Books about Van Halen, McCartney lyrics, The Doors and more

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The shopping season is pretty much over this year and if you’re struggling to find something to attract the music lover into your life, Rock Music Menu is here with the annual holiday gift guide to help you out. This week, we take a look at 10 of the best 2021 books on rock and roll and beyond.

Whether it’s a coffee table-sized look at Led Zeppelin’s bootleg vinyl, memoirs of rock and roll legends, or tributes to a guitar icon, there will definitely be a title. for someone on your list. Look closely and, for the second year in a row, you will even see something of yours truly.

‘THE WORDS: 1956 TO THE PRESENT’
PAUL MCCARTNEY

In this extraordinary two-volume ensemble, Paul McCartney recounts his life and his art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career. From his early childhood compositions through the legendary decade of the Beatles, to Wings and his solo albums to the present day. Organized alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological narrative, it establishes for the first time definitive texts of the song’s lyrics and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what ‘he thinks so now. Macca has indicated that this is as close as possible to a memory of him, and it is more than enough.

“THE STORYTELLER: TALES OF LIFE AND MUSIC”
DAVE GROHL

Speaking of memories, “The Storyteller” offers Dave Grohl the opportunity to shed light on the life he led while making his dreams come true. From learning to drum on pillows himself to dropping out of high school to tour European clubs and squats at 18, his years in Nirvana and decades in Foo Fighters, it’s quite a journey. He also details playing with Tom Petty on Saturday Night Live, jamming with Iggy Pop, swing dancing with AC / DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, having Paul McCartney for a tour, bedtime stories with Joan Jett and a chance encounter with Little Richard with the simple pleasures of family life.

‘VAN HALEN: THE ERUPTION AND THE AFTER-SHOCK’
MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER

There are three major books on Van Halen released this year around the first anniversary of Eddie Van Halen’s death, and let’s start with the most obvious and biased. Rather than looking at the life of the guitarist, I wanted to take a look at the overall history of the band from the early days until the last concerts in 2015, where the story ended. Along with new exclusive interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Ratt, Pantera and many more, there’s also a wealth of never-before-seen commentary from former VH Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Gary Cherone. True work of passion, there is something to learn for the newcomer or even the most die-hard Van Halen fan.

‘ART SLEEVES: ALBUM COVERS BY ARTISTS’
DB BURKEMAN

A time capsule of visual art and musical culture, “Art Sleeves: Album Covers by Artists” features the most important record covers designed by visual artists and graphic designers over the past forty years. Curated by DB Burkeman, the eclectic list of visual artist-musicians collaborations on display spans artistic and musical genres as well as generations, including Ryan McGinley for Sigur Rós, Peter Saville for Joy Division, Jeff Koons for Lady Gaga and Stanley Donwood for Radiohead, just to name a few.

“FIRE THE NIGHT: LIVE, DIE AND PLAY THE GUITAR WITH THE DOORS”
ROBBY KRIEGER

Kreiger is the last Doors member to publish a memoir after frontman Jim Morrison’s untimely death in 1971. Through a series of vignettes, the guitarist takes readers to the pawnshop where he purchased his first instrument, the Prison Cell. where it was thrown. after a teenage drug seizure, her first songwriting sessions with Jim Morrison, the studios where their iconic songs were recorded and the concert halls that erupted in riots. ‘Set the Night on Fire’ offers a new perspective on the most infamous moments of the band’s career.

‘ERUPTION: CONVERSATIONS WITH EDDIE VAN HALEN’
BRAD TOLINSKI AND CHRIS GILL

In “Eruption”, music journalists Brad Tolinski and Chris Gill delve into the story of one of history’s most innovative guitarists, based on over 50 hours of never-before-seen interviews they recorded with Eddie Van Halen over the years. Most of them were conducted at the legendary 5150 Studios at Eddie’s Los Angeles home, and the heart of the book is drawn from these intimate and varied discussions, as well as conversations with family, friends and relatives. colleagues.

” SOUVENIRS “
SINÉAD O’CONNOR

Throughout ‘Rememberings’ Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor tells her painful story of growing up in Dublin in a dysfunctional and abusive home. Inspired by the records of a brother of Bob Dylan, she escaped into music and recounts her first forays with local bands. She talks about finishing her debut album while eight months pregnant, hanging out with rastas in the East Village and achieving unimaginable popularity with her cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2U”. Unsurprisingly, the book is intimate, full of candid anecdotes, and told in a singular form true to his unconventional career, making it a truly remarkable chronicle.

‘LED ZEPPELIN VINYL’
ROSS HALF-FIN

Led Zeppelin has only released eight studio albums, but somehow there are over 1,000 singles and 2,000 full LPs on the market if you look closely enough. All are unofficial of course, but for vinyl collectors and die-hard fans of the band, this is where some of the pure gold lies. The ‘Led Zeppelin Vinyl: The Essential Collection’ tabletop book illustrates in color some of the rarest and most interesting of these, including unique rarities, bizarre regional variations, official albums and pirate recordings of legendary concerts. , sometimes featuring handmade artwork or colored vinyl.

‘UNCHAINED: THE STORY OF EDDIE VAN HALEN’
PAUL BRANNIGAN

What’s most interesting about “Unchained” is the way it has been running for so many years with various titles – it was released in Europe over the summer under the name “Eruption” – and is expected to. released in 2015. Is it worth the wait, especially with so many other titles on Eddie Van Halen? The answer is a simple “Yes”. Brannigan has written some excellent tomes on Metallica and Dave Grohl before, so while so many of these stories are familiar, there is still enough new interviews and material to be gleaned to satisfy diehards.

“NTHIN BUT A GOOD TIME: THE UNCENSORED STORY OF THE HARD ROCK EXPLOSION OF THE 1980s”
TOM BEAUJOUR AND RICHARD BIENSTOCK

To be completely honest this was somewhat of a letdown as it was billed as being filled with new interviews and new shots on the hair metal explosion, but the reality is anything but, with much of it taken from secondary sources and pre-existing memories. However, for those with even a fleeting curiosity for the rise and fall of the genre, there are all of the major players that make up a solid oral history.

Rock Music Menu’s “Vinyl of the Week” will be back in 2022

To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, email [email protected] Also check out his blog at thechroniclesofmc.com

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