Title: 1966 – The Year the Decade Exploded

Author: John Savage

Pages: 640 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

From the acclaimed author of the classic book on Punk, England’s Dreaming, comes a history of the pivotal moment in the 1960s that changed pop culture forever.

The pop world accelerated and broke through the sound barrier in 1966. In America, in London, in Amsterdam, in Paris, revolutionary ideas slow-cooking since the late ’50s reached boiling point. In the worlds of pop, pop art, fashion and radical politics, often fueled by perception-enhancing substances and literature, the ‘Sixties’, as we have come to know them, hit their Modernist peak. 

A unique chemistry of ideas, substances, freedom of expression and dialogue across pop cultural continents created a landscape of immense and eventually shattering creativity. After 1966 nothing in the pop world would ever be the same. The 7 inch single outsold the long-player for the final time. It was the year in which the ever lasting and transient pop moment would burst forth in its most articulate, instinctive and radical way.

Jon Savage’s 1966 is a monument to the year that shaped the pop future of the balance of the century. Exploring canonical artists like The Beatles, The Byrds, Velvet Underground, The Who and The Kinks, 1966 also goes much deeper into the social and cultural heart of the decade through unique archival primary sources.

The Review

1966 is a comprehensive look at an impactful year in music and society in general. Savage takes you on a musical journey highlighting the important figures and events in music and politics that changed the face of the world as it had been known.

Artists such as The Beatles, Otis Redding, The Supremes among many others are celebrated and their stories are told, about how their actions altered things so much that we still feel the changes today.

Personally, I feel that 1966 is best served as an academic text. To read it for pleasure – which I was doing – felt a bit heavy. However, to read with purpose would make this book a lot more enjoyable. Regardless of this 1966 is a fascinating and thorough read.

1966 – The Year the Decade Exploded by Jon Savage is available now.

For more information regarding Jon Savage (@JonSavage1966) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.

Title: Sounds Like Teen Spirit – Stolen Melodies, Ripped-Off Riffs, and the Secret History of Rock and Roll

Author: Tim English

Pages: 175 Pages

Publisher: Self Published

The Blurb

This 2016 edition of Sounds Like Teen Spirit provides hundreds of pairings of songs that appear to have “borrowed” their melodies from earlier songs. Readers will discover the music that influnced the songs of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and many more.

Sounds Like Teen Spirit covers recent plagirism cases involveing Robin Thicke, Sam Smith and Coldplay as well as famous cases such as when George Harrison was sued over his song “My Sweet Lord” by the publishers of the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine”

Readers will never hear the familiar songs in quite the same way after reading Sounds Like Teen Spirit. For example, the Doors’ “Hello I Love You” has the same melody and the Kinks’ “All Day and All Night,” and the riff that powered Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a variation on the guitar riff from Boston’s “More than a Feeling.”

Sounds Like Teen Spirit explains that creative artists are influenced by a wide and often surprising range of sources. For instance, John Lennon’s song “Imagine” may have have been influenced by a novelty song that his father recorded to cash in on his son’s fame, and Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” contains the melody from “The Banana Splits Theme!”

The Review

Sounds Like Teen Spirit is a music nerds dream book. It looks at the similarity between songs throughout history and the court cases that followed. It is informative and entertaining and also highlights some music similarities that I hadn’t noticed. It is really interesting.

For me, sometimes the sections were too long. If you weren’t a fan of a particular band or artist that had been focused on then the chapter seemed to drag but there is enough more entertaining information in the book to outweigh this small negative.

Sounds Like Teen Spirit is the perfect stocking filler book for the music lover in your life. Yes I did just mention stocking fillers in April.

Sounds Like Teen Spirit – Stolen Melodies, Ripped-Off Riffs, and the Secret History of Rock and Roll by Tim English is available now.

Title: Meet Me in the Bathroom – Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001 – 2011

Author: Lizzy Goodman

Pages: 622 Pages

Publisher: Dey Street Books

The Blurb

Joining the ranks of the classics Please Kill Me, Our Band Could Be Your Life, and Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, an intriguing oral history of the post-9/11 decline of the old-guard music industry and rebirth of the New York rock scene, led by a group of iconoclastic rock bands.

In the second half of the twentieth-century New York was the source of new sounds, including the Greenwich Village folk scene, punk and new wave, and hip-hop. But as the end of the millennium neared, cutting-edge bands began emerging from Seattle, Austin, and London, pushing New York further from the epicenter. The behemoth music industry, too, found itself in free fall, under siege from technology. Then 9/11/2001 plunged the country into a state of uncertainty and war—and a dozen New York City bands that had been honing their sound and style in relative obscurity suddenly became symbols of glamour for a young, web-savvy, forward-looking generation in need of an anthem.

Meet Me in the Bathroom charts the transformation of the New York music scene in the first decade of the 2000s, the bands behind it—including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend—and the cultural forces that shaped it, from the Internet to a booming real estate market that forced artists out of the Lower East Side to Williamsburg. Drawing on 200 original interviews with James Murphy, Julian Casablancas, Karen O, Ezra Koenig, and many others musicians, artists, journalists, bloggers, photographers, managers, music executives, groupies, models, movie stars, and DJs who lived through this explosive time, journalist Lizzy Goodman offers a fascinating portrait of a time and a place that gave birth to a new era in modern rock-and-roll.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Meet Me in the Bathroom is fascinating. I think everyone has that period in time when music plays a vital role in their formative years. For my mum it was the summer of 1976. For me, it was 2000 – 2011. The bands and artists featured in Meet Me in the Bathroom were my musical guides. They were the most played artists on my iPod and they were the bands I rocked out to at gigs and festivals. I never thought I would have a book like this that reflected on such a fluid time period. I especially did not think I would get to read a book that featured Adam Green (one of my musical heroes).

What is absolutely brilliant about Meet Me in the Bathroom is that it isn’t just the voice of the author Lizzy Goodman. These are the stories of the people within that scene. What makes it even better is that the stories all have a connecting root but each artist seems to have lived it slightly differently or had their own take on it. It is truth in its difference. Fascinating.

For those of you who lived and loved music during this time period, when indie bands seemed to rule the world (your own personal world at least) the Meet Me in the Bathroom is the book for you. You get the inside knowledge from the artists who lived it and it allows you to look back on a time when you felt invincible. 

Meet Me in the Bathroom – Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001 – 2011 by Lizzy Goodman is available now.

For more information regarding Lizzy Goodman (@lizzydgoodman) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Dey Street Books (@deystreet) please visit www.DeyStreetBooks.com.

Title: Me

Author: Elton John

Pages: 374 Pages

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

The Blurb

In his only official autobiography, music icon Elton John writes about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the film Rocketman.

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three, he was on his first tour of America, facing an astonished audience in his tight silver hotpants, bare legs and a T-shirt with ROCK AND ROLL emblazoned across it in sequins. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation. All the while, Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.

In Me Elton also writes about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Elton John has always been a constant in my life. His music was ever present – school journeys home with my mum signing Sacrifice (badly) spring to mind but besides his music I didn’t really know to much about the man himself.

I watched the biopic Rocket Man and I loved it so decided that the natural next step would be to read his autobiography and find out more.

With Me you get more into the nitty gritty. Whilst the film can represent scenes of Elton john’s life and to some extent show the emotion of the moment the written word tells you just how the person was feeling. It guides you, allows you to make up your own mind. You aren’t told to feel a certain way, you are allowed to feel things on your own terms.

What is brilliant about Me is that Elton John does not hold back. Even when he himself does not come across too well. He has led a fascinating life – at times  it has been dark and dangerous and at other times it is just full of brilliant experiences and epic memories. It is such a joy that he has decided to share them.

Me is by far one of the better autobiographies that I have ever read.

Me by Elton John is available now.

For more information regarding Elton John (@eltonofficial) please visit www.eltonjohn.com.

For more information regarding Henry Holt & Company (@HenryHolt) please visit www.henryholt.com.

Title: My Thoughts Exactly

Author: Lily Allen

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Blink Publishing

The Blurb

So, this is me. Lily Allen.

I am a woman.

I am a mother.

I was a wife.

I drink.

I have taken drugs.

I have loved and been let down.

I am a success and a failure.

I am a songwriter.

I am a singer.

I am all these things and more.

When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better.

This is my story. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Lily Allen – always outspoken but always true to herself. On paper, she is exactly everything you expect her to be and exactly how she comes across in interviews – passionate, caring and fierce. Her trademark ‘don’t give a crap’ attitude isn’t a costume she wears. She tells you things exactly how she sees them. She will deal with the consequences later.

My Thoughts Exactly gives you an insight into the life behind the circus of music and celebrity. Her life has been (and still is) beyond interesting. From her relationship with both of her parents to her rise to music fame – My Thoughts Exactly is an amazing account of what it is like to be a woman in the music industry.

My Thoughts Exactly is a must read.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen is available now.

For more information regarding Lily Allen (@LilyAllen) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Blink Publishing (@BlinkPublishing) please visit www.blinkpublishing.co.uk.