Category: Book reviews

THE BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2017 – Evening Standard, 14 Dec 2017

  As Mike Love reportedly said to Brian Wilson when The Beach Boys began putting art before commerce: “Don’t fuck with the formula.” He wouldn’t be happy perusing the music books of 2017. The recipe of the rock biography – impoverished childhood, impoverished early life in a band, commercial triumph and finally becoming poverished, ruination by drink, drugs, women or… Read more →

THE BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2016 – Evening Standard, 8 Dec 2016

Other musicians had to up their game when it came to putting pen to paper in the year that Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s all very well ‘fessing up to your drug, alcohol and marriage problems, but what about the prose style?   It might be the success of Dylan’s first Chronicles volume in 2005… Read more →

BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2014 – Evening Standard, 4 Dec 2014

Who better to represent the true spirit of this season of excess than a bunch of rock stars? This year’s crop of music biographies, auto- or otherwise, sometimes follow a path we know so well: miserable obscurity/glittering success/druggy tarnish/boring old redemption.   Joe Perry’s Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith (Simon & Schuster, GBP20), like his music, has… Read more →

RAY DAVIES BIOGRAPHY book review – Evening Standard, 26 Feb 2015

Johnny Rogan – Ray Davies: A Complicated Life (The Bodley Head, £25)   When I interviewed Ray Davies I found him to be awkward, irritable and not in the habit of giving straight answers. Veteran music biographer Johnny Rogan’s exhaustive exploration of the Kinks man’s life has reassured me that it wasn’t my fault.   It suggests that Davies has… Read more →