Entertainment Book Club

Music Books - Selections

Playback: From the Victrola to Mp3, 100 Years of Music, Machines, and Money
by Mark Coleman
Hardcover: 268 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.85 x 7.80 x 5.50
Publisher: DaCapo Press; (January 6, 2004)

This short and sweet historical overview of the connection between music, technology (primarily the "playback" function) and the "systematic marketing of recorded music" is the perfect gift for aging boomers who, like Coleman, were caught "completely unawares" by the Internet and related developments such as the MP3 file-sharing format and Napster, which brought MP3 file sharing to the world. Coleman, however, has the advantage of being a rock critic who brings a formidable range of knowledge about his subject. He is as comfortable writing about how pioneers such as Edison and Bell were "blind to the full significance" of their sonic inventions as he is about lesser-known luminaries such as Dr. Paul Goldmark, who invented the "microgroove" LP for CBS. He is also consistently excellent and authoritative on the myriad ways over the decades that the art of making music has shifted away from audio documentation and moved toward "aural creation." While his survey of '60s rock and radio trends will be familiar to any fan of pop music, it provides numerous interesting related observations, such as how the LP "stands as the most enduring cultural legacy bequeathed to baby boomers by their parents." The highlight of the book is its final section, a near-definitive review of recent trends in computer-based listening habits that persuasively argues that "the seductive allure of the MP3 format is all about selection and portability, not thievery and deceit."

I Don't Mean to Be Rude, But... : Backstage Gossip from American Idol & the Secrets that Can Make You a Star
by Simon Cowell (Author)
Hardcover: 246 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.84 x 8.50 x 5.68 Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st edition (December 2, 2003)

Since the debut of American Idol, puckish Brit judge Simon Cowell has become America?s most notorious critic?not only on account of his incredible instinct for spotting the next breakout musical stars, but for his hilarious, shockingly candid repartee with everyone who crosses his path. Now, true to form, he holds nothing back, offering you a backstage pass to America?s hottest show?the highlights, the gossip, the contestants who blew their chances?and takes you on a whirlwind tour of the music business while sharing his own insider opinions, on everything. From his days in the mailroom at EMI Records to the creation of American Idol, Simon has always had a knack for judging talent and for being center stage. Here, he tells the rollicking stories of his first insult (to his mother), his first music criticism (to first-grade teacher Mrs. Prigg), and his first image makeover (on his unfortunate younger brother). And of course, the side-splitting backstory of the birth of American Idol?and all the dreadful auditions, bad hair days, judges squabbles, juicy rumors, surprise triumphs, and #1 singles that followed. With his trademark wit and brutal honesty, Simon delivers the real dish on: Who gave the best and worst performances on the show? What really goes on between the three judges (and what was it like to kiss Paula Abdul)? Who were the biggest divas when the cameras weren?t rolling? And, if you?re an aspiring Justin or J.Lo, you?ll also learn the trade secrets that only Simon knows: how to develop an image and make the most of your talent, how to find an agent or manager, how to nail an audition, and?should you be so lucky to make it to the top how to stretch your 15 minutes into a career. Packed with razor-sharp insights into music, the fame game, and pop-music powerhouses from the Beatles to Britney Spears, I Don?t Mean to Be Rude, But is your ticket inside American Idol, and a highly amusing, no-holds-barred look at what it takes to make it big.

Howling at the Moon : The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in an Age of Excess
Hardcover: 320 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.09 x 9.08 x 6.34
Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st edition (March 2, 2004

This memoir by Yetnikoff, the former president of CBS Records, may lead to hipsters changing the phrase "partying like a rock star" to "partying like the president of a record label." After joining CBS in 1962, Yetnikoff, who guided the careers of Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, among others, became addicted to power, sex, drugs and alcohol as he gave himself over to the everything-in-excess rock and roll lifestyle. Recruited to CBS by fellow lawyer and future music mogul Clive Davis, Yetnikoff, with the help of right-hand man Tommy Mottola, alternated between swinging deals and pissing off a who's who of entertainment's elite including Michael Eisner, David Geffen, Michael Ovitz and Steve Ross. Though once in a while it feels as if he is a name dropper of the highest level, Yetnikoff shows an unguarded side of musicians that the public rarely sees. Similarly, he sometimes still feels the need to prove he did the most coke or had the most sex, but for the most part the story of his downward spiral, which leads to losing his job and family and brings him to the edge of death, is captivating and even occasionally touching. Thanks to coauthor and music writer Ritz, the book maintains its fast pace and conversational style from start to finish so that, in the end, Yetnikoff's raucous life story becomes a cautionary tale, with a steady backbeat. Photos.

A Simple Twist of Fate: Bob Dylan and the Making of Blood on the Tracks
by Andy Gill, Kevin Odegard
Hardcover: 256 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.94 x 8.34 x 5.78
Publisher: DaCapo Press; (February 17, 2004)

An in-depth, eyewitness account of the creation of one of Bob Dylan's most celebrated, anguished albums, written by the album's guitarist and an acclaimed journalist. In 1974 Bob Dylan wrote, recorded, reconsidered, and then re-recorded Blood on the Tracks, and to this day, no one who hears it can avoid being blown away by its emotional power. Commonly referred to as "the greatest break-up album of all time," it was written as Dylan's own twelve-year marriage began to painfully unravel. Songs like "Tangled Up in Blue," "Idiot Wind," and "Shelter from the Storm" have become the template for multidimensional, adult songs of love, longing, and loss. Yet the full story behind the creation of this album has never been told. The authors have drawn upon first-hand information and interviews with the musicians, producers, industry insiders, as well as Dylan's friends, associates, and relatives. A Simple Twist of Fate is an engaging chronicle of how one artist transformed his personal pain and confusion into great art.

40 Watts from Nowhere : A Journey into Pirate Radio
by Sue Carpenter (Author)
Hardcover: 240 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.84 x 8.74 x 5.81 Publisher: Scribner; (February 17, 2004)

When law office receptionist Sue Carpenter first asked how she might start her own radio station, everyone laughed. Getting on the air (legitimately) in San Francisco was a multimillion-dollar ambition. But in 1995, with the help of a few subversive techies and pirate-radio gurus, Sue built her first transmitter in her hilltop San Francisco apartment and launched KPBJ, enlisting friends as DJs. A few months later, Sue landed a magazine job in Los Angeles, took her transmitter with her, and established KBLT. From these humble beginnings KBLT emerged as one of L.A.'s best-loved radio stations, staffed with more than a hundred DJs and supported by major music labels eager to reach a different kind of audience. The station expanded its playlist from indie rock to an eclectic mix of jazz, hip-hop, electronica, and countless other styles. In the three and a half years before the FCC finally caught up with Sue, KBLT went from interviewing unknowns to hosting live performances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers -- without ever leaving Sue's apartment. 40 Watts from Nowhere is Sue's frank and hilarious account of her bizarre double life during the height of California's pirate-radio boom: journalist by day, counterculture icon by night. It's an amazing true story, one that will instantly appeal to music fans -- and free spirits -- everywhere.

Temples of Sound: Inside the Great Recording Studios
by William Clark, Jim Cogan, Quincy Jones
Paperback: 224 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.78 x 9.98 x 7.52
Publisher: Chronicle Books; (March 2003)

All great music has a birthplace. Temples of Sound tells the stories of the legendary studios where musical genius and a magical space came together to capture some of the most exciting jazz, pop, funk, soul, and country records ever made. From the celebrated Southern studios of Sun and Stax, to the John Coltrane/Miles Davis sessions in producer Rudy Van Gelder¡¯s living room, to Frank Sinatra¡¯s swinging cuts at state-of-the-art Capitol Records, each of the 15 profiles in this book brings great music to life at the moment of its creation. With a trove of never-before-seen photographs and fascinating, all-new interviews with the musicians and producers who made the records, Temples of Sound is a rich inspiration for music fans.

How to Be a Hit Songwriter : Polishing and Marketing Your Lyrics and Music
by Molly-Ann Leikin
Paperback: 192 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.51 x 8.90 x 6.34
Publisher: Hal Leonard; 3rd edition (June 1, 2003)

You've written what you think is a great melody, what you hope is a strong lyric, and you've cut what sounds to you like a killer track. But how do you know if it's a hit? And what do you do with it if it is? Your only option is How to Be a Hit Songwriter, essential reading for advanced songwriters.Molly-Ann Leikin is the award-winning songwriter/songwriting consultant who helps good songwriters all over the world become hit songwriters. Whether your work just needs a little rewriting, polishing or some strong connections, Leikin will guide you step by step to the top of the charts. In How to Be a Hit Songwriter she offers expert advice and exercises, including "Seven Easy Steps to Writing Hit Lyrics." The book features inside information that can turn your song into a potential hit. What's more, she's interviewed music industry power players who share tips that are essential to all developing artists.

The Ultimate Survival Guide to the New Music Industry: A Handbook for Hell by Justin Goldberg
Paperback: 300 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.96 x 9.04 x 6.04 ,br> Publisher: Lone Eagle Publishing Company; Book and CD-ROM edition (January 2004)

Ask anyone in or around the music industry today about music or the music business and they will tell you this: Almost everything has changed?from how artists are signed and marketed to how the companies that sign them function. No matter what your music industry mission is or what style of music you play, you need current inside information to succeed in what many perceive as the most ominous of industries. Industry veteran Justin Goldberg tells musicians, songwriters and budding moguls what they should be doing to succeed. From setting up an indie label to shopping songs and gaining airplay and getting signed (or not), these invaluable insights are meticulously documented in an informative guide to creating a career in music. Includes a CD-ROM (Mac and PC) with hundreds of pages of valuable business forms, recording and publishing-related contracts, and detailed contact information on thousands of record companies and other industry professionals.

This Business of Artist Management
by Xavier M., Jr. Frascogna, H. Lee Hetherington (Contributor), Tad Lathrop
Hardcover: 304 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.15 x 9.58 x 6.27
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Pubns; 2nd edition (January 2003)

Online music has provided much of the fuel, with downloadable songs and file-sharing programs opening up new avenues of distribution and promotion to some 60 million consumers. The new edition of this book accounts for this transformation. Its focus is the full integration of online sales and promotion into the standard marketing mix. To emphasize the Internet's integration into the marketing process, Internet chapters are now spread out to relevant locations throughout the narrative. In addition, the first edition's chapter on promotion, "Promoting the Product," has been broken into several chapters to differentiate activities that come under this heading, including publicity; radio, video, and television promotion; sales promotion and miscellaneous activities; and online promotion. In addition, a new chapter entitled "Twenty Profile-Building Ideas to Use Right Now" has been added to the new edition, as have new interviews representing the spectrum of music marketing activity: a successful self-marketing musician, a record label marketer, and an Internet specialist. Also included is expanded coverage of new marketing tactics, from innovative uses of e-mail to more intelligent approaches to generating sales on a Web site.

Donna Grayson Home Page
Entertainment Book Club Home Page
Donna Grayson - Music MP3s & Independent CD
Donna's Acting Resume and Pictures
Donna's Holiday Pages
Donna's Poetry
Donna's Cool Movies