Whether you're sitting in at home instead of watching the Stones at Glastonbury or maybe just want a rock n roll paperback to take with you on the road to Somerset, here's a preview of five rock biographies out this month.
Neil Young: Waging Heavy Peace
The sell: Singular figure in U.S. rock recounts life and career – and not to some ghost writer either.
What to expect: Candid, career spanning musings and Labrador style enthusiasm (fan of an exclamation mark is Young,) presented in short, sharp bursts. Expect riffs on LSD, hippiedom, Crazy Horse, grunge and how a broken toe got him into writing this. Don’t worry, it’s a short story.
What the critics say: "Cranky, charming, sometimes unwittingly hilarious" The Guardian
Sample quote: On how, Haeco-CSG, a new way to produce albums messed up his first solo record: “Holy shit! This completely fucked up my first solo record, Neil Young, so it didn’t sound anything like the mixes. What a beginning! My first solo record release! My masterpiece. I was totally blown out, being a technical freak of sorts even at that age.”
Page count: Clocks in at 497. Well, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
Out now on Penguin paperback
The Stone Roses: War and Peace, by Simon Spence
The sell: The definitive story including five pages long ‘cast, in order of appearance’. Shakespeare goes baggy, basically.
What to expect: Comprehensive retelling of majestic rise, shambolic fall and royal resurrection of the original Northern wags. Unseen photos include one of entire band pissing in a field. Top, mate!
Sample quote: “They were a rowdy bunch, cruising about and getting ‘involved in skullduggery and shenanigans’, often clashing with the ‘smellies’ or ‘stinkers’ in nearby Oldham. ‘We’d kick fuck out of anyone with a leather jacket on or with long hair or anything like that,’ Mani said.”
What the critics say: "A northern picaresque full of pathos and farce, and Spence’s version is as good as definitive." Word (RIP)
Out now on Penguin paperback
Telling Stories: Tim Burgess
The sell: What it's like to take on the world – according to lead singer of slightly lesser Madchester group.
What to expect: The pout has it as teen heartthrob of Manchester pop pens a heartfelt take on sex, drugs and living the L.A. dream. Also includes childhood snaps with mam and dad Burgess.
Sample quote: "Some people do join a band to improve their sex life – girls can’t resist a narcissistic front man, all ego, sweat and leather trousers, with whom to pursue their rock n roll fantasies. I was too in love with the idea of love and being in love."
What the critics say: "Searingly honest" The Times
Page count: 240.
Out 4 July on Penguin paperback
Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music by Burt Bacharach with Robert Greenfield
The sell: Gongs and grave drama from the master of smooth.
What to expect: The human tragedies behind the slick sound including Bacharach’s daughter’s suicide, his three divorces and an acrimonious professional split from lyricist Hal David.
Sample quote: "Hal and I wanted Johnny Rivers to record the theme song for Casino Royale, so they brought him over to London but he didn’t like the song. He wasn’t very nice about it and left abruptly."
What the critics say: "There are 4 B’s in music…Beethoven, Brahms, Bach and Bacharach" Ira Gershwin
Page count: 282
Out now on Atlantic Books
I’m Your Man - The Life of Leonard Cohen, by Sylvie Simmons
The sell: Personal friend and music journalist gives Cohen the heavyweight tome he deserves.
What to expect: Excellently written, intensively detailed character study of songwriting genius. Includes chats with fellow monks. Yes, that detailed.
Sample quote: “He is a trim man – there’s no excess to him at all – and smaller than you might think. Shipshape. You imagine that he wouldn’t find it hard to wear a uniform. Right now he is wearing a suit. It is dark, pinstriped, double-breasted, and if it’s off the peg it doesn’t look it. ‘Darling,’ says Leonard, ‘I was born in a suit.’”
What the critics say: "Like a beautifully plotted piece of fiction, with an extraordinary and bewitching character at its centre." The Independent
Page count: A door stopping 499.
Out now on Vintage paperback.