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Worst Books Written By Musicians

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:41 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Seeing we have listed our favourite books written - or told - by musicians who interest us I wondered what your nominations would be for the worst books penned by musicians? Off the top of my head the 3 that I found most jaw droppingly bad were:

MORRISSEY - Autobiography: He wrote every word with no help from a ghost writer or editor. And it shows. Initially he employs a mock gothic tone to describe the lower middle class Manchester he grew up in but even here he's incapable of offering any insights and can only bleat on about how badly everyone treated him. Then he gets tired of trying to "write" so drops the stylistic affectations and delivers a long winded rant against pretty much everyone he has ever met. I do like the Smiths singles but none of the precision or wit employed in them is evident here. Instead you get a petulant narcissist devoid of anything interesting to say about anything. Celibacy is obviously bad for the brain as Morrissey has no feeling for humans of any kind - beyond they exist to serve him. Read out loud it would serve as a comic parody of a pop star who looks at nothing beyond mirrors.

PETE TOWNSEND - Who Am I. Very, very long and very, very dull. Pete was once an intelligent, talented man so I was surprised that he had so little to say.

KEITH RICHARDS - Life. I liked the early chapters about growing up in Dartford and his passion for blues and rock and roll shines through. But once Keef got famous he obviously preferred to believe his own press - much easier than dealing with the mess he made of his (and several others) lives in the 70s. His tone remains that of a spoilt brat. I ended this feeling sympathy of Jagger for the first time ever - for having to work with such a complete and utter moron for so many decades.

I've not read Clapton or Neil Young's recent efforts although a friend who religiously reads such tells me Eric's book is as grouchy and empty of insight as you might imagine while Young's is perhaps the poorest written of any effort by a major star. Which would make it the equivalent of his albums and live shows from the last few decades.

Re: Worst Books Written By Musicians

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:44 pm
by john poole
Neil's book was great - provided one did not expect a chronological autobiography. His second book Special Deluxe is even more self indulgent, but I enjoyed both more than Graham Nash's (which could have used a fact checker).

Pete's book wasn't as good as I hoped - I believe it was edited down from a much longer original work and perhaps the wrong sections were cut... Certainly not one of the worst I have read though.

Can't think of one I would nominate as the worst at present, probably one that droned on about why the author was always right and their enemies were always wrong.

Re: Worst Books Written By Musicians

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:15 pm
by Adam Blake
It's long out of print and I foolishly gave my copy away but Curtis Knight's "Jimi" is truly dreadful.

Re: Worst Books Written By Musicians

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:58 am
by Alan Balfour
Adam Blake wrote:Curtis Knight's "Jimi" is truly dreadful.
I'll second that emotion! I still have the 1975 Star Books paperback. There's a paragraph on the back which reads

Curtis Knight, friend and fellow musician takes us through the scene. Hardtimes, good times, money, managers,drugs, groupies, girlfriends, hopes, dreams...and finally death.

Nuff said, yuk.

Re: Worst Books Written By Musicians

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:43 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Does Curtis Knight count as a musician? More a parasite who managed to draw blood from Jimi while alive and once dead.

Thinking about musician books the Americans tend to produce books that are a lot more direct, honest and funny than the Brits - Ray Charles, Etta, Miles, Honeyboy, Jelly Roll, Sidney Bechet, Pops etc etc. Merle Haggard's autobiography at least doesn't try and make him out as a nice guy - tough white trash with talent sums up how he sees himself. Johnny Cash's autobiography was pretty interesting - he saw things through wise eyes.

Morrissey and Pete and Keef all share a pettiness and inflated sense of importance - are these particularly British traits?

Re: Worst Books Written By Musicians

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:39 pm
by john poole
Garth Cartwright wrote:Morrissey and Pete and Keef all share a pettiness and inflated sense of importance - are these particularly British traits?
Wait for Mike Love's autobiography.