Author:Bill Thomas / Richard Butterworth / Nick Holmes
I think we can all unanimously agree that the seventies is the ‘go to’ decade as far as Genesis is concerned. That period spans all their key albums, even if it did end slightly underwhelmingly with And Then There Were Three (although the much better Duke was just around the corner of course). Looking back fifty years later, it’s an astonishing body of work, encompassing groundbreaking albums such as Foxtrot, Selling England By the Pound, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and Trick Of The Tale to mention a few personal favourites – and they were so unbelievably prolific, with, for example, only ten months separating Trick from Wind and Wuthering. As if that wasn’t enough, there were also the first solo albums from Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett, plus Phil Collins work with Brand X and Ant Phillips early records – those were heady days indeed, and yet quality control barely ever dipped! Obviously there are more comprehensive and longer books on the band already out there, but nonetheless I really enjoyed this potted history of those key years – it’s well written, looking at the albums and at what was happening within the band’s ranks, and is readable in a couple of hours max. Cunningly timed to coincide with the upcoming shows, although I doubt much of the music discussed here will feature!
Along with the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane is perhaps the band most associated with the San Francisco scene in the late sixties/early seventies. This book covers the seven studio albums they put out between 1966 and 1972, together with the live set Bless Its Pointed Little Head. Their heyday was relatively brief though, with the final two albums, Bark and Long John Silver, not amounting to much, although I still retain a liking for War Movie from the former. Some of their music, listening back now, is a bit ‘of its time’, but equally a lot of it still stands up today and wafts you back to the hazy days of the summer of love! There’s certainly a lot for the layman, who may perhaps only associate them with White Rabbit and Somebody To Love, to discover, and this book will help you navigate the essential songs and albums, as well as charting the internal workings of their writing and recording..
It’s been over ten years now since one of my favourite bands, Porcupine Tree, called it a day, although of course Steven Wilson went on to bigger things. The band is often thought of simply in terms of prog, but actually they delved into any number of genres, psychedelia, metal, pop, and even space rock and trance. This is an excellent guide to their diverse music, although you really have to listen to the albums to ‘get it’. In Absentia, The Sky Moves Sideways, Lightbulb Sun, Deadwing and Fear of a Blank Planet are all albums I still regularly listen to, particularly the latter two, which for me contain some of their finest, most enduring music. If you’re a fan of Wilson’s solo albums, or simply fancy trying something new, put on any of those albums and let this book light your way.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
For fans of these artists.
One thing you’ve learned
These books are great for reminding you of those album tracks you’d forgotten all about as the years passed.