I have been a huge fan of Struzen’s work for many years. Being a portrait artist myself, I can appreciate the skill and conceptual ideas he brings to his art as it conveys the idea of an entire movie in one single image. As a casual fan, anyone can enjoy the incredible artistry he has to offer.
The two books chronicling his career are similar but very much different. The just released Oeuvre is a gorgeous presentation and overview of the art itself, presented with little commentary and without all the lettering needed for movie posters. It also includes his work outside the film industry and with over 250 images, there’s a ton of material here to marvel at.
His other book, revised in 2010, singles out many of his iconic film posters and includes rough ideas that didn’t make the cut, early and alternative versions and commentary on each project that is both revealing and often times quite funny. His close and trusted relationship with many filmmakers such as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Benicio Del Toro and Frank Darabont is a unique factor in that they depend on each other in their collaboration to achieve the success they have.
I simply love these books. Being a sucker for art and movies, they both present a visual artists’ work that for over 30 years, is unsurpassed.
John Carpenter’s The Thing, 1982
Back to the Future, 1985
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005
Cowboys & Aliens, 2011
This is a music photography blog, I know but I am spotlighting a couple books leading up to Christmas that may give you an idea or two of what to get someone on your list who may be a movie fan. I love movies and I love art so this collection is right up my alley. Gathering together over 150 artists’ visually interpreting famous cult movies, the array and diversity of images is impressive. Movies such as Harold & Maude, Edward Scissorhands, The Shining, Pulp Fiction and dozens more are represented and as exciting as the movies may be, what is so much fun about this book is the different styles amongst the works. From simple to elaborate, the works are presented in full color and with no set chronology, this is basically a program for the four years of Gallery1988 shows it is based on. Perfect for any movie lover geek in your life.
Tony Mott is a rock photographer based out of Australia. This collection gathers Mott’s work from the last 30 years shooting almost anyone you can think of in music. What I really love about this book is the way in which Mott comments on his images. Similar to my style, he isn’t interested in the music as much as the circumstances surrounding the photo.
As an example, speaking on the Johnny Rotten picture below, he mentions that 10 punks were on top of him the whole time due to no barrier between the audience and stage. He goes on to mention, “Too much fun.” This revised and updated edition from 2010 comes out this December, perfect for gift giving, wouldn’t you say?
Divinyls, Mott’s first image ever sold for $20, 1982
The Drones, 2008
Mott The Hoople, 2009
I was lucky enough to receive this book a scant few days before all the twittering and Facebookin’ of everyone I didn’t know was gearing up this past week to watch the doc on HBO. I thought to myself it was awesomely peculiar that I can’t afford HBO but I had in my hands this incredibly beautiful edition that is overflowing with photos from George Harrison himself (or his camera) that I couldn’t believe existed. There are ten pages alone that show the height of Beatlemania from his point of view that the Scorsese version barely (or really cannot) show in the film.
Included here are the rare pictures, notes, letters, lyrics and quotes that not only enhance the man’s Art but give the fan a personal glimpse into his life. As for the documentary, I came away moved by watching Ringo’s recollection of seeing him for the last time, or Dhani’s explanation of schooling from his father, or Olivia’s harrowing account of the attack in ’99 which the book doesn’t touch on at all. That’s what makes this tome all the more impressive. My favorite aspects of the film aren’t even mentioned in the book and I could not miss them any less.
George, late 1940’s
George and Roy Orbison backstage in England, 1963
Three of The Beatles at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1969. George’s photo of Dylan from that night.
George’s notes for the Concert for Bangladesh, 1971
Harrison family portrait, 1997
Every Sunday in the month of ‘Rocktober’, I will be introducing you to a book dedicated to the work of a celebrated photographer who, like myself, specializes in shooting musicians. I start with legendary photographer Bob Gruen and his fantastic new book, “Rock Seen”. Starting out in New York in the late sixties, Gruen has shot some of the biggest names in music, many of them as they were starting out as unknowns, including such bands as Kiss, The New York Dolls and The Ramones.
Often becoming friends with his subjects, he had access that many would never dream of and thus coming away with some remarkably intimate and iconic images. This collection gathers more than 500 of Gruen’s black and white and color photos over the last 40+ years within the 288 pages, often with Gruen’s own personal captions included. As a music photographer, I found myself relating to Gruen’s story and anecdotes on a personal level but anyone can appreciate the beautifully magnificent and historic document this volume offers.
As the season comes to a close, I will remember my Summer of 2011 as the time I ‘rediscovered’ the brilliance of The Kinks. Absorbing their music courtesy of the incredible recently released deluxe reissues of their first six albums, there was a lot to discover. Making it easier was this exhaustive volume of anything and everything about the band. Using press clippings, reviews, setlists and interviews, Hinman gives a literal day-by-day account of when, where, how but not always why The Kinks became one of the greatest rock and roll bands in history. This isn’t a book you read straight through. Instead, I jumped around to specific dates to coincide with what I was listening to at the time. I have read a few of these detailed accounts of musicians and while some are really good, some fall short. This book falls into the former category that compliments the music with an easy to read and detailed history. What a coincidence that just yesterday it was announced that Ray Davies will be playing Pittsburgh for the first time in several years this fall and for me, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
As described in the title, this is the illustrated history of the band. Knowing that going in I was expecting lots of photos but was surprised at the massive literary content to go along with the visuals. Not only are there vintage commentary from the band members themselves but current recollections from rock music royalty including Joe Perry, Ray Davies, Ian Hunter, Steve Earle and Ann & Nancy Wilson. Also included are album synopsis’, tour dates, and band history. Extensively covering the band’s inception in the sixties all the way to the London reunion show of 2007 this edition is beautifully presented with tons of memorabilia such as posters, handbills, obscure bootleg covers, backstage passes and live photos. Bottom line, this is an essential addition to any fan’s collection. I was really overwhelmed how great this book turned out to be.
While there have been countless books published on arguably the greatest band in popular music, none is quite as unique as this one. Presenting artifacts and reproduced facsimiles surrounding the band’s mainly early history, the book gives collectors a different perspective of the group. Included in the material is a hand-written setlist from 1963, tour program covers, postcards, contracts and ticket stubs. There are also photos of other documents throughout the book, like Paul’s handwritten lyrics to ‘Sgt.
Pepper’, which could have been reproduced as well but surprisingly are not. In fact, my only quibble with the book is that there is almost nothing represented past the year 1966, save for an invitation to a ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ party. There is also a brief history of the group with each album and song given a short description but that’s pretty much beside the point for a volume like this. I did enjoy this book but then again I am a sucker for music memorabilia. I am sure any Beatle nut will geek out to this but for the casual fan it might be perused through once and left on the shelf for awhile.
This book is basically what the title says. Technically covering sixty years, the book touches on all facets and genres of promoting rock music in England. Sections include Early Rock, the Mod Era, Psychedelia, Glam, Punk, Rave and current Retro styles. I also appreciate the author giving individual artists their own chapters to showcase examples of their groundbreaking work. Utilizing more than 350 illustrations, the book captures the dynamic history of rock and roll through the extremely talented people who visualized it for us.
This book chronicles the two photo sessions that a young British photographer had in 1967 with The Jimi Hendrix Experience in a section of London named Masons Yard. With a recollection from Gered Mankowitz himself and essays from original Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and music writer Richie Unterberger, this book attempts to capture the essence of the times. It is ultimately the incredible photos that convey a sense of the brilliance that Hendrix possessed. I was highly impressed with how these now iconic photos are beautifully presented and although there were two sessions months apart, the first group of photos are undeniably the best of the bunch. As a bonus, all 96 images that Mankowitz took of the group are included in the appendices.
Any fan of Hendrix will no doubt enjoy this book and the wonderful layout will please even the casual fan of rock music as well.
This beautiful book details the component of concert going most fans take for granted, lighting design, concentrating on the work and art of Andi Watson. He is best associated with his decade long collaboration with Radiohead and their increasingly innovative tours, from ‘Kid A’ to the ‘In Rainbows’ shows of 2010, which are very well represented here. Among the other bands that Watson has worked with and are generously covered in the book are Counting Crows, Lenny Kravitz, Oasis, Dido, and Arctic Monkeys.
This is a very specific aspect of live music not usually given it’s due and the three narrative essays are highly informative, albeit extremely technical, almost textbook-like in their language. What you do get as a casual fan is an amazingly designed book with literally hundreds of photos and schematics that showcase the art and history of modern day lighting design. The pictures included are gorgeous and any fan of Radiohead would love to have this impressive book in their collection.
Radiohead World Tour 2006
In 2009, musician and renowned photographer Graham Nash was asked to curate an exhibit for the Experience Music Project of rock and roll photography. The results have been compiled into this magnificent coffee table book that would satisfy any fan of music. With no guidelines set, Nash has chosen images that are iconic and many that are somewhat obscure. There is a CD included that has Nash himself giving brief descriptions of each of the 80 images included in the book. While I personally would have liked more technical information, it is cool that you get to hear some of why he chose the picture.
Johnny Cash by Jim Marshall (1969) FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The links helps to support this site and will allow me to keep writing about local music.
When I first stumbled upon this book, I was immediately under the impression that it would be a take on the whole ‘family tree’ concept of musicians who either played or recorded music together in some sort of collaborative way. I was sort of right. This book offers a history of rock by pointing out influences and how almost any band is affected by the groups who came before them. Under categories such as Artists, Bands, Labels, Producers, Clubs and Festivals, the author takes a somewhat encyclopedic approach of how they are all related in ways big and small. You won’t get complete discographies and in depth minutiae here, just a smattering of interesting factoids taken as an artists’ general overview. and Almost every major band is represented from Sam Cooke to Coldplay, with a few glaring omissions (The Grateful Dead, Simon & Garfunkel among them). Using a loose timeline, biographies are emphasized with easily cross referenced highlights that shed new light on a musician’s work.
A few anecdotes I discovered from this book are:
U2 and Bruce Springsteen’s relationship began when The Boss attended an early show by the Irish rockers in 1981 with Pete Townshend.
Before she was the household name she is today, Lady Ga Ga played the obscurity of the second stage of Lollapalooza in 2007.
Dave Grohl has seemingly played with everybody.I would highly recommend this book to any fan of music. It’s not to be read straight through but to be appreciated over time in a casually presented form.
I have read many of the titles in this series. They range from the o.k. to the unreadable. This particular one is very good. It explains in detail the short, fabled history of the band, the making of the landmark album, subsequent tours and eventual dissolution and mythic influence they had on a generation of musicians. Even if you are a casual fan as I am, you will come away with an appreciation for the band and Jeff Mangum in particular, which I haven’t seen explained anywhere else.
With a slow reemergence and almost hopefully inevitable comeback seeming to be taking place this winter, this book is more relevant now than ever before. When I was lucky enough to see Mangum play in 2008, I couldn’t understand the chaos that ended the Elephant 6 show I was at. After reading of their history here, it all made perfect sense.
I am a sucker for coffee table picture books. When there is interesting text to go along with the images, I am sold. Such is the case with this beautifully illustrated and informative book that focuses on the varied and historical aspects of album cover art. It’s impossible to be completely thorough when dealing with a subject such as this but the authors use a wide array of examples to demonstrate the good and bad in designing an album’s visual representation.
Included are some obvious and iconic covers but what’s really fascinating are some of the obscure albums that have been produced that attempt to convey the musicians work. There are over 350 entries included and they are divided into ten ‘chapters’, which focus on themes such as Rock and Roll, Politics, Ego, and Sex. I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in music and art, and how the blending of the two is so crucial to the final product.
Walk into any bookstore and you will easily find more volumes devoted to The Beatles than any other musical group. Some range from the pathetic to the encyclopedic. I have recently read a trio of diverse biographies that couldn’t be any more different in tone and purpose.
The Lives of John Lennon by Albert Goldman (1988) I am not sure why I waited so long to finally read this book. It caused such a firestorm upon it’s release that maybe I couldn’t take it seriously. He portrays Lennon as a total scumbag degenerate who wasn’t past lying, adultery, abuse, rape and even murder! You think that’s bad, Goldman portrays Yoko in an even worse light. After awhile it gets a tad redundant and somewhat disingenuous. At what point is Goldman even attempting to tell the truth?
Case in point, as minor as an example as it may be, is how he simply states that for the famous Two Virgins cover shot, there was actually another person in the nude standing next to the new lovers. In actuality, a fan made a poster as a joke that had him manipulated into the photo and sent it to John and Yoko. They thought it funny enough to actually frame it to eventually hang in their living room. To base a ‘theory’ simply on a photograph is irresponsible and kind of destroys any little credibility Goldman had and makes it hard to believe most about what he writes.
Figuratively stumbling into one of the most important roles in rock history as The Beatles influential engineer at age 15, Emerick does bring a unique perspective to everything Fab. Unfortunately, he is nauseatingly biased in his idolatry of Paul and in utter contempt of the rest of the group. In his eyes, John was a junkie, George was an untalented hack, and Ringo was the luckiest S.O.B. who contributed virtually nothing the the success of the group. Even if his lopsided praise is warranted, after awhile it gets old
This was a great read. Exhaustive in scope, it doesn’t hold punches but unlike the first two, has an objective air about it that exposes some warts but doesn’t veer towards slander. Not only the best book about the band but one of the most well written biographies I have read period.
“It always amazes me to see the end result of what started as a few scribbles on a piece of paper.”-Gerald Scarfe I am an avid reader. I’ll read just about anything but I really enjoy non-fiction. In this new feature on the blog, I will give quick capsule reviews of books that focus on rock and roll.
I stumbled upon this lavishly illustrated book and immediately had to have it. As a long time die-hard Floyd fan, I always appreciated the imagery that was so integral to the band and it’s music. The man largely responsible for that has finally gathered his work which focuses mainly with various aspects of The Wall productions but also includes insight to all his various associations with Pink Floyd and Roger Waters throughout the years, including the new 2010 touring show of The Wall.
Early drawings of the famous flower sequence that took seven years to complete!
The book is beautifully designed with ideas, sketches, and final results with detailed commentary from the surviving members of the Floyd as well as Alan Parker, the director of the film.
It’s incredibly fascinating to see how Waters’ and Scarfe’s imaginations developed into the crazy visuals that are synonymous with the band.
The initial ideas for the main characters for The Wall. It’s amazing that Scarfe rarely threw anything out and NEVER gave anything away. His archives are exhaustive and many images are presented here for the first time.
One of my favorite sections focuses on his collaboration with Waters on ‘The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking’ tour. If you are at all interested in Pink Floyd, I can’t emphasize enough that this book is a must.