Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012: The Year of the Mighty Music Bio

If this year’s crop of new biographies is any indication, it would appear that many music legends are getting confessional in their autumnal years. Either that, or after ages of being hounded by the press, they have reluctantly permitted one lucky biographer to spill the beans on their behalf. Regardless, 2012 has seen an unprecedented number of popular music’s originators telling their stories, some for the first time.

The release of a celebrity tell-all is not always a spectacular event. In fact, it’s frequently irritating (will someone please revoke Conrad Black’s word processing privileges?), or insulting (Ahnold, I’m talking to you), or downright unnecessary (the Situation gets to write a book? Really?). However, when the likes of Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and Pete Townshend decide to commit their stories to print, I’m just as excited to hear what they have to say as I’ve been to hear what they have to sing.

In addition to the self-penned bios of Nelson, Young, and Townshend, several prominent musicians, preferring to stick to song writing, have shared their experiences with noted biographers. Peter Ames Carlin’s Bruce is the first biography endorsed by the Boss. Sylvie Simmons, an excellent music journalist who has also authored a bio on Serge Gainsbourg, takes on an equally enigmatic subject in Leonard Cohen with her new book I’m Your Man.

If you’ve ever been curious about the humble origins, creative inspiration, wild tour experiences, or personal philosophies of some of the world’s most influential songwriters, here is a selection of the music biographies released in the past 12 months:

- Steph

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