SMALL TOWN TALK
Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock
Having lived there in the second half of the 1990s, this is the book I always wanted to write about the music scene in the tiny Catskills town that punched way above its weight in the era of manager Albert Grossman.
“Hoskyns paints a brilliant portrait of the colourful characters that turned this little patch of woods in upstate New York into a hotbed for much of the music that changed America… stunning.” Publishers Weekly
“[A] fascinating account of the epic influence and mysterious magnetism of this Dibley-sized corner of the Catskill mountains… [an] enthralling but melancholy tale.” James Lasdun, The Guardian
“Barney Hoskyns has painted his masterpiece.” Kris Needs, Record Collector
“A pitch-perfect East Coast corollary to his classic tome on the Laurel Canyon scene, Hotel California…” Jim Farber, MOJO
“Scrapes away the myths to reveal the harder truths: of magnificent music created amid hard drugs, bent business deals, gossip, claustrophobia and bed-hopping.” Graeme Thomson, Mail on Sunday
TRAMPLED UNDER FOOT
The Power & Excess of Led Zeppelin
This is an attempt to deconstruct the mythology of Zeppelin and tell their story from the inside out. I interviewed almost a hundred people who’d been in the eye of their storm.
“This is the proper book Zeppelin have always deserved.” Nick Coleman, author of The Train in the Night
“Every time I think I know everything about Led Zeppelin, a book like this comes along and reminds me that I know nothing.” Chuck Klosterman
“The saga of Led Zeppelin told by those who knew them when, this intimate oral history goes beyond scandal to reveal the all-too-humans behind this most Promethean of rock bands…” Lenny Kaye
“Shines a penetrating new light on the personalities and circumstances that shaped Zeppelin’s tumultuous history.” Nick Kent
“This meticulously compiled oral history… has a wonderful humour and a careful examination of the how and why of the darkness that surrounded the band and its entourage.” Hugh MacDonald, Sunday Herald
They’d been my favourite North American group since 1973 and I thought it high time someone told the story of their triumphs and tragedies, from their Ronnie Hawkins days to the pitiful suicide of Richard Manuel.
“Impeccably researched and elegantly written… the definitive account of the musicians whose first two albums are cornerstones in the history of American music.” Charlie Gillett
“The most rewarding music biographies are always those which express a passionate interest in the subject matter. Barney Hoskyns’s portrait of the original alt-country pioneers the Band is one such.” James Griffiths, The Guardian
“A refreshing and admirable read. The attention to fluctuations in group chemistry and morale, on stage and in the studio, is steeped in the author’s engaging fascination with the minutiae of how music gets made.” Robert Sandall, The Sunday Times
WAITING FOR THE SUN
Strange Days, Weird Scenes & the Sound of Los Angeles
After living in L.A. in the early ’80s, I decided to go back there and tell the story of the city as a unique music town, from the rhythm & blues of Central Avenue to the big-hair metal of the Sunset Strip.
“A hilarious, chilling, thoroughly scabrous history of postwar pop music in Los Angeles… fascinating.” Stephen M.H. Braitman, Los Angeles Times
“A breathtaking exposition of the constant trade-off between musicians and their environment… beautifully recounted.” John Harris, Q
“A detailed, oft-biting book, eschewing a simple narrative to encompass the complex business and social forces that shaped a half-century of music.” Chris Morris, Billboard
Commissioned to coincide with Todd Haynes’ film Velvet Goldmine, Glam! was a glam-rock “primer” that afforded an opportunity to pay homage to my first great teen love.
“An expertly-conducted bird’s eye tour… alert, scrupulous and light of touch.” Ian MacDonald, Vox
“If you want to revisit the era without having to tart up your face, check out Hoskyns’ excellent book.” John Petkovic, Cleveland Plain Dealer
LOWSIDE OF THE ROAD
A Life of Tom Waits
I thought Waits was a great artist and a fascinating man, and believed he warranted a bigger and more serious biography than anything previously attempted. Despite his inevitable resistance to the project I was able to talk to many people who’d been part of his story.
“Just about the most absorbing, satisfying, and – whisper it – important biography of a modern artist that I can recall reading. Absolutely outstanding.” Danny Baker, BBC Radio London
“Mr. Hoskyns’ guile, dogged work and Nick Hornby-esque likability place him a notch above the average rock biographer. His book lights up and whirls like one of the greasy carnival rides in Mr. Waits’s own sprawling oeuvre.” Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Comprehensive and judicious… [Tom Waits] could not have found a more respectful, sympathetic and knowledgeable biographer if he’d chosen him himself.” Mick Brown, The Word
Singer-Songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons, 1967-1976
This took a chapter of Waiting for the Sun and blew it up into a book of its own. I wanted to trace the way Warner-Reprise Records and David Geffen’s Asylum label turned a group of scruffy ’60s navel-gazers – from Joni Mitchell to Warren Zevon – into ’70s superstars.
“One of our finest pop historians reappraises a neglected and often maligned milieu.” Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again
“Beneath the music-biz story there’s something poignant here about people trying to be happy but succeeding only briefly. Bet you cry when Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell part.” Sebastian Faulks
“Hoskyns impresses with the sheer weight of testimony he has amassed and the skill with which he has woven it into a tightly coiled and elegiac narrative.” Christopher Silvester, The Sunday Times
“Barney Hoskyns brings a genuine love and… a keen eye to the rise and fall of the California scene in the ’60s and ’70s. A riveting story, sensitively told.” Anthony DeCurtis, Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone
I became hopelessly smitten with southern soul in the early 1980s and set out to write about the way mainly black singers and mainly white “backroom boys” teamed up to make some of the most heartrending American music of the last 100 years.
“If you ever wondered about some of those mysterious names behind southern soul music, this book is for you.” Elvis Costello
“A lovingly thorough account of a supremely moving music… full of illuminating observations.” Nick Kimberley, New Statesman
FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM
The Great Voices of Popular Music
This was an attempt to do justice to the sound of the human voice and what my favourite singers did to me when I listened to them.
“Anyone interested in that pure moment we call ‘soul’ will want to read this book.” Bono
“Eloquent, erudite and provocative… an intriguing and worthwhile book.” Charles Shaar Murray, Q