Random Bump

Music Biography Audiobook Recommendations

Audible is currently offering three free audiobooks to new subscribers (who are also Prime members) so I thought i’d bump a few of my favorites.

One of the first music biographies I purchased on audiobook was Ann & Nancy’s Wilson’s “Kicking and Screaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll“.

Those familiar with 70’s and 80’s rock will, of course, recognise those names as being those of the sisters that front “Heart”, a hard rock band that got first got their foot in the door here in Canada with the release of “Dog & Butterfly” on Mushroom, an independent Canadian label based on the west coast.

Narrated by the sisters themselves, this audiobook recalls their beginnings and meteoric rise through the music industry as one of the few female rock acts of the time. And having been a fan since the early 80’s, I found the book quite enjoyable and interesting – Especially when they discuss the histories behind my favorite tracks, like “Barracuda”, “Crazy On You”, “Alone” and “These Dreams”.

Another female rock autobiography I really enjoyed was Grace Slick’s “Somebody to Love?“, which I had also purchased on hardcover before downloading as an Audiobook.

Like Ann Wilson, Grace Slick is one of those memorable, powerful vocalists that one routinely hears on classic rock stations throughout the world, notably for 60’s anthems “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love”. And having only been alive since 1970 I was not around for Jefferson Airplane’s initial appearance on the world stage. But through Starship, I had started enjoying her talent.

Also narrated by the artist herself, this audiobook not only discusses her highly notable career in music but her activism and the consequences of conspiring to spike then President Nixon’s tea with LSD during an official White House event.

Seriously, if your interest in this audiobook isn’t peeked by my last sentence… 🙂

Speaking of drugs and rock & roll, another female autobiography I’d like to recommend is Belinda Carlisle’s “Lips Unsealed“, which is a quite candid account of this pop-rock singer’s struggles with cocaine.

In the 80’s, Belinda Carlisle had numerous hits both as the lead singer of The Go-Go’s and as a solo artist. But her addiction remained into the early 2000’s, cumulating into a binging incident in 2005.

Be assured, this audiobook isn’t dark and devoted to the grueling processes she had gone through to get clean. It is quite eclectic and interesting so I highly recommend it.

On a lighter note, I also recommend Dawn French’s “Dear Fatty” and Jennifer Saunder’s “Bonkers: My Life in Laughs“.

Yes, these aren’t music biographies but as a fan of British comedies, I had to recommend these autobiographies from the stars of French & Saunders, Ab Fab and Vicar of Dibley.

These are narrated by the comedians themselves and are hilarious, offering two different perspectives on the creation of the hit BBC television series and various other subjects. And if anyone asked me to recommend audiobooks from the genre, these two would top my list, followed by my recently acquired copy of “Classic BBC Radio Comedy: Rowan Atkinson’s The Atkinson People“.

By the way, the Audible‘s subscription fee is $14.95 per month, which kicks in 90 days after the free audiobook offer is accepted. And membership enables subscribers to obtain a 30% discount on audiobooks.

Cineplex Discount

Cineplex is offering Tuesday discounted pricing at their theaters from August 25th to August 31st, 2017, so this maybe the time to see that recent film you’ve wanted to see. Click here for additional information.

Who Wants 150 Canadian CDs ?

Canadian Musician Magazine is giving away 150 Canadian CDs. Click here for details.

The Best of French Canadian/Quebecois

This month a Universal Music compilation celebrating Canada’s 150th was released. But unfortunately, it didn’t include one French song and many complained that it should at least include a few. This Spotify playlist includes the songs I would have considered had I compiled this CD set :

I’m sure I forgot a few but I’ll add them to the playlist later. Enjoy.

Canada Day – Recommended Reading

It’s Canada’s 150th and Montreal 375th anniversary this year so I thought I’d recommend some of my favorite Canadian music history books:

– “Oh What A Feeling – The Next Generation” by Martin Melhuish

Originally released in conjunction with a four-CD compilation to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Juno Awards, “Oh What A Feeling – A Vital History of Canadian Music” featured a year by year chronological account of Canada’s music history as well as information on the Juno Awards from 1971 to 1996.

“The Next Generation” is an updated version that was released in 2014, with additional information relating to upcomming artists, notable births and deaths, Hall Of Fame inductees and Juno Award Winners. Available from Amazon.ca / Amazon.com / Chapters-Indigo

– “Music From Far and Wide” – by multiple authors

This official Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences book was released in 2010 to celebrate the Juno Award’s 40th Aniversary and provides an in-depth history of the organisation and creation of the Juno Awards, with a list of Juno Award winners up to 2010 as well as a listing of Board of Directors from 1975 to 2010.

This book can be found at some local book stores, at Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

– “Is This Live?” by Christopher Ward

As the Nation’s music station, Much Music had been the epicenter for music in Canada from the mid-1980’s to mid-1990’s. And this book by VJ and songwriter Christopher Ward not only discusses the history of the station but makes notes of many events that occurred at the infamous 899 Queen Street West.

This is a must for Canadian fans of 80’s music. Available from Amazon.ca / Amazon.com / Chapters-Indigo

– “Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia” by Jaimie Vernon

Originally released as the “Encyclopedia of Canadian Rock Pop & Folk Music” in 2004 by Rick Jackson, this artist by artist account of Canadian music history has now become a multiple volume compilation, the first two listing artists alphabetically from “A Thru K” and “L thru Z“, respectively, and a recent celebration of the country’s “Vinyl Years“.

Published in 2011, the first two volumes include information on specific artists (brief history and discography) up to 2010 whilst the third volume concentrates on artists whose vinyl releases were popular up to 1996. All three volumes are available from Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

– “Top 40 Hits” / “Top Albums” by Nanda Lwin

These reference guides list the chart activity of domestic and international artists in Canada up to 1999 for singles and 2003 for albums. These are of course a must for people who are interested in Canadian music history and altough they are out of print, you can still find “Top 40 Hits” at Alibrisicon, Amazon.ca and Amazon.com. And other chart information can be obtained from the RMP database on Library and Archives Canada and from a blog simply entitled “Canadian Music Blog“, which also contains a wealth of chart information including the best selling singles and albums by year and decade.

River of Gold

This excellent recording by the David Barrett Trio was released today on iTunes
and features Michael Sadler of Saga. Enjoy.