Rhino Reading Room: Jerry Lee Lewis, The London Suede, and Marc Bolan
It’s time to return to the Rhino Reading Room to remind you of three artists from the Rhino catalog who are celebrating birthdays this month and have either written memoirs or have had biographies written about them. You don’t necessarily have to be a big fan of all three artists to keep reading, but if you enjoy getting immersed in the life stories of musicians, then you might just want to read about all of them!
Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg
“The greatest Southern storyteller of our time, New York Times bestselling author Rick Bragg, tracks down the greatest rock and roller of all time, Jerry Lee Lewis—and gets his own story, from the source, for the very first time.
“A monumental figure on the American landscape, Jerry Lee Lewis spent his childhood raising hell in Ferriday, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi; galvanized the world with hit records like ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’ and ‘Great Balls of Fire,’ that gave rock and roll its devil’s edge; caused riots and boycotts with his incendiary performances; nearly scuttled his career by marrying his thirteen-year-old second cousin—his third wife of seven; ran a decades-long marathon of drugs, drinking, and women; nearly met his maker, twice; suffered the deaths of two sons and two wives, and the indignity of an IRS raid that left him with nothing but the broken-down piano he started with; performed with everyone from Elvis Presley to Keith Richards to Bruce Springsteen to Kid Rock—and survived it all to be hailed as ‘one of the most creative and important figures in American popular culture and a paradigm of the Southern experience.’
“Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story is the Killer’s life as he lived it, and as he shared it over two years with our greatest bard of Southern life: Rick Bragg. Rich with Lewis’s own words, framed by Bragg’s richly atmospheric narrative, this is the last great untold rock-and-roll story, come to life on the page.”
Brett Anderson, Coal Black Mornings
“Brett Anderson came from a world impossibly distant from rock star success, and in Coal Black Mornings he traces the journey that took him from a childhood as 'a snotty, sniffy, slightly maudlin sort of boy raised on Salad Cream and milky tea and cheap meat' to becoming founder and lead singer of Suede.
Anderson grew up in Hayward's Heath on the grubby fringes of the Home Counties. As a teenager he clashed with his eccentric taxi-driving father (who would parade around their council house dressed as Lawrence of Arabia, air-conducting his favourite composers) and adored his beautiful, artistic mother. He brilliantly evokes the seventies, the suffocating discomfort of a very English kind of poverty and the burning need for escape that it breeds. Anderson charts the shabby romance of creativity as he travelled the tube in search of inspiration, fuelled by Marmite and nicotine, and Suede's rise from rehearsals in bedrooms, squats and pubs. And he catalogues the intense relationships that make and break bands as well as the devastating loss of his mother.
“Coal Black Mornings is profoundly moving, funny and intense - a book which stands alongside the most emotionally truthful of personal stories. It was named a Book of the Year by The Evening Standard, The Observer, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The New Statements, The Herald and Mojo.”
Ride a White Swan: The Lives and Death of Marc Bolan, by Lesley-Ann Jones
“Rock biographer Lesley-Ann Jones paints a meticulous portrait of the T-Rex front man. From his childhood growing up in Hackney to his untimely death at the age of 29, Bolan's life was one of relentless experimentation and metamorphoses. Hallucinogenic drugs, wizardry and levitation, alcoholism, tax evasion and a spectacular fall from grace were to punctuate his short life, as he continued to strive to reinvent himself and his music over and over again. Lesley-Ann has been granted access to those who knew Bolan best, including his partner and the mother of his only son, Gloria Jones and his brother, Harry Feld.”