Oasis: Revealed (Lee Henshaw) – Book Review

Oasis Revealed Lee Henshaw

"Oasis: Revealed" Came Out In 1996. Written By Lee Henshaw And Published By Parragon, It Covered Their Crowning Achievements As A Band.

This was the first book in English that I ever bought. That was fitting enough, as the first album I ever purchased was “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?”. And the second one? “Be Here Now”. I had quite a story with the Gallagher boys and their gang when I was a teenager. I eventually disowned them, but good albums are good albums and deserve their share of praise. And as always, if you get to know the story behind the words and the music then the ties can become more endurable.

This book certainly made me feel an increased love for the band, even when it was (and will always be) a modest effort. It is not that revealing, to be brutally frank. It covers the story up until the band rocked Maine Road. That means it reaches up to 1996. Only “Definitely Maybe” and “Morning Glory” are covered as a result. You get a good glimpse on the band’s formative days, and all the obvious events and incidents (the fight on the ferry during their first European tour that resulted in the “Wibbling Rivalry” CD, the run-in with Blur, Knebworth…) are covered.

The obvious comparison is Paolo Hewitt’s “Getting High – The Adventures Of Oasis”. It covers the same period, but it is the “official” account. It is a far lengthier book, and you even learn about mother Peggy Gallagher and how she met Thomas, not to mention having a minute overview of the boys’ teenage years. In terms of content, it wins hand down. Continue reading

Paul Weller: The Unauthorised Biography (Steve Malins) – Book Review

This Unofficial Biography Of Paul Weller Was Published In 1996 By Virgin Books. The Biographer Is Steve Malins.

This Unofficial Biography Of Paul Weller Was Published In 1996 By Virgin Books. The Biographer Is Steve Malins.

Written by Steve Malins (best known for being the biographer of Depeche Mode) and published by Virgin Books in 1996, this book chronicles Paul’s entire career until the release of the “Stanley Road” album in 1995. You also have a good overview of his early years, and the ever-present figure of his father (who was to remain Paul’s manager right until he passed away in April, 2009). That was something I really liked about the book – the way the (quite unique) partnerships in music of a father and a son that lasted for more than 30 years can be seen as it was forming, consolidating itself and then when it was tested by commercial apathy only to stand stronger than ever.

The book has 9 chapters which map out Paul’s life and career clearly enough, with the Jam having the most extensive ones as it is only suitable (pardon the pun). The Style Council’s years receive the right amount of pages, too, and the flow is very convincing – how the band lost its edge gradually, and how Paul became isolated in his own (and misguided) artistic sense. The final segment touches upon his tentative steps as a solo artist (“The Paul Weller Movement”) and the subsequent successes of “Wild Wood” and “Stanley Road”. Continue reading

The Kids Are Alright – Biopic Review

"The Kids Are Alright" Was Directed By Super-fan Jeff Stein. Its Theatrical Release Was In 1979.

"The Kids Are Alright" Was Directed By Super-fan Jeff Stein. Its Theatrical Release Was In 1979.

The music of The Who came from them being one of the truly unique ensembles in the history of music. If there was ever a band with a million tales to tell, it was them. The way those guys were together and constantly at odds was something that their music did not necessarily convey, until one (correctly) interpreted the outrageous volume as a telltale of bottled emotions and anger. But there was also enormous love and belief lying at the heart of it all. And that was something which just had to be told.

“The Kids Are Alright” (1979) was assembled with that objective in mind. The idea was to show what made the band so distinctive, and why it was that their fans were so loyal. The movie itself (directed by a then-young Jeff Stein, and released shortly after Keith Moon died) achieved that aim, but only in a certain sense: it captured their offstage irreverence in full flight by the inclusion of interviews and specials that were shot through the years. Continue reading

Chalkhills and Children (Chris Twomey) – Book Review

The Cover Of The Book. The Picture Comes From The "Nonsuch" Photo Shot.

The Cover Of The Book. The Picture Comes From The "Nonsuch" Photo Shot.

Named after one of Andy’s most ethereal compositions, this book (first released in 1992) stands as a moving portrait of a band that is incredibly cerebral, and yet has the ability to tug at your heartstrings like few bands in history. That contradiction comes as no surprise. The story of XTC involves the clash between ideals and reality, and that is something that comes across very vividly on this book.

The book has 188 pages. It includes 10 chapters, two sections of black & white photographs and a discography at the end. It begins out of chronological order (the first chapter deals with Andy’s breakdown) and then the story properly starts and it is run without detours or digressions. It is also an “authorized” biography – the book was compiled from interviews with the band members and their families. And most key figures like Todd Rundgren and Steve Lillywhite are also among the interviewees. Continue reading

Moon: The Life And Death Of A Rock Legend (Tony Fletcher) – Book Review


Without a doubt, this is one of the best biographies I have ever set my eyes on. This edition was first published in 1999 by Spike. The enthusiasm and integrity of biographer Tony Fletcher drives the book along its 40 chapters, and he takes upon himself to demolish a myriad of myths and legends along the way.

The Beachcombers were not a surf band. Keith’s audition did not take place as we were always told. His 21st birthday party was exaggerated. But Fletcher has a deft way of bringing some much needed light into a life that was to be incredibly aggrandized, explaining how these fabrications are really secondary to Keith Moon as a man and as a musician like no other. Continue reading

Elton John In His Own Words (Susan Black) – Book Review

Elton John IHOW

The Front Cover Of The Book

Compiled by Susan Black, this book was released by Omnibus Press in England in the year 1993. As in other “In Their Own Words” titles it gathers assorted quotes from all through the years and mashes them together by theme. I used the verb “mash” deliberately, as the book could use some editing – there are quotes that appear multiple times under different headings, and such a thing can turn out to be certainly annoying.

Some of the featured chapters include “Songwriting”, “”Money & Possessions” and (of course) “Clothes & Accessories”. The most comprehensive section is thankfully the one named “The Records”, and we can see facets of Elton that are not necessarily palpable through his music in the chapters “Sports” and “Politics”. Continue reading

Before I Get Old – The Story Of The Who (Dave Marsh) – Book Review

The Original Cover

The Original Cover

Published in 1983, this book covers the story of The Who from the very inception of the band to their farewell tour of 1982. It is a lengthy book (it has 546 pages), and many criticisms were leveled at it owing to that – it was claimed the story was not balanced, since the book has 36 chapters and only one deals with the post-Moon Who. The Kenny Jones albums barely get a paragraph each, whereas the “classic” Who records are covered from every angle to the point that the descriptions become too exhaustive (and even exhausting) for some people.
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