The Hauntings and Fast Times of Rockers

Staff Picks

The Hauntings and Fast Times of Rockers

I grew up listening to rock music, and the books below address the lives of some of my favorite musicians. Although I know basic information surrounding these artists, there are a lot of new details presented by the authors. I enjoyed learning more about these artists and the strength they possess to overcome many hardships to achieve their dreams.

Note: All titles are linked to their physical copies, and Tumult!: The Incredible Life and Music of Tina Turner is available as a library e-book via OverDrive or its app Libby.

Tumult!: The Incredible Life and Music of Tina Turner by Donald Brackett
Brackett addresses many areas of Tina Turner's life in the book. On this journey, readers have a chance to learn intimate details of Turner's relationships with family, friends, and Ike. The author makes his stance on Ike very clear through a loathing tone; however, it is unnecessarily repeated throughout the book. A great takeaway from this deep dive into the singer's life is reading about how Turner did not falter under the hardships but fought to be free and happy.

Take It Off: Kiss Truly Unmasked by Greg Prato
Prato discloses information regarding the band, KISS, which includes the hardships of creating albums, tour life, and the decline of interest by society. The book's flow reads like an interview, which corresponds well with the subject. The author interviews producers, fellow musicians, and journalists. A member from the latter group offers a female perspective on the lyrics, especially those written by Gene. 

Running With The Devil by Noel E. Monk
Like many authors who write about bands, Monk begins the book by addressing his first musical influences and connections. He then discusses the focal band of the book, Van Halen. Readers are introduced to the band's origins, the personalities of the members, and the antics that led to vandalizing property. Additionally, Monk offers information about the band's spending habitats, which include cars, homes, and other vices.

Jackie Wilson: The Black King of Rock 'n' Roll by Doug Saint Carter
Carter goes into detail about Wilson's abilities and how he became known as The Black Elvis. One of the most exciting conversations in the book addresses the backlash surrounding this nickname and the recent racial dialogues that it sparked among fans. Other stories about Wilson involve meeting celebrities of the same caliber and attending variety shows, such as The Ed Sullivan Show. Additionally, the book includes photos. 

Johnny B. Bad: Chuck Berry and the Making of Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll by Stephanie Bennett
Bennett uses interviews as a narration format for the book. Some of the people involved in these interviews include Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo  Diddley, Tom Adelman, and Oliver Stapleton. These conversations provide information on what inspired the lyrics, the type of person Berry was, and traveling in an RV. Some photos aid the narrative and they showcase set lists and backing instruments by famous musicians like Keith Richards.