experience but you definitely give something up of yourself if you get involved with hard drugs like that. I don’t think he had enough money to do drugs as RJ was poor as it gets for a black man in the 1930s from the south. Truth be told, very little is known about him and how he learned to play guitar the way he did. 

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2 hours ago, NighthawkChris said:

Just as a bit insight, RJ was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to play the guitar the way he did. 

Just in case anyone hasn't seen it ... Go out and find the movie Crossroads (with Ralph Macchio).  Easily one of my top 10 favorite movies, and it references the story of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil.  Movie also features Steve Vai and guitar work by Ry Cooder (plays Macchio's parts). 

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The Biker in a Frank Zappa song sold his soul to the Devil for some t-itties and beer. What was that songs name?

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I read one about Zeppelin. Hammer Of The Gods, I think is the title.

Once you start reading about musicians, and if they are your idols and hero's, you are going to realize they are not very nice people.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper

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52 minutes ago, ghost_of_fl said:

Just in case anyone hasn't seen it ... Go out and find the movie Crossroads (with Ralph Macchio).  Easily one of my top 10 favorite movies, and it references the story of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil.  Movie also features Steve Vai and guitar work by Ry Cooder (plays Macchio's parts). 

Yup I’ve seen it 😀 good flick!

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1 hour ago, ghost_of_fl said:

Just in case anyone hasn't seen it ... Go out and find the movie Crossroads (with Ralph Macchio).  Easily one of my top 10 favorite movies, and it references the story of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil.  Movie also features Steve Vai and guitar work by Ry Cooder (plays Macchio's parts). 

I've watched that movie several times.  It is a good one....

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2 hours ago, NighthawkChris said:

Clapton is one who revered RJ FWIW. Always liked and furthermore respected EC. 

The book tells quite the story of Eric's life.  It's amazing he is still alive to talk (or yea,, write).. about it.

 

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25 minutes ago, kidblast said:

The book tells quite the story of Eric's life.  It's amazing he is still alive to talk (or yea,, write).. about it.

 

Its amazing a lot of the musicians from the 60's and 70's are still alive. All the s-hit they put in their bodies. Smoking a little weed is one thing, but needles, LSD, pills and booze and of course all mixed together make a nice cocktail.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper

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31 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

Its amazing a lot of the musicians from the 60's and 70's are still alive. All the s-hit they put in their bodies. Smoking a little weed is one thing, but needles, LSD, pills and booze and of course all mixed together make a nice cocktail.

yea man,, it really is a miracle that as many that did survive to "a ripe old age" made it that far... 

 

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There's a book about Jim Morrison that's pretty cool.  Something like 'the arrow flies' or something.  Really liked him back in the day...  that book helped in that direction.  I since have seen quite a bit about him, and really not all that impressed anymore.

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15 minutes ago, uncle fester said:

There's a book about Jim Morrison that's pretty cool.  Something like 'the arrow flies' or something.  Really liked him back in the day...  that book helped in that direction.  I since have seen quite a bit about him, and really not all that impressed anymore.

he was a very strange dude...

 

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"Hammer Of The Gods" is by Stephen Davis and is basically the same as the Richie Yorke book except it has salacious bits which are usually attributed to roadie Richard Cole. Highly readable; Page and Plant have spent years alternately denying it and then - when it suited them - hinting that it's all true.  There are also at least 2 books about manager Peter Grant.

I too read "Life" by Keith Richards.  Probably quite honest but he just isn't very likeable.  Bill Wyman's "Stone Alone" is a very good read, as is Marianne Faithfull's autobiography.

David Crosby's autobiography "Long Time Gone" is pretty hair-raising.   Surprising he didn't die as he completely forgot about music and instead freebased huge amounts of dangerous drugs.

Sgt Peppers comment about "they are not very nice people" is very true; by definition, they generally ALL have massive egos and feet of clay.

The 3 Doors books you should consider reading are - "Riders On The Storm" by drummer John Densmore, by far  the best of the lot;  "Light My Fire" by Ray Manzarek is good, and "No-one Here Gets Out Alive" by Danny Sugerman is sensationalist but accurate enough and rocks along; part 2 of that book is called "The Arrow Flies".

Author Barney Hoskyns generally writes about the music from a certain place/period - "Waiting For The Sun"  is a superb history of the L.A. music scene from the late 1940s to the 1990s, "Hotel California" about the singer/songwriters of the 1970s, Geffen records and the rise of The Eagles. 

"The Mansion On The Hill" by Fred Goodman is an excellent overview of American rock and how it became very big business, focussing in part on Bruce Springsteen's rise.

"Hit Men" by Frederic Dannen deals with the downfall of CBS records and is a real eye-opener.

"White Bicycles - making music in the 1960s" by producer Joe Boyd is his own history, again very good indeed and clearly written.

"Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards" by Al Kooper really lives up to the title.  He's an egomaniac but comes over as likeable and tells a great story.

"All The Rage" by Faces keyboard player Ian Mclagen is terrific - if you can find it.

"Dear Boy" by Tony Fletcher is the huge, absolutely definitive biography of Keith Moon; once more Sgt Peppers comment hits home.  I do not want to read that book again. 

"Songs They Never Play On The Radio" by James Young is an unpleasant, hair-raising and very well-written memoir of Nico's last smack-addled years on the road; Young played keyboards for her during that time.

The Harry Shapiro bio of Jimi Hendrix is the biggest and best researched; there are many books on Hendrix, at least half of which are sensationalist tripe IMO.

Blues: B.B.King's autobiography is good but a bit blanded-out.  Buddy Guy's book is good.  "Can't Be Satisfied" is the biography of Muddy Waters by Robert Gordon and MUCH better than the other one by Sandra Tooze.   The biography of Howlin' Wolf "Moaning at Midnight" is excellent but suffused with great sadness.  Wolf was doing rock n' roll before anyone else.  The story of Chess Records is brilliantly told in "Spinning Blues Into Gold" by Nadine Cohodas, a must-read for anyone into Chicago blues.

I sort of burned out on rock bios a few years ago.   But I recently read 2 about Lennon, one by his late wife Cynthia and the other by his sister.  Both cover the same ground, of course. 

There's a lot out there.  Best wishes.

Edited by jdgm
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I listened to a few audio books. One about Brian Wilson and the rest of the Boys. Brian was a weirdo and lost his mind for a while.

One written by and mostly about Graham Nash and a little bit about the rest CSNY. My wife and I named Nash "The Ego" and all 4  were a bunch of jerks to each other. Massive amounts of Blow didn't help either.

I started one about Steven Tyler and Aerosmith, but got tired of his p-ussy escapades and ego on every page and stopped it. His ego rivals Nash's.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper

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On 9/9/2020 at 8:49 AM, Sgt. Pepper said:

I read one about Zeppelin. Hammer Of The Gods, I think is the title.

Once you start reading about musicians, and if they are your idols and hero's, you are going to realize they are not very nice people.

 

Yeah, Hammer of the Gods is good.  I read that years ago.  I think I gave my copy to my niece.

Jimmy Page: The Definitive Biography by Chris Salewicz is good, and it's pretty up to date (published in 2018).  I really enjoyed it.  

I also liked Peter Green - The Biography by Martin Celmins.

As much as I like EC, I did not like Slowhand  by Phillip Norman.  It was published in 2018.   I guess Norman is a highly regarded author, but I just didn't enjoy the book.

For a little light reading, try Stone Me - The Wit and Wisdom of Keith Richards compiled by Mark Blake or What Would Keith Richards Do?  by Jessica West.

You're right, Sgt. Pepper; some of one's idols and heroes are not always very nice people.

Happy reading!

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3 minutes ago, Mr. Natural said:

 

Yeah, Hammer of the Gods is good.  I read that years ago.  I think I gave my copy to my niece.

Jimmy Page: The Definitive Biography by Chris Salewicz is good, and it's pretty up to date (published in 2018).  I really enjoyed it.  

I also liked Peter Green - The Biography by Martin Celmins.

As much as I like EC, I did not like Slowhand  by Phillip Norman.  It was published in 2018.   I guess Norman is a highly regarded author, but I just didn't enjoy the book.

For a little light reading, try Stone Me - The Wit and Wisdom of Keith Richards compiled by Mark Blake or What Would Keith Richards Do?  by Jessica West.

You're right, Sgt. Pepper; some of one's idols and heroes are not always very nice people.

Happy reading!

I agree. Most are d-ouch's. Even The Beatles were many times not nice people.

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3 minutes ago, Mr. Natural said:

And while we're on the subject, does anyone have any recommendations on a good biography of Mike Bloomfield?

My buddy read one. I can't remember the title. I know there is a picture of him on the cover with a Tele or LP.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper

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