Category Archives: Music

A Review of Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian

Beatles vs. StonesBeatles vs. Stones

by John McMillian

Mr. McMillian states that everyone has an opinion. Who do you like, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Most people can answer that question. Mr. McMillian lets you know that the differences may be less than they appear. He gives you a look at the state of the music business in the early 60s and what both groups were doing at the time. He looks at how much news was media created and gives you some looks behind the PR. He goes on to trace The Stones as they continue to tour and record music long after The Beatles had broken up.

This is a well written and documented look at a debate that has really faded by now. It is interesting, but not terribly relevant to music fans of today. If you are drawn to this book, you will enjoy it, since it has some new information and a slightly different take on the British Invasion of the 1960s.

I give this book 4 Stars out of 5. If this sounds like a book that you would like to read, you probably will enjoy it.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: October 29, 2013

With the sophistication of a historian, the storytelling skills of a journalist, and the passion of a fan, John McMillian explores the multifaceted relationship between the two greatest bands of our time.

In the 1960s an epic battle was waged between the two biggest bands in the world—the clean-cut, mop-topped Beatles and the badboy Rolling Stones. Both groups liked to maintain that they weren’t really “rivals”—that was just a media myth, they politely said—and yet they plainly competed for commercial success and aesthetic credibility. On both sides of the Atlantic, fans often aligned themselves with one group or the other. In Beatles vs. Stones, John McMillian gets to the truth behind the ultimate rock and roll debate.

Painting an eye-opening portrait of a generation dragged into an ideological battle between Flower Power and New Left militance, McMillian reveals how the Beatles-Stones rivalry was created by music managers intent on engineering a moneymaking empire. He describes how the Beatles were marketed as cute and amiable, when in fact they came from hardscrabble backgrounds in Liverpool. By contrast, the Stones were cast as an edgy, dangerous group, even though they mostly hailed from the chic London suburbs. For many years, writers and historians have associated the Beatles with the gauzy idealism of the “good” sixties, placing the Stones as representatives of the dangerous and nihilistic “bad” sixties. Beatles vs. Stones explodes that split, ultimately revealing unseen realities about America’s most turbulent decade through its most potent personalities and its most unforgettable music.

Product Details

Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 29, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1439159696

ISBN-13: 978-1439159699

Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

Hello! I was born and raised in Michigan, and I spent my teenage years in a tiny town called Essexville. Then, like everyone else in my immediate family, I did my undergraduate work at Michigan State University. It was the right choice for me. When I first started, I could not have imagined that I’d eventually want to go into academia, but I had some truly great professors at MSU, and they helped kindle some of my current interests. Later, I got a Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University, and from 2001-2009 I taught in the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature at Harvard.

Back when I was a grad student, I co-edited a couple of books on American radicalism. I still think that’s an important and oft-overlooked topic, but truth be told, I’m not much of a radical myself. (I don’t like being ideologically pigeonholed.) My first full book, “Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media In America,” (Oxford, 2011) is a scholarly monograph, based on my Ph.D. dissertation. My latest, “Beatles Vs. Stones,” (Simon & Schuster, 2013) is a popular history. I examine the friendship and “rivalry” between the two groups, and assess how it was constructed — by fans, the media, and the groups themselves. It’s a short book, but I worked hard on it, and it was a lot of fun to write. Currently I’m an assistant professor of history at Georgia State University, in Atlanta. I love my job, and I’m excited to be getting started on a new project, on Garry Trudeau and his great comic strip, “Doonesbury.”

Thanks so much for your interest. My email address is easy to find, so please feel free to be in touch if you like. Happy reading

The book description is from Amazon. Beatles vs. Stones

A Review of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1 by Mark Lewisohn

Tune InTune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1

by Mark Lewisohn

This book is part 1 of a trilogy, so it ends December 31, 1962. On this date, The Beatles have one single on the charts, but are working on an LP and the next single. Nothing has been released yet in the United States. Most of the stories in this book were new to me since I was never a huge Beatles fan. I liked their music, and bought their later albums, but never read the fanzines or joined their fan club. This is a thoroughly researched and very well written biography of The Beatles.

Mr. Lewisohn has combed though all the sources that he could find and is still asking for more. He lets you walk in each of The Beatles’ shoes. I know more about John Lennon’s childhood than I do about my own. He gives Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr the same level of detail. He also lets you really know the backstories of Stuart Sutcliffe, Pete Best, Brian Epstein, and George Martin. He shows how all these people came together at the right time, with something different, something new, something that nobody expected, and burst on the music scene in 1962, after spending long, hard hours playing music in the “Red Light District” in Hamburg, sleeping in the back of a movie theater near the stinking public toilets, and playing in the overcrowded, underground Cavern Club in Liverpool. The Beatles were a hard-working band that would search though the new music from the US, looking for something new to play in their next show. They were a cover band, but with originality. This book lets you feel like you really know where they came from.

Tune In is a huge book, full of interesting stories, told by an informed author, in an authentic voice. You will have to live in this book for a while, since it is so long, but if you grew up in the 60s and have fond memories of that time, then you will enjoy spending time back there.

I give this 5 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! It is quite a commitment, but worth it.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: October 29, 2013 | Series: The Beatles: All These Years

Tune In is the first volume of All These Years—a highly-anticipated, groundbreaking biographical trilogy by the world’s leading Beatles historian. Mark Lewisohn uses his unprecedented archival access and hundreds of new interviews to construct the full story of the lives and work of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

Ten years in the making, Tune In takes the Beatles from before their childhoods through the final hour of 1962—when, with breakthrough success just days away, they stand on the cusp of a whole new kind of fame and celebrity. They’ve one hit record (“Love Me Do”) behind them and the next (“Please Please Me”) primed for release, their first album session is booked, and America is clear on the horizon.  This is the lesser-known Beatles story—the pre-Fab years of Liverpool and Hamburg—and in many respects the most absorbing and incredible period of them all. Here is the complete and true account of their family lives, childhoods, teenage years and their infatuation with American music, here is the riveting narrative of their unforgettable days and nights in the Cavern Club, their laughs, larks and adventures when they could move about freely, before fame closed in.

For those who’ve never read a Beatles book before, this is the place to discover the young men behind the icons. For those who think they know John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it’s time to press the Reset button and tune into the real story, the lasting word.

Product Details

Hardcover: 944 pages

Publisher: Crown Archetype (October 29, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1400083052

ISBN-13: 978-1400083053

Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 2.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds

About the Author

Mark Lewisohn is the acknowledged world authority on the Beatles. His books include the bestselling and influential Beatles Recording Sessions and Complete Beatles Chronicle. He has been a consultant and researcher on all aspects—TV, DVDs, CDs and book—of the Beatles’ own Anthology and has been involved in numerous additional projects for them as well as independent works like this one. Married with two children, he lives in England.

The book description is from Amazon. Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1

A Review of The Guitar & Amp Sourcebook by Mike Abbot

Guitar and Amp SourcebookThe Guitar & Amp Sourcebook

by Mike Abbot

This is a great book about guitars and amps. It is a chronological listing from the middle ages to the present. Each chapter covers a stretch of time. The first chapter is the “Ancestry of the Guitar “. Chapter two covers the “Early 20th Century “. Then by chapter four, “The 1940’s”, each chapter covers a decade.

There are short descriptive paragraphs covering, what seems like, nearly every make and model of guitar and amp ever made, along with pictures of many of them. There are also “Battle of the Axes”. Which are comparisons of the characteristics and the pros and cons of two guitars, such as the “Battle” between the Fender Strat and the Gibson Les Paul on page 162-3. There are many artist’s pictures and short articles describing the contribution they made to a guitar design. There are also many ads and catalog excerpts, showing a historical perspective.

This would be a worthwhile addition to any guitar players library. I give this book 4 1/2 stars, because I would have liked to see a few more pictures.

I received this book for free from NetGalley, but I like it so much that I plan on purchasing a couple of copies for gifts.

Book Description

Publication Date: November 1, 2012

Did you know that John Lennon played an Epiphone Casino? Or that the guitarists of Sonic Youth and Wilco favored Fender Jazzmasters? Or that Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters so loved the Trini Lopez that Gibson created a signature model of it for him?

They’re the biggest and baddest axes in the world—and they’re all here! The Guitar & Amp Sourcebook is an illustrated history contains the most important guitars and amps—the ones that have rocked our world and changed history. You’ll get the skinny on the most popular models, the vintage pieces, and the rare beauties, as well as brand comparisons like Gibson vs Fender, recommendations for the best beginner equipment, and a listing of the guitars used by popular musicians.

Sprinkled with quotes from musicians on their personal favorites and advice from a pro about the best pieces, this is the book no guitar lover should be without.

Product Details

Paperback: 472 pages

Publisher: Thunder Bay Press (November 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1607105659

ISBN-13: 978-1607105657

Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.3 x 1.3 inches

Shipping Weight: 4 pounds

About the Author

Author Mike Abbott is a pro guitarist who has been performing, recording, and touring with bands for over 15 years. He has performed with the Rolling Stones Horns, Sammy Davis, Jr., Burt Bacharach, and Paul Schaffer from the David Letterman Show. He is also the editor and owner of a music website.

Product descriptions and author information was quoted from Amazon The Guitar & Amp Sourcebook

Review of Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski

Light and Shade Cover

Light and Shade

Conversations with Jimmy Page

Brad Tolinski

This book is a joy to read for anyone that enjoys rock guitar whether as a player or a listener. A must read! This book goes way beyond anything that has been written about the reclusive Jimmy Page.

Brad Tolinski was able to get close to Jimmy Page and got him to talk about his music. This book has all the details that any musician or music lover could wish for. Page talks to Tolinski about guitars, tunings, chords, and amps. They talk about how Page was able to get a specific sound on an individual song. They discus the interplay between Bonham’s drums, Jones’ Bass, Page’s guitar, and Plant’s vocals and how they were able to all come to agreement on the roles that each would play in Led Zeppelin.

The book covers the time when page was a studio musician, before Led Zeppelin was formed, up to what Page is doing in 2012. The conversations with Page are interspersed with interviews with other musicians who have worked with Page, such as Jeff Beck, Chris Dreja, John Paul Jones, Jack White, and Paul Rogers.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

I was given an e-book version of Light and Shade for review purposes by Crown Publications and Net Galley.

Description

The “oral autobiography” of Jimmy Page, the intensely private, interview-averse lead guitarist and mastermind behind Led Zeppelin–one of the most enduring bands in rock history–and the most complete, in-his-own-words portrait of the guitarist ever published.

More than 30 years after disbanding in 1980, Led Zeppelin continues to be celebrated for its artistic achievements, broad musical influence, and commercial success. The band’s notorious exploits have been chronicled in bestselling books such as Stephen Davis’s Hammer of the Gods. Yet none of the individual members of the band has penned a memoir nor cooperated to any degree with the press or a biographer. Iconic guitarist and Led Zeppelin founder, Jimmy Page, is both the band’s most reticent member and the one who most fascinates Zep’s huge fan base. For the first time and in his own words, he opens up to journalist Brad Tolinski, exploring in-depth his remarkable life and musical journey.

Title Details

Crown Publishing Group

Crown Trade

Pub Date: Oct 23 2012

ISBN: 9780307985712

Price: 26.00

Currency: USD

Edition: Hardcover

Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the Author

Brad Tolinski has been the editor-in-chief of Guitar World, the world’s best-selling magazine for musicians, for more than two decades. He has interviewed and profiled most of popular music’s greatest guitarists, including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Eddie Van Halen, Jack White and Jeff Beck. He is also the author of the deluxe-edition illustrated books Classic Hendrix: The Ultimate Hendrix Experience and The Faces: 1969–75.

Review of Love Me Do by Bill Harry

Love Me Do by Bill Harry
Love Me Do by Bill Harry

Love Me Do

Behind the Scenes at the Recording of the Beatles’ First Recording

by Bill Harry

Miniver Press

This is a short book about the beginnings of the recording career of The Beatles written by a close acquaintance. Bill Harry knew The Beatles before they had a recording contract and wrote about them in a local Liverpool publication “Mersey Beat”. This is a behind the scenes look at the process of getting a demo recorded and record made in 1962. An interesting read for anyone who liked the early Beatles.

This e-book is 99 cents on Amazon or free for Amazon Prime members.

I was sent a free review e-book by Net Galley.

Description

“Love Me Do” was the Beatles’s first single. Longtime Beatles friend and fan Bill Harry takes us behind the scenes in honor of the 50th anniversary. He tells about how Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr after the first recording session, how John stole his harmonica, why the vocal was switched from John to Paul, how George got a black eye, and the real story behind the legend that Brian Epstein bought thousands of records to get the song on the charts.

Product Details

File Size: 414 KB

Print Length: 46 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: Miniver Press (September 7, 2012)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00993ER0I

Pub Date: Oct 1 2012

ISBN: 9780985738907

About the author

Bill Harry (born 17 September 1938), is the creator of Mersey Beat; a newspaper of the early 1960s which focused on the Liverpool music scene. Harry had previously started various magazines and newspapers, such as Biped and Premier, while at Liverpool’s Junior School of Art. He later attended the Liverpool College of Art, where his fellow students included John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe, who both later performed with The Beatles. He published a magazine, Jazz, in 1958, and worked as an assistant editor on the University of Liverpool’s charity magazine, Pantosphinx. Harry met his wife-to-be, Virginia Sowry, at the Jacaranda club—managed by Allan Williams, the first manager of The Beatles—and she later agreed to help him start a music newspaper. After borrowing £50, Harry released the first issue of Mersey Beat on 6 July 1961, with the first 5,000 copies selling out within a short time.