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Tue, 09 Jun 2009 04:51
Richie Unterberger is the author of numerous rock history books. His latest, White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-By-Day, is the most thorough book on the band ever written.
Richie lives in San Francisco and here is a list of his Top Ten Music Books:
Always Magic in the Air by Ken Emerson
A sweeping overview of the Brill Building New York pop-rock factory of the early 1960s. It balances critical insight with loads of entertaining anecdotes about great songwriting teams like Carole King-Gerry Goffin, Ellie Greenwich-Jeff Barry, Doc Pomus-Mort Shuman, Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach-Hal David, and Barry Mann-Cynthia Weil.
Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon by Tony Fletcher
Not just a mammoth biography of the greatest rock drummer, this also serves as a good story of the Who themselves. It's also a tragicomic document of the most excessive rock'n'roll lifestyle bar none.
Follow the Music by Jac Holzman and Gavan Daws
One of the greatest oral histories of twentieth century popular music details the rise of Holzman's Elektra Records, the most creative American independent record label. It's the tale not just of a company, but also of the trail blazed by the US music counterculture from the folk boom through the psychedelic rock of the Doors, Elektra's most celebrated act.
Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller
The fascinating personal lives behind major women singer-songwriters Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon. The volume dishes out plenty of compelling gossip, but isn't short of intelligent observations about their music and how they both reflected and paved the way for feminist breakthroughs.
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
It's not exactly an obscure nomination for the best fictional treatment of record collector/music fan geeks. But it remains the most accurate and funniest one by a mile.
The Byrds: Timeless Flight -- The Sequel by Johnny Rogan
Heroically exhaustive, but always highly readable, biography of one of the greatest rock bands of the 1960s.
The intriguing, often funny, and often sad life of a man who lived out the on-the-edge rock'n'roll ethos just as fiercely as the wildest artists he wrote about.
Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now by Barry Miles
Somewhat overlooked after the appearance of the in-their-own-words The Beatles Anthology, this earlier combination biography/oral history has tons of long quotes from McCartney about the greatest group of all, and inside stories about the writing of virtually all of the Lennon-McCartney songs. In some ways, Paul's comments here seem more honest or at least no-holds-barred than his more diplomatic observations in other sources.
The first major history of the complicated relationship between rock music and radical politics from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s. It succeeds because it pays equal attention to both the politics and the music, illustrating their admirable altruistic ambitions, but also the na
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