It’s the last full month of summer and it’s hotter than ever. Going down the shore or sitting by the pool has become the best way to beat the heat, and there’s no better way to occupy yourself while basking in the sun than opening a book. However, this late in the season, chances are you’ve dug through your summer reading list and been left scrambling for the next epic novel to dive into while the sun still shines.
Here at Rock Music Menu, you won’t find suggestions for anything this great. But there is some junk food for the brain, music-related titles, both curious and fascinating, that will make the time pass faster and make you forget the heat for a while.
“LENNON, DYLAN, ALICE AND JESUS: THE SPIRITUAL BIOGRAPHY OF ROCK’N’ROLL”
It is worth noting that “Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus” was written by a senior pastor for the Harvest Christian Fellowship in California. And while the book could certainly be filed away as “religion” at your local bookstore, don’t let any of that dissuade you from what is an utterly fascinating study of some of the biggest names in music history who found salvation through his belief in a higher power.
It looks at how the likes of John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and Prince’s one-time protégé Shelia E. discovered God, often when they were at their worst personally or professionally – sometimes both at once. Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus chronicles the birth of rock and roll from the mid-1950s to the present day, with Laurie using personal memories combined with carefully curated research to peer into the hearts and souls of the key players in music. industry. Not all of them stayed on the religious path, some tried and some were devoted for life, but the journey was interesting nonetheless.
“MYSTERIES IN MUSIC: CASE CLOSED”
Producer and screenwriter Jim Birkenstadt fancies himself more than just an explorer; he even goes by the moniker “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Detective”, and in “Mysteries in Music: Case Closed” he fully earns the moniker. The book examines the secrets, myths, legends, hoaxes, conspiracies and events that make part of music history so intriguing.
Divided into eight chapters, Berkenstadt goes back to the 1950s to reveal “Who Really Discovered Elvis Presley?” and to the 1960s, when a folk troubadour tried to form a supergroup with members of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He goes behind the scenes of a CIA intrigue in Jamaica in 1976 to discover whether the spy agency tried to influence an election and orchestrate the assassination of reggae superstar Bob Marley, and discovers whether The Beach Boys really stole a song from the leader of the Charles Manson cult. There’s much more, including the secrets behind Nirvana’s Nevermind album, which makes for a well-rounded look at multiple genres of music.
BLACK SABBATH: AN ORAL HISTORY
Originally published in 1998, this updated oral history of Black Sabbath doesn’t add a wealth of material beyond some corrections and a few revisions, but it remains an entertaining compilation of interviews over the years with members of the iconic heavy metal heroes from their early days to the late 90s. those years.
It’s hard to get this type of book wrong because the material comes straight from the subjects’ mouths. The way Mike Stark arranges these words is where they fly or flap, and in this case it leads to a concise narrative of the band through the era of Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio to the period in the 80s and mid-90s. them when guitarist Tony Iommi struggled to keep the Sabbath’s name relevant. It would be nice to see a second part with the last two decades plus, but this is enough as a window into a certain time.
“VAN HALEN: THE Eruption AND THE AFTERSHOCK” [AUDIOBOOK]
Doubling as an alternative for those who prefer to listen to their reading material as well as a shameless plug, my book Van Halen: The Eruption and the Aftershock was recently released as an audiobook. Not only can you get it from all the major platforms like Audible, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play, but it’s narrated by you!
Hear me tell the story of arguably America’s greatest hard rock band from their beginnings as a backyard party band to the lead singers’ soap opera manipulations to the long-awaited reunion with original lead singer David Lee Roth in 2007. The cast is long , the intense drama and musical payoff make it all worth it.
VINYL OF THE WEEK
Watch this space as we’ll be looking at new or soon to be released vinyl from different artists each week. This could be a reprint of a landmark recording, a special edition or a new collection of a legendary performance. This week it’s a prog-rock classic from the 70s in an amazingly detailed packaging.
JETHRO TULL – THICK AS A BRICK
Equal parts deferred and inspired by the critics who called their 1971 breakthrough effort Aqualung a concept record, Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson went full-steam ahead on its follow-up, creating one of the most revered concept albums in progressive rock. Released in March 1972, “Thick as a Brick” became an instant classic, a title it still holds 50 years later.
The record features rock first, with one continuous track – the title track – on both sides. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, “Thick as a Brick” has been reproduced in its original vinyl format and as a 12-page newspaper. Unlike all other records on the market, the long-playing record was placed in The St. Cleve Chronicle and Linwell Advertiser’. The newspaper includes many news articles full of continuous jokes, crossword, connect the dots and many more.
Originally written by Anderson and his Tull bandmates Jeffrey Hammond and John Evan, the paper took longer to compose than the music. As the paper reported, the lyrics were attributed at the time to the fictitious child character Gerald Bostock, whose parents had lied about his age. Among the many articles there is a candid review of the album itself.
“Thick as a Brick” vinyl is taken from Steven Wilson’s 2012 remix. A must for any rock record collection, the album has been mastered at half speed from the original tapes for the first time, providing the ultimate audio experience. By cutting at half speed, you give the cutting stylus – and the entire system – twice as much time to record the mechanical groove, which greatly improves quality.
Thick as a Brick 50th Anniversary can be found online and from all reputable vinyl retailers.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, email [email protected] Also, check out his blog at www.thechroniclesofmc.com.