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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.

    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.

      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.

          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.


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