Category Archives: Music

Philip Norman – Wild Thing: The short, spellbinding life of Jimi Hendrix

Philip Norman – Weidenfeld and Nicolson – £20 It is generally accepted that Jimi Hendrix is the most important guitarist in the history of rock music. In just four years he revolutionised everybody’s idea of what an electric guitar was capable of, set new standards for showmanship, and left a dazzling catalogue of recordings. Poster boy for the 27 Club (rock musicians who died at that age), Hendrix died in London fifty years ago. That anniversary prompted Philip Norman to add to his wonderful series of biographies of the greats. We joined Philip in his garden to talk about what Jimi Hendrix still means to us. http://media.blubrry.com/timhaighreadsbooks/p/bookspodcast.com/MP3s/green-shoot_philipnorman-jimihendrix_20200925.mp3Podcast: Play in new … Continue reading

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Stephen Tow – London, Reign Over Me: How England’s Capital Built Classic Rock

Stephen Tow – Rowman and Littlefield £15.99 To have been young in London in the 1960’s must have been very heaven. At least if you had a yen to see live music in clubs and pubs and a dilapidated hotel on an island in the River Thames. The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Cream, Pink Floyd… (stop me when it gets dizzying). The city was a musical crucible, taking American jazz and blues, English folk and whimsy, and a host of European influences, and transmuting them into the spun gold of classic rock, with a little help from art colleges and a couple of fellows named Marshall. … Continue reading

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Ray Connolly – Sorry, Boys, You Failed The Audition

Ray Connolly – Malignon £7.95 “I’d like to say Thank You on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition.” John Lennon on the roof of the Apple Building on January 30th 1969 at the end of the last public Beatles performance. It had been the Greatest Show on Earth, but what if it hadn’t happened? What if the Beatles had not passed the vital 1962 audition with George Martin at Parlophone which got them their recording deal? As well as being a friend of the Beatles, Ray Connolly is exactly contemporary with them, and comes from the same part of the world. He has … Continue reading

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Ray Connolly – Being John Lennon

“Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? We will tell you. It came in a vision – a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them ‘From this day on you are Beatles with an ‘A’. Thank you, mister man, they said, thanking him.”  So wrote John Lennon, shortly before he became the most famous man on the planet. And that’s all the background you’re getting. Tim is a self-confessed Beatles anorak. Many people have Chekhov’s Revolver on their mantelpiece, but only Tim has Stanislavski’s Sgt Pepper and Dostoevsky’s Rubber Soul as well. And he is only too delighted to delve into the minutiae of John Lennon’s … Continue reading

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Tom Kirkham – Pop Life

2016 was a bad year. Globally, it was the year of Brexit and was rounded off with a Trump!  It was bad for pop music too: David Bowie had died in January. And then it seemed the heroes were rushing for the exit.   Bowie was closely followed by Merle Haggard and Glen Frey (of the Eagles), and later in the year, Lemmy, Sir George Martin, Leonard Cohen, George Michael and a dozen others. And then on April 21st, Prince, died. On the personal level Tom Kirkham was already having a bad year. He was feeling his mental health wobbling. And Tom Idolised Prince. He was devastated. He felt the urgent need to … Continue reading

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Philip Norman – Paul McCartney: The Biography

When Philip Norman published “Shout” in 1980, it quickly became and long remained the standard Beatles biography. It was noted at the time that there was a marked preference for Lennon over McCartney in that book and Philip was pretty much tagged anti-McCartney. In the years since then, he has reassessed his attitude and came to the conclusion that he had been unfair. McCartney, he now acknowledges, is colossally talented, nobody’s lightweight and is a better and more interesting man than he had been given credit for. As it happens, Tim didn’t pick up on the bias in “Shout!” because he shared it and, like Philip, has followed a parallel … Continue reading

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Alwyn W turner – The Last Post

No Man’s Land is already littered with books on the Great War, and there will be many more hurled into the fray, but not many of them will be as original as this thoughtful and engaging treatment by the historian Alwyn W Turner. Ostensibly a history of the bugle call that came to symbolise the honour of a military death, it ranges very much more widely, taking in all the main symbols of remembrance (all associated with the First War rather than the Second) and serves also as a history of the development of social attitudes towards the soldier, and of public opinion in locating the significance of war. http://media.blubrry.com/timhaighreadsbooks/p/www.bookspodcast.com/MP3s/green-shoot_thebookspodcast_alwynturner-thelastpost.mp3Podcast: … Continue reading

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Philip Norman – Mick Jagger

Fifty years a star. Gracefulness incarnate. Irresistable to women. Vain and arrogant, perhaps, but with so much to boast of. But enough about Tim. Mick Jagger is by contrast an accountant. You think you know him. The drugs. Marianne Faithfull and the mars bar. The murder at Altamont. The parsimony. The priapism. The seven children with four different women. The ruthless wresting of control of the Rolling Stones from first Andrew Oldham, then Brian Jones, then Keith Richards. Jagger has lived his life in the public glare, and yet he remains an enigma. He never much liked doing drugs. He was a wonderful friend to both Brian and Keith. He … Continue reading

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