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NINE EIGHT BOOKS

Michael Head

Ciao Ciao Bambino - Signed Edition

    For over forty years, Michael Head has been creating inspirational music that is rooted in the streets of Liverpool. He formed Pale Fountains with his friend Chris McCaffrey in the early 1980s, and then after McCaffrey tragically died from a brain tumour, he went on to create Shack with his brother John. But during a career that has been beset with tragedy, addiction, loss and bad luck, Head has continued to create exceptional music - and in 2022 he had his biggest commercial success with The Red Elastic Band's Dear Scott.

    This is Head's story. It is a story of growing up in Liverpool, of thwarted dreams, self-sabotage, chronic substance abuse, homelessness and brushes with death. It is also a story of an under-appreciated genius, of transcendental songs and the healing power of art and music and family and love.

    This is the life-affirming story of Michael Head, told in his own poetic voice, a man who walked barefoot over broken glass for forty years before the world caught up with what the faithful already knew: this man is Britain's greatest songwriter.

    Mark Blake

    Dreams : The Many Lives Of Fleetwood Mac

      Fleetwood Mac have had a chart-topping career that spans over fifty years and includes some of the biggest-selling albums and greatest hits of the 20th and 21st centuries. But the band's story is one of enormous triumph and also unimaginable tragedy. There has never been a band in the history of music riven with as much romantic drama, sexual tension and incredible highs and lows as Fleetwood Mac.

      Dreams is a must-read for casual Fleetwood Mac fans and die-hard devotees alike. In this unique collection of mini-biographies, observations and essays, Mark Blake explores all eras of the Fleetwood Mac story to explore what it is that has made them one of the most successful bands in history. Blake draws on his own exclusive interviews with Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and the late Peter Green and Christine McVie, and addresses the complex human drama at the heart of the Fleetwood Mac story, including the complicated relationships between the band's main members, but he also dives deep into the towering discography that the band have built over the past half-century.

      Ian Broudie

      Tomorrow's Here Today : Lightning Seeds, Football And Cosmic Post-Punk

        'One of the greatest rock 'n' roll stories of the past 50 years recounted with warmth and wisdom' - Hot PressFew musicians have lived a musical life as rich as the songwriter and producer Ian Broudie. From recording the glorious uplifting psychedelic pop of his band The Lightning Seeds to producing bands like Echo & The Bunnymen and The Fall, Ian has journeyed from the energy and potential of the 1970s punk scene to the madness of '90s indie - and out the other side. Throughout nearly fifty years of making music, he has had a front-row seat working with generations of fantastic musicians in the creation of countless groundbreaking records. In Tomorrow's Here Today, he reveals what he has learnt about creativity, how to work with musicians touched by genius and what it is like to stumble through an exploding industry without losing sight of your dreams. Along the way, Ian shares how he wrote the million-selling album Jollification and how - along with the comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner - he wrote and recorded the only single in chart history to reach number one in the UK on four separate occasions. 'Three Lions' has since become the undisputed unofficial anthem of English football, soundtracking heartbreaking defeats as well as the wondrous victories of the Lionesses. Following 2022's long-awaited Lightning Seeds comeback, Ian reflects on a life of cosmic adventures spent in thrall to the power of music.

        Paul Rees

        Shooting Star : The Definitive Story Of Elliott Smith

          'Elliott was one of the best songwriters of our day and a formidable musician.' - Beck'There's an undercurrent of real sadness in a lot of his music ... and that's just really the way he was.' - Steve Drozd, Flaming Lips'I'm the wrong kind of person to be really big and famous.' - Elliott Smith, speaking in 1997In 2003, Steven 'Elliott' Smith died from two stab wounds to the heart. To this day, the autopsy evidence remains inconclusive as to whether the wounds were self-inflicted or the result of homicide.

          Either way, this tragic end to Elliott's short-lived though prodigiously talented life became the dark denouement of a story riddled with depression, mental illness, addiction and chronic substance abuse. Yet it is also a story of worldwide critical acclaim, of Oscar nominations and of some of the finest recorded music of the late twentieth century. Now, two decades after Elliott's death, Shooting Star seeks to encapsulate the many complexities of this shy, funny, engaging, enigmatic musician and his desperately troubled soul.

          With contributions from those closest to Elliott who have not previously spoken about their friend, this masterful biography places the singer-songwriter's vulnerabilities and decline within the broader context of all that he achieved: the sheer, stark beauty of the records he made and the resounding impact they went on to have across a whole spectrum of contemporary music. This is the definitive account of Elliott Smith - a once-in-a-generation artist.

          Ian Wade

          1984: The Year Pop Went Queer

            In 1984, pop came out of the closet - even if not all of the artists felt that they could - and, in the process, charted the course of the rest of the decade. In 1984: The Year Pop Went Queer, writer and musician Ian Wade charts where these artists, including Queen, George Michael, David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Madonna - who all enjoyed chart success in 1984 - were during that epoch-making year. It studies the impact these groundbreaking musicians had before, during and after on the gay community and popular culture, and it demonstrates how they were able to break down barriers, raise consciousness and set in motion the first nascent ripples in a pond that are still being felt today. As a backdrop, it explores the strides made in the name of the cause and how the wider surrounding culture reacted with equal parts glee, bafflement and disgust.

            Glen Matlock

            Triggers : A Life In Music

              Glen Matlock - singer, songwriter, bassist, natural storyteller and a damn fine bloke. It is no surprise Triggers is a brilliant journey' DEBBIE HARRY'A page turner filled with colourful, illuminating tales' MOJO'The clearest view yet of punk' LOUDER THAN WARA fascinating new book charting the life and career of Sex Pistols legend Glen Matlock through the lens of his most formative songs - from the ones that influenced him as a child to the ones he wrote and played on as a star. Sharing insider tales of the Sex Pistols' earliest gigs and stormiest reunions, as well as their most idiosyncratic inter-band dynamics, Triggers offers a vivid insight into the ultimate icons of punk.

              Yet, having performed and recorded with so many musical luminaries over the decades, Glen also reflects on his time with the likes of Iggy Pop, David Bowie, the Faces, Blondie, Primal Scream and many more. This is the story of an outspoken, uncompromising man and remarkable, game-changing musician.

              Bob Stanley

              Bee Gees: Children Of The World

                Everyone has their favourite era of the Bee Gees' career, but so much is still unclear about this celebrated but often misunderstood band. This book will provide the perfect route in, pulling together every fascinating strand to tell the story of these pioneering, melancholic masters of pop. Uniquely, the Bee Gees' tale spans the entire modern pop era - they are the only group to have scored British top-ten singles in the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s - and includes world-conquering disco successes like 'Stayin' Alive' and 'More Than a Woman', both from the soundtrack of hit film Saturday Night Fever.

                But the Bee Gees' extraordinary career was one of highs and lows. From a vicious but temporary split in 1969 to several unreleased albums, disastrous TV and film appearances, and a demoralising cabaret season, the group weren't always revelling in the glow of million-selling albums, private jets and UNICEF concerts. Yet, even in the Gibbs' darkest times, their music was rarely out of the charts, as sung by the likes of Al Green, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton and Diana Ross.


                Kirk Field

                Rave New World : Confessions Of A Raving Reporter

                  As a humble barman at the M25 Orbital raves, Kirk Field witnessed the moment acid house exploded. Inspired by media lies to start writing the truth about what he saw unfolding, Kirk became a 'raving' reporter for the clubbers' bible Mixmag, covering the historic parties from the inside and sending sweat-soaked dispatches from distant dancefloors as the scene expanded across Europe and beyond. With a cast of characters including Diego Maradona, Timothy Leary, the KLF, Michael Eavis, Genesis P-Orridge, Brigitte Nielsen, Boris Yeltsin, Boy George, Saddam Hussein's wife, the president of Tunisia, the CIA, the KGB, Dave Courtney, Norman Lamont's dominatrix and even Her Majesty the Queen, Kirk's whirlwind account of the golden age of clubbing tells the story of what really happened in the 'naughty '90s', exposing the seedy underbelly of rave culture while also capturing the nostalgic spirit of the era.

                  Told through a mixture of vivid first-person narrative, surreal insider anecdotes and incisive social commentary, this honest, hilarious and uncensored postcard of hedonism will appeal to anyone who's ever put their hands in the air like they just don't care.


                  Luke Haines

                  Freaks Out! : Weirdos, Misfits And Deviants - The Rise And Fall Of Righteous Rock 'n' Roll

                    The followers - this book is not for you. The salt of the earth - this book is not for you. The worthy - this book is not for you.

                    The ideologists - this book is not for you. Hedonists and bohemians - this book is not for you. The middlebrow - this book is not for you.

                    The highbrow - this book is not for you. Dilettantes - this book is not for you. 1970s middle school RE teachers - this book is not for you.

                    The England football team (women's and men's) - this book is not for you. The litanists - this book is not for you. Gatekeepers - this book is not for you.

                    Gamekeepers - this book is not for you. (Not even for the poachers...)The curators - this book is not for you. The left, the right - this book is not for you.

                    The list-makers - lists are for shoppers not rockers, and this book is not for you. This is not a list - this is a manifesto, and this book is for ... the Freaks.

                    Musician and author Luke Haines embarks on an odyssey through the ages, exploring how the 'freaks' infiltrated modern culture - and almost won the rock 'n' roll wars - only to lose to the rise of Cool Britannia and TV 'talent' shows that turned the strange and the outsiders into fodder for laughter. In this ultimate celebration of freakdom, Haines tells the story of pivotal freaks - including Johnnie Ray, Gene Vincent, Hank Marvin, Syd Barrett, the Incredible String Band and Big Youth - through the prism of rock 'n' roll and explains how freaks infiltrated wider culture through history in the form of the Cathars, the Ranters, Hells Angels and the Yippies. Part memoir, part manifesto, Freaks Out! is a righteous alternate history of rock 'n' roll.

                    Chris Blackwell

                    The Islander : My Life In Music And Beyond

                      'An adventurer, an entrepreneur, a buccaneer, a visionary' - BONOAs the founder of Island Records, fabled music producer Chris Blackwell has discovered and worked with some of the most important musicians of the second half of the twentieth century - from Steve Winwood to Cat Stevens, Bob Marley to Grace Jones, U2 to Roxy Music, plus countless others. He is also widely credited with having brought reggae music to the world stage. Now, as reflects on his life, Blackwell takes us back to the island where it all began: Jamaica - the place where his family once partied with the likes of Noel Coward, Ian Fleming and Errol Flynn and where, as Jamaican local music began to adopt contemporary American trends, Blackwell's burgeoning musical instincts flourished.

                      It was also the birthplace of the now-legendary Island Records, founded by Blackwell in 1959. Five years later, while living in London selling Jamaican records to Caribbean immigrants, Blackwell came across the vocal talents of teenager Millie Small, who he paired with the song 'My Boy Lollipop'. The producer added a ska beat and released what would be a worldwide hit.

                      But this was just the beginning of a truly remarkable career. In this fascinating memoir, including up to fifty photos supplied by Blackwell's team, the music icon will discuss the many artists he's worked with over the years, as well as unpicking the initiatives, decisions and risks that ultimately brought such success to both Blackwell and his esteemed musical collaborators.

                      Bob Stanley

                      Bee Gees : Children Of The World

                        The world is full of Bee Gees fans. Yet, for a band of such renown, little is known about Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb. Weren't two of them twins? Didn't one of them marry Lulu? Where does Andy fit into the Gibb family tree? And why did they storm out of that Clive Anderson interview?People tend to have their favourite era of the Bee Gees' career, but many listeners are also conscious that there is more to uncover about the band.

                        This book will provide the perfect route in, pulling together every fascinating strand to tell the story of a group with the imagination of the Beatles, the pop craft of ABBA, the drama of Fleetwood Mac and the emotional heft of the Beach Boys. Uniquely, the Bee Gees' tale spans the entire modern pop era - they are the only group to have scored British top-ten singles in the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s - and includes world-conquering disco successes like 'Stayin' Alive' and 'More Than a Woman', both from the soundtrack of hit film Saturday Night Fever. But the Bee Gees' extraordinary career was one of highs and lows.

                        From a vicious but temporary split in 1969 to several unreleased albums, disastrous TV and film appearances, and a demoralising cabaret season, the group weren't always revelling in the glow of million-selling albums, private jets and UNICEF concerts. Yet, even in the Gibbs' darkest times, their music was rarely out of the charts, as sung by the likes of Al Green, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, and Destiny's Child. Capturing the human story at the heart of the Bee Gees, this book will be a lyrical and stylish read, delighting hardcore fans with its details while engaging casual pop readers who simply want to know more about this important and enigmatic group.

                        Nige Tassell

                        Whatever Happened To The C86 Kids? : An Indie Odyssey

                          In 1986, the NME released a cassette that would shape music for years to come. A collection of twenty-two independently signed guitar-based bands, C86 was the sound and ethos that defined a generation. It was also arguably the point at which 'indie' was born.

                          But what happened next to all those musical dreamers? Some of the bands, like Primal Scream, went on to achieve global stardom; others, such as Half Man Half Biscuit and the Wedding Present, cultivated lifelong fanbases that still sustain their careers thirty-five years later. Then there were the rest, who ultimately imploded in a riot of paisley shirts, bad drugs and general indifference from the record-buying public. Now, for the first time, music journalist Nige Tassell tracks down the class of C86 and recounts their stories, both tragic and uplifting.

                          Yet, while the pursuit of long-lost musicians can often manifest as earnest hagiography, Tassell's unique, light-hearted approach makes this a very human story of ambition, hope, varying degrees of talent and what happens after you give up on pop - or, more precisely, after pop gives up on you. It's a world populated by bike-shop owners, architecture professors, dance-music producers, record-store proprietors, birdwatchers, solicitors, caricaturists and even a possible Olympic sailor - and let's not forget the musician-turned-actor gainfully employed as Jeremy Irons' body double... More than simply the tale of the tape, Whatever Happened to the C86 Kids? is an exploration of C86's wide-reaching and often surprising legacy.

                          Gordon King

                          When Does The Mind-Bending Start? : The Life And Times Of World Of Twist

                            'Most underrated group? World of Twist.' - Liam Gallagher'
                            They're a top band. No one could do what World of Twist do, except World of Twist.' - Noel Gallagher'
                            A band ripe for rediscovery.' - The Guardian

                            Welcome to World of Twist: the greatest lost band of all time. While fame, glory and untold riches seemed like an inevitability for this group at the turn of the '90s, the world was simply not ready for a band of retro futurists, psychedelic adventurers and cosmic tunesmiths.

                            Too late for Madchester, too early for Britpop and too much fun to pigeonhole, World of Twist went on to face a demoralising string of 'what could have been's. First, their debut single, 'The Storm', peaked two places outside of the UK top forty, meaning they missed out on a guaranteed Top of the Pops spot; then, when they were close to signing with Alan McGee's Creation Records, the label decided to go with an unknown band called Oasis instead. Finally, World of Twist fell apart in a torrent of drugs, mental illness, musical differences, sartorial contretemps and all-round shoulder-shrugging apathy.

                            But they burned bright and left an indelible mark on everyone who looked deep into their light, including fellow Mancunians and Oasis superstars Noel and Liam Gallagher. Now, for the first time, co-founder, guitarist and principal songwriter Gordon King tells the incredible inside story of his time with the band. Revealing the jealousy, anguish and personal demons experienced by the clashing personalities of King and late singer Tony Ogden, this compelling memoir is the story of triumph, tragedy, comedy, drama, demise and recovery.


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