Rock Reads: Holiday Gift Guide Edition by various

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

Does the music lover on your gift list already have all the new music he or she wants? Then get them a book! Our picks for some of the best new music-related books are below.

"Rockin' the City of Angels: Celebrating the Great Rock Shows of the 1970s In Concert, On Record and On Film"
By Douglas Harr
Diego Spade Productions

Fantastic! Spectacular! Mind blowing! Think of all the superlatives that fans might have used to describe concerts they saw back in the '70s by groups like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and the Who, and know that those same adjectives apply to "Rockin' the City of Angels." What author Harr has done is seek out photos taken by some of the era's hottest rock photographers, folks like Fin Costello, Lisa Tanner, Armando Gallo, Richard E. Aaron and about a dozen others, and present them along with his own commentary about what was happening for the band at the time, mostly regarding the performer's current album and tour. As the book's title indicates, all of the in-concert shots, more than 600 in all with many previously unseen, were taken at shows in the Los Angeles area. So there are chapters focusing on events like Alice Cooper's 1975 three-day run at the L.A. Forum, Styx caught on film at the Long Beach Arena during their Pieces of Eight tour in 1978, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer from their appearance at the California Jam in Ontario in 1974. And so on with a who's who of acts including Queen, Jethro Tull, Elton John, David Bowie, AC/DC, Paul McCartney and Wings, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Yes, Heart, Kansas, Genesis and many others. About the size of an album cover and clocking in at over 300 pages, "Rockin' the City of Angels" is the ultimate coffee table book and many classic rock fans will no doubt describe it with an oft-heard phrase from back in the day, "Heavy, man!"

"The Roxy Our Story London 1976-77: The Club That Forged Punk in 100 Nights of Madness, Mayhem and Misfortune"
By Andrew Czezowski & Susan Carrington
Carrczez Publishing

You wouldn't think that a club that lasted barely more than three months could possibly have a significant effect on a music scene, but London's the Roxy Club did. At a time when every other music venue in London (and beyond) was refusing to present punk music, the Roxy became a haven for groups like the Damned, the Clash, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Generation X, the Slits, the Jam, Buzzcocks, Wire and many others. Authors Czezowski and Carrington were two of the club's three principals and they're not telling the Roxy story here just by memory; they kept journals and still have an archive of photos, flyers, newspaper clippings and the like. So you have musings from Carrington's diary, like after a sub-par show from Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, that "They seemed quite out of it. Too much dope, perhaps?" and amusing entries like her commentary after a show by the Damned, "Rat Scabies was in a pig mood; Captain Sensible hurt his hands on broken cans." There are of course plenty of upbeat entries as well, but the most entertaining writing here seems to come from when something went wrong. Commentary also comes from others who were on the scene at the Roxy, including Pete Shelley, Glen Matlock, Jayne County, Leee Black Childers, Poly Styrene, Shane MacGowan, Cherry Vanilla and even Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, who visited the club to see the Damned. The book is an oversized paperback that uses a fanzine format that's loaded with illustrations including previously unseen photos, reproductions of flyers and copies of band contracts that show how much they got paid to perform. This very fun historical record will make many readers wish they had of been there.

"The Man Who Carried Cash"
By Julie Chadwick

Here's another take on the Johnny Cash story as seen through the eyes of Saul Holiff, Cash's longtime (17 years) manager. Author Chadwick was able to tell the story even though Holiff passed away in 2005; she had access to a treasure trove of information discovered in a storage locker and including Holiff's taped audio diaries and phone calls with Cash, along with hundreds of letters, photos and magazine and newspaper clippings. Cash's roller coaster ride to fame is well documented, but even the biggest Cash fan will find plenty of surprises here, not the least of which is how Holiff's and Cash's lives were interminably linked. Thus some of the stories are amusing despite their seriousness; in one Holiff returns from having to deal with a Cash performance where the singer was so high on amphetamines that he could barely stand to find his own home in a mess after a septic tank overflow. Drugs and drink play their parts throughout, but so do joy, creativity and genius. A detailed yet fast read, Chadwick has done an excellent job with this look at one of America's greatest music legends.

"Counting Down the Beatles: Their 100 Finest Songs"
By Jim Beviglia
Rowman & Littlefield

Beviglia ranks "Your Mother Should Know" from 1967's Magical Mystery Tour album at #100 in his list of the 100 finest songs by the Beatles, and it should be noted that his rankings are based on his definition of "finest" and not according to sales figures or anything else. To an extent, the rankings don't really matter, unless you're playing guessing games with fellow fans as you go along. What does resonate fully though is Beviglia's commentary, the reasoning behind his rankings, which play out in segments anywhere from half a page to a couple of pages in length. These are filled with all kinds of observations including the sounds of the instruments and an occasional dissection of lyrics; for his commentary on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" (#49) Beviglia offers an alternative interpretation of the lyrics, positing that perhaps the man in the song who "lit a fire" was actually burning the place down. Tons of Beatles history is woven into the countdown, and each segment is a mini voyage of discovery. And the song at #1? We're not going to tell you.

Share this article
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pin it Share on Reddit email this article



News Reports
Day in Rock:
Richie Sambora On Possible Bon Jovi Reunion At Rock Hall Induction- Linkin Park Release Live Sharp Edges Video- The Doors Final Concert Ever Filmed Being Released-more

Recap: Van Halen Star Previews Debut Solo Album- Alice In Chains Announce North American Spring Tour- Morrissey Addresses Recent Controversial Interview Quotes- U2-more

2018 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced- Slipknot's Corey Taylor Announces Live Acoustic Release- Controversial Unedited Morrissey Interview Released-more

Day in Pop:
Ariana Grande Confirms Work On A New Album- Luke Bryan Plays New York Hospital For The Holidays- Sam Smith Performs 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'- more

Page Too Rewind: Miguel Denies Sexual Assault Accuser's Latest Claims- Harry Styles Kisses James Corden In Holiday 'Carpool Karaoke'- Kacey Musgraves Announces New Album- more

Harry Styles Becomes Last Minute Fill In Late Night TV Host- Kenny Chesney Rescued Over 250 Animals Abandoned After Hurricanes- Blake Shelton Appears On TV Special- more



Dave Koz And Friends Bring Christmas Show To Arizona's Mesa Arts Center

Black Sabbath - The End (5 Stars)

Holiday Gift Guide: Travel Edition

Santa's Jukebox: Balsam Range, Sha Na Na and Jennifer Saran

Holiday Gift Guide: Jethro Tull - Songs from the Wood: The Country Set

Holiday Gift Guide: Queen - News of the World: 40th Anniversary Edition

Holiday Gift Guide: George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1/MTV Unplugged

Rock Reads: Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers: The Rise of Motorhead

Rock Reads: Holiday Gift Guide Edition

Timothy B. Schmit - Leap of Faith

Bob Seger - I Knew You When (5 Star)

Root 66: Professor Louie and the Crowmatix - The Lost Band Tracks

Santa's Jukebox: Tav Falco - A Tav Falco Christmas

Guns N' Roses Week: Chinese Democracy

Guns N' Roses Week: Our Greatest Arena Band (Live Nov 2017)

Guns N' Roses Week: Use Your Illusion I and II

Guns N' Roses Week: Defiant and Deconstructed

Paul Maged - Light Years Away

Michael Jackson - Scream

Sites and Sounds: Monster of Rock Cruise 2018

Powerman 5000 - New Wave

Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul Live In Chicago more

Rock News Stories
Van Halen Star Previews Debut Solo Album (top story)

Alice In Chains Announce North American Spring Tour (top story)

Morrissey Addresses Recent Controversial Interview Quotes (top story)

U2's New Album Debuts At No. 1 On Billboard 200 (top story)

Bob Weir and Phil Lesh Teaming Up To Tour As A Duo (top story)

David Coverdale Reveals Whitesnake's New album Details (top story)

Karnataka Singer Hayley Griffiths Speaks Out On Surprise Band Move (top story)

Billy Idol Announce 2018 Summer Tour Dates (top story)

Anthrax Announce Kings Among Scotland DVD (top story)

The Killers Cover The Smiths At Festival (top story)

Van Morrison Announces 'In Concert' DVD And Blu-Ray (top story)

Famed Keith Richards Guitar Get Profiled (top story)

Royal Blood Take Over Rise Against Interview With Tough Questions (top story)

Neil Young's Model Trains Sold Fetches Big Price At Auction (top story)

Josh Homme Apologizes For Kicking Photographer (top story)

Tool Album Will Be Out In 2018 Says Band Member (top story)

Alice Cooper To Star In Live 'Jesus Christ Superstar' On NBC (top story)

Robert Plant Joined By Chrissie Hynde At Recent Concert (top story)

Ghost Surprise Release 'Ceremony And Devotion' Album (top story)

Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards Podcast Released (top story)

Simple Minds Announce New Album With Two Distinct 'Sides' (top story)

Myles Kennedy Releases 'Year Of The Tiger' Video (top story)

R.E.M.'s 'Automatic for the People' Anniversary Documentary Streaming (top story)


B-Side Stories
Miguel Denies Sexual Assault Accuser's Latest Claims (top story)

Harry Styles Kisses James Corden In Holiday 'Carpool Karaoke' (top story)

Kacey Musgraves Announces New Album 'Golden Hour' (top story)

Chance the Rapper Teases 'Sesame Street' Appearance (top story)

Camila Cabello Track Features In Final 'Bright' Trailer (top story)

MGMT Stream New Song 'When You Die' (top story)

Jennifer Hudson Releases New Song 'Burden Down' (top story)

G-Eazy Announces Beautiful & Damned Tour (top story)

Kasbo Releases New Track 'Snow In Gothenburg' (top story)

Shania Twain Shares Favorite Christmas Traditions And Memories (top story)

Fetty Wap And Cheat Codes Release 'Feels Great' Video (top story)

Frank Ocean Has His Own 'Grand Theft Auto' Radio Station (top story)

Thomas Rhett and Tyler Hubbard Share Christmas Caroling Video (top story)

Star Wars Characters Sing Hanson's 'MMMBop' On Fallon (top story)

Demi Lovato Reveals Message Of Self-Care For The Holidays (top story)

Brett Young Releases 'O Holy Night' Video (top story)

10-Year-Old JD McCrary Covers Jackson 5 At L.A. Clippers Game (top story)

The-Dream Streams New Song 'It's Yo Birthday' (top story)

Macklemore And Kesha Teaming For 'Adventures' Tour (top story)

Taylor Swift Performs 'Reputation' Tracks At Jingle Bell Ball (top story)

Ed Sheeran Reacts To Grammy Snub In Top Categories (top story)

Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey Earn Golden Globe Nominations (top story)

Unreleased Vince Staples Track Fuels Animated 'Spiderman' Trailer (top story)

Lady Gaga Is 'Santa's Naughty Elf' For The Holidays (top story)

Beyonce Sends Bieryonce Beer Cease and Desist Order (top story)

Jeezy Announces U.S. 'Cold Summer' Tour (top story)

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman Reveal Christmas Plans (top story)

Rihanna, Katy Perry, Cardi B, Others Rally Behind Bullied Boy (top story)

Nicki Minaj And Quavo Release 'She For Keeps' (top story)

Diddy And Beyonce Top Forbes' Annual Highest Paid 'Musicians' List (top story)

Ed Sheeran Tonight Show Performance And Niall Horan Story Go Online (top story)

Camila Cabello, Sugarland, Nick Jonas Set For New Year's Eve (top story)

Louis Tomlinson Releases 'Miss You' Video (top story)

Cardi B And Offset Release Joint Track 'Um Yea' (top story)

Drake On New Trouble, Mike Will Made It Track 'Bring it Back' (top story)

Luke Bryan Features Fans In 'What Makes You Country' Video (top story)

G-Eazy Recruits Charlie Puth For New Track 'Sober' (top story)

Chance the Rapper Delivers Chicago Weather Report (top story)

Meghan Trainor Reveals How Her Boyfriend Changed Her Life (top story)

Jay-Z Sends Kanye West 'Peace and Love' At Recent Show (top story)

Eminem Producer Talks The Rapper's 'Revival' (top story)


Follow Us:

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.