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    Fun Size Trending Topics September 23, 2021. His Name? St. Dangerous Of Course CD929

Just Emma here! I have always been fascinated by the stories surrounding the writing of my favorite songs, and that developed into an interest in understanding the lives of musicians. I’ve read many music-related biographies and autobiographies. I’d like to present to you today a few of my recommendations. Maybe you’ll like them yourself, or maybe they’ll make great gifts for the readers in your life (’tis the season, after all). Either way, here are a few music biographies I enjoy in something of a countdown format:

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7) A Brighter Day: A Jellyfish Story, Craig Dorfman
For a band that was a flash in the pan, Jellyfish impacted a great deal of later music (for a recent example, check out “Ghost at #1” vs Poppy’s “Concrete”) and have amassed a huge and devoted fan base even to this day. Yet there was very little information available to fans before Craig Dorfman compiled all he could, including new interviews. It’s a rare look at a band gone too soon with great writing from an obvious admirer of Jellyfish.

6) High School, Tegan Quin and Sara Quin
Twins and bandmates Tegan and Sara Quin take turns telling tales of their high school years: the times their lives intersected and when they clashed. The Quin sisters take us straight back to the ‘90s and the crucial moments at the start of their careers in music, without falling into the trappings of a typical musical autobiography.
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5) Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff, Michael Nesmith
Michael Nesmith was always considered to be the brainy member of The Monkees. He wrote many non-autobiographical books, including one designed to be read alongside his album. His autobiography contains musings about his life from birth to only a couple of years before his death. As the title implies, he does not paint a complete picture of his life but presents vignettes that tell a great deal about it. Infinite Tuesday is a compelling story told in his unique voice. You can see my full review of Infinite Tuesday on my personal blog.
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4) Nilsson: The Life of a Singer-Songwriter, Alyn Shipton
The songwriter everybody’s talkin’ about finally got a full biography written about him in 2013. Harry Nilsson is one of those artists you’ve either heard of or he’s just your favorite artist’s favorite artist. His unfortunate upbringing is hinted at in songs like “1941,” but this book finally delves into his wins and losses throughout his life, with many surprises along the way.
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3) I, Me, Mine, George Harrison
Before The Beatles released Anthology, and in fact, before the death of John Lennon, Harrison gives us a history largely driven by the songs he wrote over the course of his 37 years of life to that point (1980). The handwritten original lyrics are shown alongside each story. Much is conveyed with this simple style of autobiography, as the songs are able to let us in on the emotions Harrison felt at the times of his stories.
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2) Eternal Troubador: The Improbable Life of Tiny Tim, Alanna Wray McDonald and Justin A. Martell
Maybe all you know about Tiny Tim is from hearing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” in a horror movie. Or maybe you’ve just heard his upbeat and unusual cover of “Stayin’ Alive.” Eternal Troubador tells the fascinating story of his life, from a televised marriage to his struggles with his sexuality to his strange views on personal health. The book makes the case for not casting Tiny Tim off as a novelty act while revealing the life of a man far more fascinating than people give him credit for. You can check out the full review I wrote for Rebeat Magazine here.
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1) Play On, Mick Fleetwood & Anthony Bozza
I don’t think you have to be a fan of Fleetwood Mac to enjoy this one, but it can’t hurt. Mick Fleetwood tells the story of some of the more private struggles of a band known for the public drama of Rumors. Notably, Fleetwood spends equal time on the early genesis of the band and the more popular lineups, which means learning a lot more about the band’s history than just the exploits of Stevie Nicks. His narrative voice is also strong and fun. I couldn’t put it down.
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Below are a few more music biographies that I either have on my wishlist or my reading list:

Be My Baby: A MemoirBe My Baby: A Memoir, Ronnie Spector with Vince Waldron
Without reading any reviews of this book, I know Ronnie Spector had a tumultuous and difficult life. After her marriage to Phil Spector, she all but left the public eye for years. I have also seen this book on lists of great music autobiographies. I really hope someone gets it for me for Christmas.
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I Am Brian Wilson, Brian Wilson and Ben Greenman
This one comes highly recommended by my husband. I have seen enough Beach Boys documentaries to want to know even more about the troubled genius that is Brian Wilson. To my understanding, stories are told stream-of-consciousness style rather than in a linear fashion. It’s already in my house, so it’s only a matter of time before I read it.
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Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, Dolly Parton with Robert K. Oermann
I believe this one is written similarly to I, Me, Mine. I would love to hear the wonderful Dolly Parton speak about her fascinating life and how her lyrics were inspired by it. While Parton has multiple autobiographies, this one seems most promising.
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The Storyteller: Tales of Life and MusicThe Storyteller: Times of Life and Music, Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl is the new rock dad. I don’t exactly know who the old one was, but I for one accept him as my new music overlord. I can’t wait to read Grohl’s insights and stories from 30 years in the music business. Reviews for the book are fantastic, with the main complaints I have seen being that he doesn’t focus enough on Nirvana, which was factually just a small blip in his continuing musical career. I own the book, it’s another one I just need to pick up.
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Me, Elton John
Another one I own but need to finally read. I can’t wait to see what Elton John has to say about his life, most of which I know nothing about, despite my love and respect for his music. It’s also got rave reviews.
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Written by: Emma Sedam

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