Winston Churchill’s political career spanned over 50 years, during which time he was alternately at the centre of power and out of favour. He is most remembered for his inspirational leadership in the second world war and his rousing speeches urging Britain to fight on. This book reveals the influences that shaped his life and career and looks at his strengths and weaknesses.
Quotation panels, featuring many of Churchill’s well-known sayings and comments, and the opinions of his well-known contemporaries, such as Stalin, are scattered liberally throughout. The final chapter examines his legacy and attempts to answer the question: how justifiable is his reputation in view of his achievements?
Meet Monsieur Benoit, who appeared suddenly in Paris with a scheme for telegraphing messages across the world (or, at least, across the room) by means of electricity and the telepathic power of snails, and actually raised the money to build this extraordinary machine.
His powers of persuasion clearly exceeded those of Colonel Baker, who seemed the personification of Victorian solidity until that embarrassing incident in the sealed railway compartment, where he failed to entice Miss Dickinson to join in his bit of fun, and afterwards had to try and explain his conduct to the High Court, with the whole nation hanging on his every word.
Here is a fascinating collection of some of history’s most extraordinary characters. Richard Glyn Jones has cast his net wide to gather these accounts of human oddity and eccentricity, and the standard of his writing is high, with Lytton Strachey, Derek Hudson, Christopher Sykes and Ronald Knox among the authors included. Hilariously funny, sometimes rather sad, but invariably interesting, this is a superbly diverting book. And, with a couple of tiny exceptions, it’s all true.
Her iconic blonde looks, stunning voice and songs of loneliness and melancholy have endeared her to millions, yet Agnetha Faltskog remains an enigmatic and distant figure. From her success as a teenage singer and songwriter in Sweden in the late 1960s to her years of global superstardom with pop giants ABBA and beyond, Agnetha has fascinated generations of fans. Her beaming smile graced record sleeves, television screens and magazine covers around the world yet never quite managed to conceal her natural shyness and vulnerability. Agnetha Faltskog The Girl With The Golden Hair is the first full-length biography dedicated to the life and career of the one of the most beloved and successful performers in music history.
Charting Agnetha’s journey from her early days fronting a local dance band in the small industrial city of Jonkoping, through her decade as one of the most famous and popular singers in the world, and the years of self-imposed exile that followed until her surprising and successful comeback in 2013, Agnetha Faltskog The Girl With The Golden Hair will delight her many legions of fans and any readers with an interest in the history of popular music.
As known for her fraught personal life as her chart-topping songs, Amy Winehouse who died at the age of 27 in July 2011 was one of the most compelling vocalists in the world. But despite this fact, it was her self-destructive excesses that made headlines. Drinking binges, self-harm, eating disorders, drug abuse, and a turbulent marriage overshadowed her music even as her record sales soared, and the media watched eagerly as Amy’s world imploded. This richly illustrated biography tells her story in full, from childhood through to the pleasures and pains of superstardom, her blazing talent, the years she lost to her addictions, the final days before her death, and the legacy of her raw and heartfelt music.
The children’s novel “Black Beauty” was written by Anna Sewell in her fifties and she sold it outright for GBP20. She did not live to know of its success. This work chronicles her extraordinary life from the tragic accident that left her lame at the age of 14 to the writing of her novel from her death bed.
A vivid, first-hand account of Nobel Prize-winning singer and songwriter Bob Dylan as an artist, friend, and celebrity, illustrated with never-before-seen photographs, and told by an engaging raconteur who cut his own swathe through the turbulent counterculture.
August 2014 marks 50 years since Bob Dylan released his fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan. Recorded in one night, in the middle of a turbulent year in his life, the music marked a departure from Dylan’s socially-conscious folk songs and began his evolution toward other directions.
During the years they spent together, few people outside of Dylan’s immediate family were closer than Victor Maymudes, who was Dylan’s tour manager, personal friend, and travelling companion from the early days in 1960s Greenwich Village through the late 90’s. Another Side of Bob Dylan recounts landmark events including Dylan’s infamous motorcycle crash; meeting the Beatles on their first US tour; his marriage to Sara Lownds, his romances with Suze Rotolo, Joan Baez, and others; fellow travelers Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Wavy Gravy, Dennis Hopper, The Band, The Traveling Wilburys, and more; memorable concerts, and insights on Dylan’s songwriting process.
On January 26th, 2001, after recording more than 24 hours of taped memories in preparation for writing this book, Victor Maymudes suffered an aneurysm and died. His son Jacob has written the book, using the tapes to shape the story.
This is the book that thoughtful readers of Charles Bukowski have been waiting for. Based on extensive research, it places Bukowski’s poetry in it’s American cultural context, and explores the key poems and collections in his development. It traces magazines, literary contacts and influences from the mid-1940’s to The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992).
Want to know about Bukowski and the movies, the Beats, Hemingway, Céline and Walt Whitman? About how and why Bukowski formed his unique style and image? And about where he fits in to West Coast and post-War American verse? Scholarly but accessible, this is the essential book to have. Also contains drawings by David Hernandez, rare photographs of C.B., and a preface by Gerald Locklin. – The Editor
Elvis Presley is a giant figure in American popular culture, a man whose talent and fame were matched only by his later excesses and tragic end. A godlike entity in the history of rock and roll, this twentieth-century icon with a dazzling voice blended gospel and traditionally black rhythm and blues with country to create a completely new kind of music and new way of expressing male sexuality, which simply blew the doors off a staid and repressed 1950s America.
In Being Elvis veteran rock journalist Ray Connolly takes a fresh look at the career of the world’s most loved singer, placing him, forty years after his death, not exhaustively in the garish neon lights of Las Vegas but back in his mid-twentieth-century, distinctly southern world. For new and seasoned fans alike, Connolly, who interviewed Elvis in 1969, re-creates a man who sprang from poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi, to unprecedented overnight fame, eclipsing Frank Sinatra and then inspiring the Beatles along the way.
Intimate and unsparing, Being Elvis explores the extravagance and irrationality inherent in the Elvis mythology, ultimately offering a thoughtful celebration of an immortal life.
“Springsteen is probably the distillation of all that is best about American music rolled into one great artist, and in this book Marc Dolan goes into immense detail to prove it.” Irish Independent
Marc Dolan traces the cultural, political and personal forces that shaped the music of Bruce Springsteen. Beyond his constant stylistic adaptations, Springsteen developed from being the voice of a guy from working class New Jersey to writing about the larger issues facing America. Dolan draws on a range of new and little-known sources, making this an indispensable reference for avid Springsteen fans as well as those interested in learning the stories behind his music. Combining political analysis, music history and colourful storytelling, Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll reveals how a gifted, ambitious community college dropout achieved superstardom and spent decades refining what he wanted his music to say. Updated with a new chapter on The Promise, Wrecking Ball and the 2012 tour.
For over forty years, Bruce Springsteen has been on top of the rock n roll stage with 18 studio albums – from his debut Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. to 2014 s High Hopes – his a life dedicated to music-making and committed songwriting. This book examines every part of his musical career, discussing influences and how his background shaped his songwriting. His albums have reflected deeply-felt passions and concerns, from the position of the American working man in The River and Nebraska, to deep personal relationships in Tunnel of Love; from the bleak vistas in Darkness on the Edge of Town to the anger of Born in the U.S.A.
BTS is the breakthrough K-pop band. For the first time, this unofficial biography tells the story of the Korean boy band with a global army of fans, who have propelled their heroes to the top of the charts all over the world.
Seven good-looking boys – RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook – who can dance as well as they can rap and sing, are tearing up the global music charts. Nothing new? Think again. BTS, who rose to fame in their native South Korea in 2013 and who sing almost entirely in Korean, are now a sensation in the US, the UK and the rest of the world.
K-pop is a growing phenomenon in the West, and over the last few years, it has steadily gathered a huge global following. With their talent, dedication, good looks, fabulous choreography, and catchy blend of pop, hip hop and RnB, BTS are leading the advance.
Extensively researched, and written in an upbeat and accessible style, this book interweaves the success stories of each of the boys with how the band got together, while documenting their amazing rise to fame in Southeast Asia, and then the world. It includes 16 pages of full colour photographs of the band playing live, posing and having fun.
For Romany Eva Petulengro, marrying outside her culture was a big step to take. And now she had to adapt to living with a gorger – and her husband had to adapt to living with her! In this charming sequel to The Girl in the Painted Caravan, she describes their first eventful years of married life in Brighton, and the birth of their four children She also reveals how she became famous as a clairvoyant, the advice her clients needed, and the attack from an enraged wife who assumed her husband’s meetings with Eva meant he was having an affair.
In the Swinging Sixties, a sheltered Romany girl could easily find herself out of her depth, and Eva’s innocence led her into some strange situations, including a narrow escape from a notorious duchess. She also weaves in the story of her wider family, from her brother Nathan’s romance and the adventures of her charming brother Eddie to her aunts and cousins in Blackpool. Funny and heartwarming, Caravans and Wedding Bands is a poignant reminder of a time when life was changing irrevocably for the Romany, and yet their spirit remained the same.
Across almost 50 years, Winston Churchill produced more than 500 paintings. His subjects included his family homes at Blenheim and Chartwell, evocative coastal scenes on the French Riviera, and many sun-drenched depictions of Marrakesh in Morocco, as well as still life pictures and an extraordinarily revealing self-portrait, painted during a particularly troubled time in his life. In war and peace, Churchill came to enjoy painting as his primary means of relaxation from the strain of public affairs.
In his introduction to Churchill: The Statesman as Artist, David Cannadine provides the most important account yet of Churchill’s life in art, which was not just a private hobby, but also, from 1945 onwards, an essential element of his public fame. The first part of this book brings together for the first time all of Churchill’s writings and speeches on art, not only ‘Painting as a Pastime’, but his addresses to the Royal Academy, his reviews of two of the Academy’s summer exhibitions, and an important speech he delivered about art and freedom in 1937.
The second part of the book provides previously uncollected critical accounts of his work by some of Churchill’s contemporaries: Augustus John’s hitherto unpublished introduction to the Royal Academy exhibition of Churchill’s paintings in 1959, and essays and reviews by Churchill’s acquaintances Sir John Rothenstein, Professor Thomas Bodkin and the art critic Eric Newton. The book is lavishly illustrated with reproductions of many of Churchill’s paintings, some of them appearing for the first time. Here is Churchill the artist more fully revealed than ever before.
David Lean’s films were nominated for an astonishing 57 Academy Awards, of which 27 won Oscars. He made unique movies on a grand scale, with huge stories on vast canvases. He was aided by hundreds of technicians, thousands of extras and the most talented actors in the world. Yet he singularly controlled this vast army giving pleasure and inspiration to millions.
His films reflected his own life – the single brooding perfectionist force to a great endeavour – whether they be Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago or Brief Encounter. Collated by his widow, Lady Sandra Lean, this is a highly personal account in text and images by the people that came into contact with David through his work and his private life.
Thousands of words have been written about David Lean the film director and the work he created. Yet until now, very little has been said about the man who sacrificed his private life for his art. Six marriages are proof of a man whose preferred family was the film crew and whose personal life was always subservient to making films. Yet, without a strong understanding of human emotion, how could a man make so many productions that touched the hearts of millions?
In this fascinating book, the answers are presented in both text and pictures. David always said that a good book should contain “Really good pictures…That’s all. Just bloody good pictures.” Illustrated throughout with over 300 well-known and previously unpublished photographs, which are complemented by David’s inspiration: letters, quotations, memorabilia or an anecdote relating to his travels or his films David Lean – An Intimate Portrait is a unique study, containing a wealth of fascinating photography, of a man who continues to entertain millions.
The man, the music, the mythology – everyone knows Elvis, right? From the swinging hips and tempestuous love life to the peanut butter and banana sandwiches. But how do the iconic snapshots and the snippets of rumour match up with the truth about the man behind the legend? Michael Freedland’s Elvis Memories sets out to answer precisely that question – and succeeds in grand style, giving us a rare and privileged glimpse into the intimate recollections of the people who really knew him. On a journey that spans the United States, Freedland introduces us to Presley’s friends, family and followers, taking in the kids who competed against him in childhood talent shows, the members of the ‘Memphis Mafia’ who went everywhere with him and the maid who prepared those infamous sandwiches and watched him line up the girls he wanted to take to his bed. Thirty-five years after the death of the man we still call ‘The King’, Elvis Memories offers a unique chance to see the real Elvis Presley through the eyes of those who shared his life.
George Young wasn’t so much on the charts for the best part of three decades: he and his musical partner Harry Vanda were the charts.
George’s journey began with the trailblazing Easybeats and continued, alongside Harry, as producer/songwriter for hire with John Paul Young, The Angels, Rose Tattoo, Cheetah, Ted Mulry, Stevie Wright and, most crucially, AC/DC. George and Harry also struck gold with Flash and the Pan, almost by accident.
George Young helped create such classics as ‘Friday on My Mind’, ‘Sorry’, ‘Love is in the Air’, ‘Evie’, ‘Yesterday’s Hero’, ‘Down Among the Dead Men’, ‘Hey, St. Peter’, ‘Bad Boy for Love’, ‘Jailbreak’ and ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’. In 2001, APRA voted ‘Friday on My Mind’ the best and most significant Australian song of the past 75 years.
In this long-overdue book, the first to focus exclusively on the life and work of George Young, writer Jeff Apter explores George’s long and fruitful association with Harry; his rare ability to maintain a stable married life with his wife Sandra; and his handshake deal with Ted Albert that helped create a music empire. The book also reveals such little-known events as the accident that almost killed off ‘Hey, St. Peter’ before its release, and the tragedy that bonded George and Harry for life.
One of the most powerful and provocative writers to have emerged in Britain in recent years, James Kelman has engendered a good deal of controversy over his widely reported, but often misconceived use of `bad’ language words. This introduction to the whole range of his works, from the early short stories through the plays and essays to the Booker Prize winning novel How Late it Was, How Late and the latest experimental fiction, examines the embattled Kelman’s literary politics. H. Gustav Klaus pays close attention to the Scottish culture in which Kelman’s writing was nurtured, to the uncompromising treatment of the `underclass’, the intricacies of the narrative voice and the existentialist anguish behind it. A writer of international reputation now, Kelman’s principled anti-authoritarianism raises uncomfortable questions about the continuing reality of class, dominant social and literary values and the role of writers in our time.
In his lifetime Gielgud was acclaimed as the finest classical actor of the twentieth century and Jonathan Croall’s biography from 2000 was instantly recognised by critics as a masterful achievement, one that was ‘unlikely to be surpassed’ (Sunday Telegraph). Since that time however a considerable amount of new material has come to light and the passing of time has allowed a new candour. John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star sees this peerless biographer return to his subject to offer the definitive life of Gielgud.
For this new biography Croall’s exhaustive research has included over a hundred new interviews with key people from his life and career, several hundred letters from Gielgud that have never been published, scores of letters written to him and archived versions of his film and television work. As Gielgud worked increasingly in this medium during the last third of his life much greater attention is given to this than in the earlier work.
Fresh light is thrown on his professional relationships with figures such as Laurence Olivier and Edith Evans, and on turbulent episodes of his private life. The overall result is a a much more rounded, candid and richly textured portrait of this celebrated and complex actor.
Combining life-writing with poetic prose, Anthony Joseph gets to the heart of the man behind the music and the myth, reaching behind the sobriquet to present a holistic portrait of the calypso icon Lord Kitchener.
The poet and musician Anthony Joseph met and spoke to Lord Kitchener just once, in 1984, when he found the calypso icon standing alone for a moment in the heat of Port of Spain s Queen’s Park Savannah, one Carnival Monday afternoon. It was a pivotal meeting in which the great calypsonian, outlined his musical vision, an event which forms a moving epilogue to Kitch, Joseph’s unique biography of the Grandmaster.
Lord Kitchener (1922 – 2000) was one of the most iconic and prolific calypso artists of the 20th century. He was one of calypso’s most loved exponents, an always elegantly dressed troubadour with old time male charisma and the ability to tap into the musical and cultural consciousness of the Caribbean experience. Born into colonial Trinidad in 1922, he emerged in the 1950s, at the forefront of multicultural Britain, acting as an intermediary between the growing Caribbean community, the islands they had left behind, and the often hostile conditions of life in post War Britain. In the process Kitch, as he was affectionally called, single handedly popularised the calypso in Britain.
Lee Brilleaux, the charismatic star of proto-punk R&B reprobates Dr Feelgood, was one of rock’n’roll’s greatest frontmen. But he was also one of its greatest gentlemen – a class act with heart, fire, wanderlust and a wild streak.
Exploding out of Canvey Island in the early 1970s – an age of glam rock, post-hippy folk and pop androgyny – the Feelgoods, with Lee Brilleaux and Wilko Johnson at the helm, charged into London, grabbed the pub rock scene by the throat and sparked a revolutionary new era, proving that you didn’t have to be middle class, wearing the ‘right clothes’ or living in the ‘right place’ to succeed.
The essential biography of one of music’s most influential icons: Lou Reed
As lead singer and songwriter for the Velvet Underground and a renowned solo artist, Lou Reed invented alternative rock. His music, at once a source of transcendent beauty and coruscating noise, violated all definitions of genre while speaking to millions of fans and inspiring generations of musicians.
But while his iconic status may be fixed, the man himself was anything but. Lou Reed’s life was a transformer’s odyssey. Eternally restless and endlessly hungry for new experiences, Reed reinvented his persona, his sound, even his sexuality time and again. A man of contradictions and extremes, he was fiercely independent yet afraid of being alone, artistically fearless yet deeply paranoid, eager for commercial success yet disdainful of his own triumphs. Channeling his jagged energy and literary sensibility into classic songs – like “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Sweet Jane” – and radically experimental albums alike, Reed remained desperately true to his artistic vision, wherever it led him.
Now, just a few years after Reed’s death, Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis, who knew Reed and interviewed him extensively, tells the provocative story of his complex and chameleonic life. With unparalleled access to dozens of Reed’s friends, family, and collaborators, DeCurtis tracks Reed’s five-decade career through the accounts of those who knew him and through Reed’s most revealing testimony, his music. We travel deep into his defiantly subterranean world, enter the studio as the Velvet Underground record their groundbreaking work, and revel in Reed’s relationships with such legendary figures as Andy Warhol, David Bowie, and Laurie Anderson. Gritty, intimate, and unflinching, Lou Reed is an illuminating tribute to one of the most incendiary artists of our time.
Who is Mike Hodges? One of the great maverick British film-makers. A director who is uncompromising and willing to fight his corner, he has made films over the last three decades that mark him out as a rare and unusual talent.
He is a difficult film-maker to define. His work includes crime drama (Get Carter, Croupier and Pulp), science-fiction (Flash Gordon and The Terminal Man) and even comedy (Morons from Outer Space), but he has also made watchable oddities such as A Prayer for the Dying (Mickey Rourke courting controversy as an IRA killer seeking redemption) and Black Rainbow (a surreal fantasy drama little seen, but much acclaimed).
He started his career in television in the 1960s, but hit the big screen with the violent crime drama Get Carter, a film that has now achieved cult status (recently voted the best British film ever in Hotdog magazine) and continues to be the benchmark any British crime film sets itself against. Though hardly prolific- just eight feature films in 30 years – Mike Hodges makes fascinating movies that just won’t go away. What is in it? As well as an introductory essay, each of Hodges film and television work is reviewed and analysed. There is also an article looking at the impact and continuing influence of Get Carter and a section listing any other information about Hodges and his films.
Showcases some of the most compelling parts of the J. A. Baker Archive, containing previously unknown details of Baker’s life as well as extracts from his own personal writing. It provides an invaluable new insight into both the sensitive, passionate character of J. A. Baker, and the state of late twentieth-century Britain, a country experiencing the throes of agricultural and environmental revolutions.
Hetty Saunders was first introduced to J. A. Baker and the Baker Archive as a literature postgraduate at the University of Cambridge. She was instantly captivated by the astounding prose of Baker’s first book, The Peregrine, and the mysterious life of its author.
At the age of seventeen, after a childhood in a foster family followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth.
This is Lemn’s story: a story of neglect and determination, misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph.
Sissay reflects on his childhood, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home. Written with all the lyricism and power you would expect from one of the nation’s best-loved poets, this moving, frank and timely memoir is the result of a life spent asking questions, and a celebration of the redemptive power of creativity.
‘Probably the most ambitious, generous and thorough volume about a musician to see publication’ Mouth Magazine
The authorised companion to the music of Nick Drake, compiled, composed and edited by Cally Callomon and Gabrielle Drake, with contributions from Nick’s friends, critics, adherents, family and from Nick Drake himself.
Remembered For A While is not a biography. It is, rather, an attempt to cast a few shards of light on Nick Drake the poet, the musician, the singer, the friend, son and brother, who was also more than all of these. We hope it will accompany all those in search of an elusive artist, whose haunting presence defies analysis.
‘James Hetfield is a guitarist of otherworldly ability… this book tries to understand, de-mystify and even humanise a rock legend who, for most of his career, has remained impenetrable.’
Metallica’s ascension from thrash metal obscurity to becoming arguably one of the greatest rock bands the world has ever known, can be directly attributed to its lead singer and guitarist, James Hetfield. Having sold 110 million records worldwide and with an impressive eight Grammy Awards to their name, Metallica is undoubtedly a commercial triumph, but what of the man behind the music?
Of Metal and Man is the newly revised biography of this rock legend, offering an exclusive insight into the life and career of one of Metallica’s founding members. Author Mark Eglinton charts the hidden complexities of the relationships within the band, exploring the effects that global fame has had on Hetfield and his cohorts. Eglinton sheds light on both the highs of worldwide success and the lows of addiction and alcohol abuse, giving details of exclusive first-hand interviews with key figures from the band’s inner circle.
Dramatic and compelling, and now with newly updated material, this is the definitive biography of James Hetfield – singer-songwriter, guitarist and co-founder of a band which has changed the face of rock, the world over.
In the summer of 1894 Oscar Wilde spent eight weeks in Worthing, and it was during this family holiday that he wrote his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest. The Worthing holiday was a microcosm of Wilde’s turbulent life during the three years between his falling in love with Lord Alfred Douglas in 1892 and his imprisonment in 1895. Constance Wilde, lonely and depressed, became emotionally involved with her husband’s publisher, to whom she wrote a love letter on the day he visited the Wildes in Worthing.
Meanwhile Wilde was spending much of his time with the feckless and demanding Douglas, and with three teenage boys he took out sailing, swimming and fishing. One of these boys was Alphonse Conway, with whom Wilde had a sexual relationship, and about whom he was to be questioned at length and to damaging effect in court six months later when he sued Douglas’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, for libel.
This book tells for the first time the full story of the Worthing summer, set in the context of the three years of Wilde’s life before his downfall. In the final chapter the author reassesses the trials, offering fresh insights into Wilde’s attitude to the boys and young men with whom he had sexual relations. There are fifty-six illustrations, over thirty of which are photographs of Worthing as it was in Wilde’s time, and three contemporary maps of the town.
Every day, thousands of people worldwide consult Roget’s Thesaurus. How many stop to consider why that endlessly useful reference book is so called? How many know anything about the man behind it? Nick Rennison’s biography reveals the full story of Roget’s involvement with the great issues and the great personalities of the 19th century and recounts the forgotten life behind one of the most famous of all reference books.
Sir Robert Vere (‘Robin’) Darwin, great-grandson of Charles Darwin, was a British artist of note and the highly influential Rector of the Royal College of Art from 1948 until 1971. His story, beginning in 1910, takes in life as an art student and then a teacher, his wartime involvement in camouflage, British postwar reconstruction and the Festival of Britain 1951. His influence in shaping British arts education for the future is uncontested (the list of RCA graduates from 1950-1980 is particularly impressive, including not only fine artists (David Hockney, Peter Blake) but also leaders in industrial design such as James Dyson.
The current status of the Royal College of Art is largely the result of one man, a formidable force with the drive, vision and ability to inspire huge loyalty and first-class creative thinking in others. The list of RCA professors, tutors and visiting lecturers recruited by Darwin reads like a rollcall of the best in post-war British design and art, and their influence continues to inspire students to this day.
Jazz legend Sonny Rollins will celebrate his 80th birthday this fall, and Saxophone Colossus will be published to mark this occasion and honor his incredibly prolific career. This intimate appreciation combines the images of John Abbott, who as Rollins’s photographer of choice for the past 20 years has captured the saxophonist at home and at work, and the essays of Bob Blumenthal, a jazz critic who has chronicled Rollins and his art for nearly four decades. Sonny Rollins has been at the center of jazz and its evolution virtually from his birth. Growing up in Harlem in the heyday of swing and coming of age as the first wave of modernists announced their discoveries, he quickly found himself sharing bandstands with his idols and making music of his own that continues to influence and inspire. Saxophone Colossus, named for the 1956 masterpiece of the same title, is Abbott and Blumenthal’s tribute to Rollins’s music and spirit.
The first and best Beatles biography, Norman had close working relationships with each of the Fab Four, having interviewed them many times since 1965 and observed first hand the events that led to the split during 1969-70. The resulting book contained unique insights into the rise of the Beatles, their final years, the chaos of Apple and the collapse of hippy idealism.
Now fully updated, and written with all of Norman’s trademark verve and skill, this is an essential book for anyone with an interest in pop music, the Sixties and the pleasures and perils of god-like fame.