Biographies Rock These Summer Holidays

Their music has inspired millions, but what what do you really know about them?

The sex and the drugs and the rock and the roll, it’s all here, laid bare.

Dancing with Myself

by Billy Idol

In this original memoir following Billy Idol from his childhood in England to his fame at the height of the punk-pop revolution, the iconic superstar tells the real story behind the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll that he is famous for.

A member of the punk rock revolution whose music crossed over into the pop mainstream during the 1980s, Billy Idol is a rock ‘n’ roll legend. Dancing with Myself will cover the events and the people who shaped his life, his music and his career, including accounts of his childhood both in England and the U.S., his year at Sussex University, his membership in the Bromley Contingent, his period spent hanging out with the Sex Pistols, his time in Siouxsie and the Banshees, Chelsea and Generation X. Idol also tackles his successful solo career, which involved collaboration with Steve Stevens and, ultimately, some of the most influential, ground-breaking music videos ever seen on MTV. In Dancing with Myself , Idol renders detailed accounts of his life’s highs and lows with the unapologetically in-your-face attitude and exuberance that made him famous. In part a survivor’s story,Dancing with Myself is equally a very funny and always riveting account of one man’s creative drive.

Billy Idol is a multi-platinum recording artist, Grammy nominee and rock legend. Known for successfully merging his signature punk attitude with the mainstream music scene, Idol has written some of pop’s most iconic songs, including ‘White Wedding,’ ‘Rebel Yell’ and ‘Cradle of Love’. Idol maintains an active touring schedule and released a career spanning greatest hits album in 2008, ‘The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself’. He lives in Los Angeles.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey

by Ed Sheeran & Phillip Butah

Take one acclaimed singer-songwriter and pair him with one of the most talented young artists of his generation and what do you get? A stunningly original visual documentary of one of the world’s best-loved and most successful musicians of his generation. With words by Ed Sheeran and illustrations by his childhood friend, artist Phillip Butah (who produces artwork for Sheeran’s albums and singles), and accompanying photos, Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey is an exclusive, fully authorised, first-person account by Ed of how he became an internationally renowned singer-songwriter.

In the book, Ed explores his early musical experiences and influences as well as his time recording and touring, right up to the release of his second album, ‘x’. The book reveals what drives and inspires Ed as he continues to evolve as an artist, while coping with stratospheric success, and is an honest account of what it takes to make it in the music business.

With Phillip Butah’s distinctive portraits of Ed throughout, this is a unique book celebrating a unique musician. It includes Ed’s recollections of working tirelessly on the London gig circuit and self-releasing EPs, working hard on finding his sound, signing to Asylum Records and recording his huge hit album, ‘+’, performing at the Grammys, touring with Taylor Swift and sell-out headline gigs at Madison Square Garden. It takes us up to Ed as a musician today, including recording his new album, ‘x’.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored

by John Lydon

John Lydon has secured prime position as one of the most recognizable icons in the annals of music history. As Johnny Rotten, he was the lead singer of the Sex Pistols – the world’s most notorious band, who shot to fame in the mid-1970s with singles such as ‘Anarchy in the UK’ and ‘God Save the Queen’. So revolutionary was his influence, he was even discussed in the Houses of Parliament, under the Traitors and Treasons Act, which still carries the death penalty. Via his music and invective he spearheaded a generation of young people across the world who were clamouring for change – and found it in the style and attitude of this most unlikely figurehead.

With his next band, Public Image Ltd (PiL) Lydon expressed an equally urgent impulse in his make-up – the constant need to reinvent himself, to keep moving. From their beginnings in 1978 he set the groundbreaking template for a band that continues to challenge and thrive in the 2010s. He also found time for making innovative new dance records with the likes of Afrika Baambaata and Leftfield.

Following the release of a solo record in 1997, John took a sabbatical from his music career into other media, most memorably his own Rotten TV show for VH1 and as the most outrageous contestant ever on I’m a Celebrity…. Get Me Out of Here! He then fronted the Megabugs series and one-off nature documentaries and even turned his hand to a series of much loved TV advertisements for Country Life butter.

Lydon has remained a compelling and dynamic figure – both as a musician, and, thanks to his outspoken, controversial, yet always heartfelt and honest statements, as a cultural commentator.

The book is a fresh and mature look back on a life full of incident from his beginnings as a sickly child of immigrant Irish parents who grew up in post-war London, to his present status as a vibrant, alternative national hero.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


I’m Talking: My Life, My Words, My Music

by Kate Ceberano & Tom Gilling

For the first time, Kate Ceberano, one of Australia’s best-loved entertainers, shares her story.

In her own unmistakeable voice, Kate Ceberano takes us on a very personal journey from her suburban childhood, her immersion in the Melbourne club scene of the eighties and her rise to stardom at the age of fourteen when she fronted the wildly popular funk band I’m Talking, to the life of a female performer and recording artist in London, Los Angeles and New York.

With parallel careers as a pop and jazz singer and songwriter, Kate has received the highest awards in the Australian music industry including the ARIA for Best Female Artist. She has delighted audiences in Harry M. Miller’s hugely successful ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, won a legion of fans when she won ‘Dancing with the Stars’, and made a triumphant debut for Opera Australia in ‘South Pacific’. Now she reveals, for the first time, just what that was like.

People have been talking about Kate Ceberano since she was a teenager: Hugh Jackman described her as having ‘truly one of the great voices this country has produced'; for Rolling Stone she is ‘pure, soulful and powerful’. Now Kate is talking for herself.

Accompanied by never before published photos.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Best Years of Our Lives

by Richard Clapton

Welcome to the party that never ends…

When he was 16 he inveigled his way into a Sydney hotel to hang out with the Rolling Stones. From that day on, Richard Clapton knew he was going to be a rock star. It’s now almost 50 years since that fateful day -years filled with a lifetime of incredible experiences, outrageous good times and a catalogue of iconic and timeless songs. Through the glory years of rock’n’ roll, in cities as varied as London, Berlin, Sydney, Los Angeles and Paris, Richard forged his own career and built up a significant body of work while living, loving and partying with the biggest names in the Australian and international music world.

By his own frank admission, these were years fuelled by prodigious quantities of alcohol and drugs, set against a backdrop of constant recording and touring, of endless partying and wild times. It was to be a rollercoaster ride of euphoric highs and deep, shattering lows.

For 40 years, Richard Clapton has been, above all else, a songwriter-a wry observer of human behaviour and an astute commentator on the Australian condition. His best songs- ‘Deep Water’, ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, ‘Goodbye Tiger’, ‘Glory Road’, ‘Lucky Country’, ‘Girls on the Avenue’, ‘Trust Somebody’ and ‘Capricorn Dancer’-capture the essence of this country and the meaning of our lives like few others.

In this extraordinary memoir, Richard employs his songwriter’s keen powers of observation, portraiture and storytelling to tell the best story of all: the remarkable one of his own life. Outrageous, funny, insightful and poignant, this is the rock memoir to beat them all. In celebration of 40 years of fabulous music and iconic songs, welcome to The Best Years of Our Lives.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Meet another very talented member of the Booktopia family

We’re lucky to have some pretty special folks working at Booktopia.

We’ve already told you about Anthony, our London Olympian, and John, our bestselling author, but we also have a very talented musician in the family.

If you’ve ever called our customer service hotline, you might have spoken to Daniel, a member of the team since 2013. What you might not have realised is Daniel is a member of a band making some pretty big waves at the moment, Burn Antares.

Fronted by Grace Fariss (the daughter of INXS’ Andrew Fariss), Burn Antares are a rock n roll band with a 60’s feel we really dig (that’s what the kids say right, dig?)

You can check out their new single on YouTube, the video shot entirely on an old Super 8 camcorder. Very cool. And don’t forget to check out their cover of the  INXS classic By My Side that was featured in weekend papers recently.

For more details about Burn Antares, check out their Facebook page

And the winner of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC signed poster is…

ac-dcThe Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC Prize Winner:

L. Heinrich, Chatswood, NSW

The prize:

A laminated poster of THE YOUNGS signed by

- Author Jesse Fink
– AC/DC bass player Mark Evans (Let There Be Rock, TNT, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
– AC/DC drummer Tony Currenti (High Voltage, ’74 Jailbreak, Bonfire, Backtracks)

the-youngsThe Youngs

by Jesse Fink

With sales of over 200 million albums, AC/DC is not just the biggest rock band in the world. It’s a family business built by three brothers: George, Malcolm and Angus Young. And, as with any business, some people prospered while others got hurt along the way.

The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC is unlike any AC/DC book you’ve read before. Less a biography, more a critical appreciation, it tells the story of the trio through 11 classic songs and reveals some of the personal and creative secrets that went into their making. Important figures from AC/DC’s long way to the top open up for the very first time, while unsung heroes behind the band’s success are given the credit they are due.

Accepted accounts of events are challenged while sensational new details emerge to cast a whole new light on the band’s history – especially their early years with Atlantic Records in the United States. Former AC/DC members and musicians from bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Dropkick Murphys, Airbourne and Rose Tattoo also give their perspectives on the Youngs’ brand of magic.

Their music has never pulled its punches. Neither does The Youngs. After 40 years, AC/DC might just have got the serious book it deserves.

Grab a copy of The Youngs here


Congratulations to the winner!
For your chance to enter a Booktopia Competition click here

Win a signed poster of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

AC DCThe Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC is unlike any AC/DC book written before.

Less a biography, more a critical appreciation, it tells the story of the trio through 11 classic songs and reveals some of the personal and creative secrets that went into their making.

Buy a copy of The Youngs before the end of February 2014 to go in the draw to win a laminated poster of The Youngs signed by:

– Author Jesse Fink
– AC/DC bass player Mark Evans (Let There Be Rock, TNT, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
– AC/DC drummer Tony Currenti (High Voltage, ’74 Jailbreak, Bonfire, Backtracks)

Grab a copy of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC here

The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

by Jesse Fink

With sales of over 200 million albums, AC/DC is not just the biggest rock band in the world.

It’s a family business built by three brothers: George, Malcolm and Angus Young. And, as with any business, some people prospered while others got hurt along the way. Important figures from AC/DC’s long way to the top open up for the very first time, while unsung heroes behind the band’s success are given the credit they are due.

Accepted accounts of events are challenged while sensational new details emerge to cast a whole new light on the band’s history – especially their early years with Atlantic Records in the United States. Former AC/DC members and musicians from bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Dropkick Murphys, Airbourne and Rose Tattoo also give their perspectives on the Youngs’ brand of magic.

Their music has never pulled its punches. Neither does The Youngs. After 40 years, AC/DC might just have got the serious book it deserves.

Grab a copy of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC here

Happy Birthday Jimi Hendrix – His Memoir Starting At Zero Is Out Now

Jimi Hendrix was born on this day 71 years ago. Any excuse to play some Hendrix is a good excuse, particularly with a fantastic collection of his writing, Starting At Zero, out now.

Here are some things you might not have known about Jimi:

- Jimi Hendrix was actually born as Johnny Allen Hendrix.

- His father changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix in memory of his late brother.

- Hendrix was left-handed. Rather than play a left-handed guitar he played a right-handed guitar strung upside-down.

- He requested the original cover for his final album cover Electric Ladyland, a photo of a group of naked ladies women, be changed because he found it offensive and irrelevant.

- Former Greens Leader Bob Brown was a resident doctor on call at the London Hospital when Hendrix’s body was brought in.

- Rolling Stone magazine named him the greatest guitarist of all-time in 2011.

Starting At Zero

by Jimi Hendrix

It took just four years in the spotlight for Jimi Hendrix to become an international cultural icon. The sheer impact and originality of his music and his unique mastery of the guitar placed him for ever amongst musical giants. But what of the man behind the public image?

Modest and intensely private by nature, Jimi was shrouded in intrigue from the moment he first came into the public eye, and the mystery has only grown with time. Much has been written about him by experts, fans and critics, some of it true and some of it not. He did, however, leave his own account of himself locked away like a Chinese puzzle in his many interviews, lyrics, writings, poems, diaries and even stage raps. Starting At Zero brings all these elements together in narrative form. The result is an intimate, funny and poetic memoir – one that tells, for the first time, Jimi’s own story as only he could tell it.

Grab a copy of Starting At Zero here

And this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is Jimi.

Grab a copy of Starting At Zero here

GUEST BLOG: Five Important Books About AC/DC by Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

With sales of over 200 million albums, AC/DC is not just the biggest rock band in the world. It’s a family business built by three brothers: George, Malcolm and Angus Young. And, as with any business, some people prospered while others got hurt along the way.

The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC is unlike any AC/DC book you’ve read before. Less a biography, more a critical appreciation, it tells the story of the trio through 11 classic songs and reveals some of the personal and creative secrets that went into their making.

As part of Booktoberfest, author Jesse Fink guides you through five other important books about the world’s biggest band: AC/DC.


highway-to-hellHighway To Hell
by Clinton Walker

A biography of Bon Scott published back in 1994. Walker is a very good writer and didn’t get a lot of help from the Youngs or their camp for this book. Actually, like all the band’s biographers, he got diddly squat. Big mistake on their part.

He wasn’t afraid to dish it up to the Youngs, describing them as “a closed shop, uniformly suspicious, paranoid almost, possessed of the virtual opposite of Bon’s generosity, prone to sullenness… Angus and Malcolm had this incredible tunnel vision where no one else counted . . . insularity bordering on paranoia”. Strong stuff.

Bon emerges as a true Australian larrikin antihero and this book did a lot to cement his legend. I have a lot of admiration for the work that was involved in this book… more


Highway To Hell
by Joe Bonomo

Not to be confused with the Walker tome, this is about the crucial 1979 album produced by Zambian mega-producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange”, also of Foreigner, Maroon 5, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams and Def Leppard fame.

It was published by Continuum as part of the “33 1/3” series. It’s slim, really a long essay rather than a book, but Bonomo brings a fresh American perspective on the AC/DC story by writing from the point of view of a young man growing up in Wheaton, Maryland, hearing this landmark album from these wild colonial boys for the first time and, like me and every AC/DC fan, being blown the f*** away by it.

He strongly denounces AC/DC for their lyrics to “Night Prowler”, a song that unfortunately came to be associated with the Richard Ramirez killings in California in the early 1980s (Ramirez was a fan of AC/DC). The band claimed the song was simply about a guy sneaking into his girlfriend’s room late at night. Bonomo disagrees: “Bon Scott’s more treacherous imagery pushes the song into regrettably mean places. I’m not sure that the band can have it both ways.” He’s absolutely right. How else do you explain the lyrics, And you don’t feel the steel/Till it’s hanging out your back?… more


Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside and Outside of AC/DC
by Mark Evans

The first autobiography by a current or former member of AC/DC. Mark got treated poorly by the Youngs. He was sacked in 1977 and has plenty of reasons to take off the gloves – such as his being denied induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003; a disgraceful decision – but largely doesn’t.

That said, he doesn’t avoid being critical of his former bandmates, such as his description of Angus and Malcolm as being “morose, grumpy, sullen and generally not too much fun to be around”. As a piece of writing, this book is straightforward but there are some lovely passages and at points it’s deeply personal, moving and poignant.

Mark’s not afraid to show his sensitive side and that’s to his immense credit… more


AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll
by Murray Engleheart with Arnaud Durieux

Not the “definitive” biography it claims to be and appears to be from its enormous heft, but what’s “definitive” anyway?

This book has a lot of useful information and was the product of years of intensive research but it just reads like a laundry list of shows and album releases.

It could have benefited from more structure and a lot more critical analysis.

Too many AC/DC books are hagiographies. This isn’t one but it comes close… more


AC/DC: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be
by Mick Wall

Again, another brick of a book embracing a conventional biographical format, but the difference is Wall is much more strident with his opinions.

If you’ve read Highway To Hell by Walker and AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll by Engleheart, in my view this is really only super-essential for hardcore fans of the band.

It’s most notable for his theory about the circumstances of Bon Scott’s death in 1980, involving the possible role of heroin… more


 

NEWS: Music Legend Lou Reed Dies Aged 71

Reed_LouOne of music’s most influential figures Lou Reed has passed away in New York overnight.

The cause was complications from a liver transplant, which he received in May at the Cleveland Clinic.

Rather than mourn the great man, it is only fitting to celebrate one of the finest songwriters of the last century.

Here is his masterpiece, Perfect Day. Read the lyrics, give it a listen, and remember Lou today.

Just a perfect day
drink Sangria in the park
And then later
when it gets dark, we go home

Just a perfect day
feed animals in the zoo
Then later
a movie, too, and then home

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spend it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day
problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
it’s such fun

Just a perfect day
you made me forget myself
I thought I was
someone else, someone good

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on

You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow

Click here to read more about Lou Reed

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