Archive for the book reviews Category

Metal Odyssey’s Rock Music Book Pick: “A Brief History Of Album Covers”

Posted in album covers, book reviews, classic rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, metal odyssey, Music, punk rock music, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news, rock music reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALBUM COVERS – I recently discovered and bought a book that is about one of my favorite Rock ‘N’ Roll topics, that being album covers. A Brief History Of Album Covers set me back just $5 (U.S. funds). The store where I bought this cool book sells nothing higher than $5, hence the store name: Five Below. Now, this is not a used book store, nor a thrift store, all the variety of merchandise is sold as “new” at Five Below. There are a few of these Five Below stores in my area of Eastern Pennsylvania. Finding a book that interests me seems to be the norm, each time I visit a Five Below.

A Brief History Of Album Covers is an entertaining and insightful book to read. Author Jason Draper covers nearly 200 classic album covers, all in chronological order. From the debut and self-titled Elvis Presley album from 1956, to the (best of) Oasis album from 2006 – Stop The Clocks. From the Fifties to the “Noughties” as Jason Draper refers to the Millennium decade, he chooses album covers that are “the most iconic, unusual or representative” of each respective decade. It’s interesting and simply fun to see the album covers which Jason Draper has chosen for this book.

Each album cover has a brief write-up, with an anecdotal approach that works just well with me. Every album that is revisited has it’s respective cover pictured, in full color, along with it’s record label, release dates and songwriters. I find this book to be extremely helpful with it’s details that it offers. A Brief History Of Album Covers could have easily been a mammoth sized coffee table book, however, in this instance, the “less is more” school of thought comes together very attractively. This book has a soft cover and is 384 pages long. The oddball measurements (approximately) for this book are: 6 and 5/8″ x 6 and 1/4″.

There are not an abundance of Heavy Metal album covers found in Jason Draper’s research here and I quite honestly can live with it. Not everyone will submit the same list or book of what they consider to be the standout album covers that span 60 years. Iron Maiden’s third studio album from 1982, The Number Of The Beast is included, along with Van Halen’s 1984 and Led Zeppelin’s ultra-legendary sixth studio album – Physical Graffiti.

(Led ZeppelinPhysical Graffiti)

The diversity is seen here in A Brief History Of Album Covers that lends itself as a tribute to many Rock Music genres, only not all of them. From Frank Sinatra to Lynyrd Skynyrd with Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols in-between, Jason Draper has accomplished a tidy celebration of album cover art. Sure, if it were my book on a history of album covers I would include representations from Black, Death and Thrash Metal without blinking a Metal eye. As I mentioned earlier though, not everyone will share the same opinion on an absolute list of decade defining album covers.

Even with the lack of Extreme Metal being represented within A Brief History Of Album Covers, I still strongly endorse this book and applaud Jason Draper for revisiting such a tremendous catalog of album covers. His interpretations of the album cover art he compiled, has made me look at these covers with an “open mind” once again. I also commend Jason Draper for paying homage to what is now quickly becoming an obsolete experience for younger generations of music fans, of being able to view and enjoy the album cover art that so often represents the respective music of the album and it’s creators. The LP does live on though, thanks to Jason Draper’s brief journey with all of these cool covers.

There are many interesting facts found in A Brief History Of Album Covers, both historic and artistic. One fact that I was reminded of, (due to my blatantly forgetting about), is the design similarity between Elvis Presley’s 1956 debut album and London Calling by The Clash, which was released back in 1979. Jason Draper refers to The Clash cover as “parodying” the Elvis Presley debut, only I beg to differ. My interpretation is The Clash are paying tribute to a true pioneer of Rock ‘N’ Roll, regardless if the initial intent was to be that of parody or not. Both the Elvis Presley debut album and London Calling are serious representations of their respective Rock genres, therefore the tag of “parody” realistically does not apply. Take a look for yourself below:

Elvis Presley (debut/self titled) – RCA Victor – 1956

The Clash (London Calling) – CBS Records (UK), Epic Records (U.S.)

* Jason Draper is the Reviews Editor for Record Collector Magazine, the United Kingdom’s longest running monthly music magazine, with distribution in the UK and worldwide. Jason Draper is described as a “true collector” on the inside back cover panel of this book… I would tend to agree he surely is, without knowing him.

* The foreword for A Brief History Of Album Covers was written by Paul Du Noyer. As the founder of Mojo (music magazine based in the United Kingdom), Paul Du Noyer has also edited many Rock Music reference books and is an author himself.

* A Brief History Of Album Covers was first published in 2008, by Flame Tree Publishing, based in the United Kingdom.

LONG LIVE ALBUM COVERS.

LONG LIVE THE POWER OF MUSIC.

Stone.

Advertisements

WANNA SEE MY MOTORHEAD BOOK? IT’S REAL COOL…

Posted in 1970's classic rock music, 1970's hard rock, 1970's heavy metal, 1970's heavy metal bands, 1980's hard rock, 1980's hard rock bands, 1980's heavy metal bands, 1980's heavy metal music, 1980's metal bands, 1981 heavy metal music, 1990's hard rock music, 1990's heavy metal bands, 1990's metal bands, 1990's hard rock bands, 1990's heavy metal music, book reviews, classic heavy metal, classic rock, classic rock music, collecting rock music, current heavy metal bands, family, feel good stories, Hard Rock, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal bands, heavy metal book reviews, heavy metal history, heavy metal memorabilia, heavy metal music, life, life stories, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, old school heavy metal, rock & roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock music books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

The year was 1987 and I was yes, a Motorhead fan. (I still am a Motorhead fan, of course). As Christmas approached in 1987, my late mother had asked me what I would want for (potential) gifts. Well, most certainly they were Heavy Metal related gifts… vinyl albums, CD’s, posters and one very special book in particular. I was raised where you never received every gift on your list… so the bigger the list did not mean the more the gifts. So, with that thought in mind, I really crossed my fingers and hoped that this really cool book would be checked off of the request list that I gave to my mother. That really cool book was titled… MOTORHEAD. Oh yeah, Motorhead. Just the cover alone had me grinning from ear to ear, with Lemmy Kilmister, Philthy Animal Taylor and Fast Eddie Clarke in all of their Rock n’ Roll and goofy splendor. (See the really cool front cover pic of this book below, to see what I mean by that statement). To make a long Metal story short… my mother did buy me that Motorhead book for Christmas after all! I will never forget the smile on her face, as she saw the excitement in mine, upon my first opening that book up on Christmas day in ’87. The sentimental link this book has to my late mother, plus it being a book that’s just about Motorhead… well, it’s priceless to me, both the memory and this book combined.

This dandy Motorhead book was published by Babylon Books in 1981. (Whoa, I used the word… dandy, on Metal Odyssey). One odd thing about this book is that the pages are not numbered. I did count the pages myself, it was pretty easy to do too, yup, there are 64 pages total, (not counting the front and back covers). Throughout this Motorhead book, there are dozens of vintage black & white photos of Lemmy, Eddie and Phil, as well as oddball photos ranging from groupies to fanzine photos and illustrations. The Metal note to remember here is that this book documents Motorhead up until 1981, it is so easy to thumb through these pages expecting to see Brian Robertson, Wurzel, Phil Campbell or Mikkey Dee. This is as vintage as it gets with Motorhead history!

From Lemmy Kilmister’s very beginnings in Rock Music with The Sam Gopal Dream and later Hawkwind, this book lends itself to being a Motorhead 101 mini text book. A well documented history on just how Motorhead came together, through anecdotes and personal accounts makes for a fun and Metal educational read every time. A historical timeline of radio interviews and television appearances up to 1981 are also documented. What would this book be without a Motorhead discography? Albums, singles and bootlegs are covered! Biographies of Lemmy, Eddie and Phil are also included. Want to know the complete 1981 United States tour schedule that Motorhead had? The 1981 tour schedule is nailed down too! I could probably, with incredible Metal ease, blab away for paragraphs on end about the details found in this Motorhead book… unfortunately, I just can’t do that. Take my Metal word for it though… if you are a fan of Motorhead or of any Rock genre at all, this book is worth seeking and owning, both for it’s Rock History and nostalgia.

MOTORHEAD – Front Cover

Please excuse the quality of the photos here, sometimes Metal is Old School and these photos exemplify that. Actually, the ambiance that these photos represent, is just how this Motorhead book feels to hold and read. As a quick closing to the earlier story, about my receiving this great Motorhead book as a Christmas gift from my late mother back in ’87: Whenever my buddies, relatives or just about anyone that would come over to our house back in the late ’80’s, they would usually be confronted by my asking them… wanna see my Motorhead book? It’s real cool…

MOTORHEAD – Back Cover

I truly thank my unreal, great mom for this fabulous Motorhead book. It has served me right.

The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal – A Very Resourceful Metal Music Book

Posted in 1970's punk rock, 1970's heavy metal music, 1980's hair metal bands, 1980's heavy metal bands, 1980's metal bands, 1980's punk rock music, 1980's thrash metal, 1990's heavy metal bands, 1990's heavy metal music, 1990's thrash metal music, black metal roots, book reviews, classic rock music, death metal music, doom metal music, extreme metal music, hair metal music, heavy metal book reviews, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, heavy metal music books, heavy metal music guides, heavy metal music reference, heavy metal vocalists, horror punk rock bands, Metal, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, old school hard rock, old school metal bands, old school thrash metal music, punk rock bands, rock music, sludge metal bands, southern hard rock, thrash metal bands with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

Ozzy small picI’m always looking for good deals on my Heavy Metal Music purchases, from albums, CD’s to memorabilia and books. Upon one of my recent stops into a local thrift store, I happened upon quite the Heavy Metal find indeed, for the ripe price of fifty cents. Yes, fifty cents. The find you ask? Well, none other than The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal – and it is quite the book for me. (This book is a 1st printing, printed in 2005 by Rough Guides). While perusing the book aisle at this thrift store, the image of none other than Ozzy Osbourne caught my eye. What is this? I could not believe what I had found! Knowing immediately too, that any book in this thrift store is only fifty cents… I was Metal stoked. As a bonus, this book stared right at me in gem mint condition as well. As I picked it up and browsed through it’s Heavy Metal filled pages, it was obvious to me that the previous owner of this book never bothered to read it. As crisp of a new book you will find. Life is a sweet journey sometimes, especially when you can stumble on a 410 page book, when you least expect it, that is dedicated to your favorite music genre… Heavy Metal.

Alright, enough about how I found The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal and onward with it’s review. This richly factual book is written by Essi Berelian, with a foreward by the legendary front man for Iron MaidenBruce Dickinson himself. There are over 300 bands and/or musicians that are covered in this book. (Hey, to make a definitive book of Heavy Metal bands would not only be a task of the ages, the page count would reach a bizarre number as well). Therefore, there are going to be bands that are missing, (I am disappointed that Enslaved did not get aknowledged), plus there is that band here and there where I can’t exactly label as Heavy Metal, (Asia has a write-up in this book). I like Asia, yet I do not see the connection here. I will bend and say Foreigner has a loose connection to the genre of Heavy Metal, they are represented in The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal. Diversity is shown in the representation of bands, The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal even acknowledges Lynyrd Skynyrd and their link to heavy music.

From Ozzy Osbourne and Kiss to King Diamond and Magnum, with the likes of Venom and UFO in between, a fabulous smorgasbord of movers and shakers are touched upon with factual integrity and reverence. I am smitten that Slayer, Motorhead, W.A.S.P., Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kreator are well covered here too. Something that Essi Berelian did here, that impresses me most, is the inclusion of legendary Punk Rock Bands such as the Misfits and Ramones. Still, where are the Sex Pistols? C’mon, if you include Punk Rock into a voluminous book such as this, it is not a bright move to ignore the Sex Pistols! Plus, whenever writers refer to the 1970’s Hard Rock band Sweet as “The Sweet”, it drives me crazy. Anyone familiar with this band knows them as Sweet… period. The only album I am aware of, that has the moniker of “The Sweet” is their very first album, which was titled Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be back in 1971. Give me a Metal break.

Essi Berelian deserves much praise and credit, despite the few flaws mentioned, that in reality, I can overlook. Each band or musician represented in The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal has it’s history and discography touched upon in enough detail that suffices for me. Interesting anecdotes and facts are also provided throughout this entire book, making for a very resourceful guide on the history of Heavy Metal. The genres of Heavy Metal are explained very well too, giving the reader an in depth explanation to it’s respective origin and impact on the world of music. From Christian Metal to Black Metal, the genres of Heavy Metal are given their own spotlight. The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal is also loaded with plenty of black and white photographs, (group and individual shots, album covers and concert photos), giving this book that much more appeal.

At the end of the Metal day, The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal makes for an extensive and detailed read into the bands that started, shaped and expanded the world of Heavy Metal Music. Whether you are a life long fan of this incredible genre of music or a brand new fan, this book is rather difficult to put down. I most highly recommend The Rough Guide To Heavy Metal to all, it really isn’t that rough at all. Hey, for the fifty cents it set me back, this book is worth every penny. I cannot shake the Metal grin on my face each time I pick this book up to read.

Ozzy large pic

%d bloggers like this: