This summer see’s Titan books releasing a series of titles on popular musicians and bands, the first two of which to be reviewed by us are a stunning pair of photo books looking at The Who and Pink Floyd respectively, edited by Marcus Hearn. These large hardcover books feature hundreds of images from each band, charting their progress from beginning up to recent reunions and performances.
The Who, charts the progress of the band from their beginnings in 1964, through early performances, into the 1970′s and 80′s right up until their reunions in the late 1990′s and 2000′s, ending with 2005′s Live 8 performance. The majority of the images, though, are from the 60′s and 70′s era, before the tragic overdose and death of Keith Moon in 1978. For any fan of The Who this book will be a fantastic resource, showing a slew of shots of the band from early pub gigs, staged photo shoots, larger live performances, video shoots and charting the complete career of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Anyone interested in band photography will also be equally interested in the mix of live/studio/candid shots as they depict a wide range of styles and times as only a massive band like The Who can have lived through.
Similar to The Who, and again edited by Marcus Hearn is the Pink Floyd photo book, again presented in the same large hardcover treatment with a minimal text accompaniment to lend context to the images. Pink Floyd the band, like The Who, share a varied and long spanning career that involved stylistic and line-up changes ranging from the psychedelic experimental rock of the 60′s through the operatic and grandiose concept work of The Wall in the 1979 to more recent reconciliations and reunions. Similar to The Who, this book wades through the archives of images that exist of the band and depicts the full range of their career, notably this was probably easier for Pink Floyd who were always a bit more conspicuous with concept photo shoots and lavish stage productions.
Both of these books have trawled through and painstakingly restored original negatives, prints and archive images to provide a faithful and interesting image of both of these juggernauts of 20th Century rock history. The books will be massively appreciated by fans, and indeed anyone interested in music history or music/band photography.
The second two books to be reviewed by us come from Simon Sheridan and chronicle the careers, in prose rather than images, of ABBA and Kylie, two very big names from different generations of music history. The books take the chronological approach and document both artists from early beginnings and singles through albums and the varying heights of success. They are chocked full of information, in fact anyone who is not a die hard fan might be slightly overwhelmed by the amount of detail that is delved into, as well as some personal annotations from the author – who is clearly a bit of a Kylie fangirl in particular…
The Complete ABBA: A 40th Anniversary Celebration is a massive compendium of all their works – a discography of their singles and albums as well as their tours and a whole slew of information regarding the creation of their biggest works – as well as a look at the band and the personalities. Interspersed in with the factual and personal information are some photos that help to illustrate the very extensive amount of information. As with the photo books fans of ABBA will simply love this book as a resource to learn even more about the band that they love, perhaps lending new emphasis or shedding some enlightenment on the meaning or history of some of their songs/albums. This is the only one of the books on review that isn’t hardcover, but the softcover here doesn’t detract from the overall effect of the book which is to provide a frankly massive amount of information to enrich the music of one of the biggest pop bands of all time.
Similarly The Complete Kylie (updated edition) is a hardcover chronicle of the 25 year career of one of the best loved women in pop. As the back jacket states it’s “all the singles, all the albums, all the TV, all the movies, all the tours… all the Kylie.” It’s difficult to wonder what more any Kylie fan would want as this book really covers it all from her beginnings on Australian TV, Neighbours, and becoming a princess of pop through to her current massive world success, Sheridan details it all and with photos along the way. It is extensive, perhaps even too much for the average fan, this really is one for the slightly ‘obsessive’ fans that relish in all the varying particulars of a lengthy career. More so than the ABBA book this one reads in an informal, or even trashy, tone and Sheridan clearly has an almost ‘Heat magazine’ level of appreciation for popular culture. That being said the shear breadth of information available will satiate the die hard Kylie enthusiast.
For certain if you are a fan of any of the varied artists in the books above you will want to check out these publications as they really can enhance your appreciation, either visually or with an overwhelming amount of informative backstory, of the artist and their music careers.
All of the titles mentioned above are available through Titan books now. Also available in this series are The Complete Dusty Springfield and Matt Monro – The Singers Singer.