Books are released all year round and there is always a great range to choose from but it seems to me that there is a much bigger range of biographies released in time for Christmas.
Do you have music lovers in your life that are difficult to buy for, trying to find the perfect gift…that they don’t already have? Here’s a couple of the newly released music bios and autobiographies that are sure to appeal to a wide range of music lovers.
Let’s start right here in Australia with ex-Cold Chisel front-man Jimmy Barnes.
Working class Boy – Jimmy Barnes
Jimmy Barnes is a world-renowned musician both as the Cold Chisel front-man and a solo artist. His career has spanned over four decades and would definitely be an interesting read to get inside of – but that’s not what is on offer in Working Class Boy.
Working Class Boy takes us back, way back, to the time before Jimmy Barnes and Cold Chisel. This is the story of all that went into shaping Jimmy Barnes, the childhood that created the man. According to Barnes himself this is his third attempt at writing his story, the first two attempts were unsuccessful because he skirted a lot of his past making it far from a complete and accurate picture. They didn’t do what they needed for him personally and they lacked the heart they needed.
Working Class Boy on the other hand tells the entire story, from his poverty stricken beginnings in Glasgow to his drug and alcohol fuelled teen years in South Australia’s Elizabeth.
Jimmy Barnes was born James Dixon Swan and is one of six children who migrated to Australia with his parents in the early 1960s where things didn’t turn out quite the way they planned. A childhood of violence, poverty and alcohol abuse grows into an adolescence of drugs, alcohol and violence.
It is the story of striving to be more than your childhood and getting ahead, and getting out. Of looking back as an adult with a new understanding and perspective.
Working Class Boy promises to be an interesting read for those who want a deeper understanding of the man.
If you want the rise to fame and highly acclaimed career of Jimmy Barnes then you are going to have to wait for the sequel. This story finishes soon after he joins Cold Chisel when the band move to WA, work has started on a follow up book so if it’s the career you’re after that will be the book for you.
Working Class Boy is published by HarperCollins and available now where all good books are sold.
Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses – Mick Wall
Guns N’ Roses have been around since the 80s and they are a band I have always loved, they were the soundtrack to my adolescence and those albums are still on high rotation in my iTunes.
Reading the media release for this book and the mention of its author being immortalized in one of the songs on Use Your Illusion II has the song running through my head on repeat and making it hard to focus on the words I need to find.
The 80s may have seen the birth of Guns N’ Roses and the years may not have been kind to them but here we are decades later and they are on tour again with a number of the original members in a show that promises to be a great night.
Mick Wall is a renowned music journalist who has written a host of bestselling rock biographies. He has known the band since the early days and became part of their inner circle. This book is a celebration of Guns N’ Roses and of Axl Rose, an in-depth look at the members, the band, the lifestyle and the time that they began in.
The writing is evocative of the time and is beautifully descriptive. Wall takes us right into the depths of the band, what made them and what broke them. He gives an insider view of the LA and West Hollywood that the young members found themselves in early in the 80s.
It has been said that Guns N’ Roses are The Last of the Giants, a band out of time, and when they hit the scene along with a lot of other bands that were becoming more mainstream and MTV-friendly they remained more hard-core.
A lot has been written about Guns N’ Roses in all of it’s incarnations, not all of it has been the truth, not all of it has been authorised and none of it goes as deep as Last of the Giants by Mick Wall – a guy who has known them since the beginning.
This is a book that definitely needs to be on the wishlist of Guns N’ Roses fans everywhere and I intend to make some time to sit and really immerse myself in every word.
Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses is published by Hachette and is available now where all good books are sold.
Being Elvis – Ray Connolly
Elvis Presley is a household name across the world, and though he’s been gone almost as long as I’ve been alive his legend most certainly lives on.
His music still makes it onto movie soundtracks today and is much loved the world over. Elvis remains a music legend almost 40 years after his death and there has been much written about him over the years.
Being Elvis is a brand new biography written by journalist Ray Connolly, who interviewed Elvis and many other Sixties and Seventies rock stars. In Being Elvis Ray explores the man behind the fame, the man who became trapped in his insecurities and loneliness.
I think often we forget that these stars whose music helps shape our lives are also just people. Many of them suffer the same insecurities as the rest of us and a lot of them came from disadvantaged childhoods, just thinking about that now and all the books in this post have huge stars that came from very poor or traumatic childhoods.
Elvis may have grown up very poor but he did have a lot of love around him as a child and a very close relationship with his mother, losing her would have been a massive blow; as it is to everyone.
The Elvis we saw on stage and on the screen was charismatic and confident, oozing charm and sex appeal but that was very much a public persona. Elvis behind closed doors was a very different man, vulnerable and insecure, lonely and anxious.
Being Elvis will be a must read for lifelong fans of the man, the musician and the legend; I’m sure it will be an interesting read to give a new depth to the man many have loved.
Being Elvis is published by Hachette and is available now where all good books are sold.
Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen is an acclaimed singer and songwriter who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Hall of Fame which is a pretty impressive career feat really.
Born to Run is the life of Springsteen in his own words; words that paint vivid pictures in the mind the same way his lyrics do.
Beginning as a child in New Jersey and taking us right through to now Springsteen lets us inside his mind to understand him better than any biographer could do. He hasn’t shared all of his secrets and told all of his truths because there are other people involved and he is sensitive to that, but he has shared enough so that readers can begin to understand his mind a little better.
Springsteen started writing Born to Run in 2009 after performing in the Super Bowl halftime show, an exhilarating career highlight that he decided needed to be written about – and became the starting point of the autobiography. A story that has taken him seven years to write around all of his other commitments.
We hear of his struggles, his triumphs, his upbringing and a lot of very personal issues many would not be familiar with.
Born to Run is an in-depth look at an inspirational man who never let the fire of his passions burn out and is sure to be captivating reading for Springsteen fans.
Born To Run is published by Simon & Schuster and available now where all good books are sold.