We recently asked Greg Renoff, author of Van Halen Rising: How A Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal, if he had any favorite music biographies or books and if he had read any recently that he’d like to recommend. Here’s what Greg had to say.
"My list here could be very long, but I will pick four favorites with publication dates that stretch back from the 1980s to the present."
Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugarman: No One Here Gets Out Alive
"This bio of Jim Morrison completely captured my imagination when I first read it in the early 80s. I'd point to the authors' success in braiding together the two main narratives in the book: the life of Morrison and the career of The Doors. That was a difficult tightrope to walk, but they pulled it off with flair. A timeless read.:
Stephen Davis: Hammer of the Gods
"My favorite rock bio of all time. I loved how Davis invoked the specter of Page's flirtation with Alister Crowley and black magic to suggest that they gave rise to Zeppelin's personal tragedies. Bullshit? Probably, but it captures something about the Zeppelin mythos that's intangible but essential. I found the book even more attractive once Page and Plant denounced his work. An engrossing book I have read numerous times."
Neil Strauss: The Dirt
"As far as rock oral histories go, this one is the best. Strauss, to his credit, balanced the viewpoints of a range of different individuals who were involved in the rise of Motley, thus avoiding the "band members said it so it must be true" syndrome."
Jesse Fink: The Youngs
"Fink's idea to do a book about the Young family rather than a traditional AC/DC rock bio was a brilliant idea and goes far in explaining how this clan came to change rock history. Highly recommended."
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