This Wheel's on Fire

Levon Helm and the Story of the Band

This Wheel's on Fire

“Helm lays it all bare in vivid, impassioned prose, adding an earthly, backwoods tone that makes the book read like a Southern novel, like Thomas Wolfe writing about rock ’n’ roll.” —Boston Globe “One of the most insightful and intelligent rock bios in recent memory.” —Entertainment Weekly The Band, who backed Bob Dylan when he went electric in 1965 and then turned out a half-dozen albums of beautifully crafted, image-rich songs, is now regarded as one of the most influential rock groups of the '60s. But while their music evoked a Southern mythology, only their Arkansawyer drummer, Levon Helm, was the genuine article. From the cotton fields to Woodstock, from seeing Sonny Boy Williamson and Elvis Presley to playing for President Clinton, This Wheel’s on Fire replays the tumultuous history of our times in Levon’s own unforgettable folksy drawl. This edition is expanded with a new epilogue covering the last dozen years of Levon's life. Levon Helm (1940-2012) met Ronnie Hawkins at the age of 17 and formed what would soon become The Band. He maintained a successful career as a singer and actor until his death. Stephen Davis is the author of Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga; More Room in a Broken Heart: The True Adventures of Carly Simon; Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones; Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend; Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith; and others.

The Last Waltz of The Band

The Last Waltz of The Band

For Vol. 2 of the series CMS Sourcebooks in American Music, Neil Minturn acknowledges the phenomenon of rock and roll with a serious examination of Martin Scorsese's film, THE LAST WALTZ (1978), the celebrated "rockumentary" that so artfully captured for posterity the final performance of The Band. From 1861 to 1976, this partnership of one American and four Canadians produced an impressive body of popular song in the rock idiom between 1961 and 1976. Joining its members for their farewell performance are a variety of guests, who, like The Band itself, reflected the rich array of traditions that have nourished rock and roll since its emergence. Minturn approaches the substance of the performances and the film itself in terms of intimacy and tradition. He presents the San Francisco concert as a summation of an extraordinary musical journey and prefaces his "scene-by-scene" analysis with a cogent introduction to documentary filmmaking. Selected performances are discussed in detail.

Do You Believe in Rock and Roll?

Essays on Don McLean’s “American Pie”

Do You Believe in Rock and Roll?

Since its release in 1971, Don McLean’s song “American Pie” has become an indelible part of U.S. culture. It has sparked countless debates about the references within the lyrics; been celebrated as a chronicle of American life from the late 1950s through the early 1970s; and has become iconic itself as it has been remade, parodied, and referenced within numerous texts and forums. This volume offers a set of new essays that focus on the cultural and historical significance of the song. Representing a variety of perspectives and fields of study, the essays address such topics as historical and literary interpretations of the song’s lyrics, its musical qualities, the commentary the song offers on rock and roll history, the continuing significance of the song, and the ways in which the song has been used by various writers and artists. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

A Companion to Martin Scorsese

A Companion to Martin Scorsese

A Companion to Martin Scorsese is a comprehensive collection of original essays assessing the career of one of America’s most prominent contemporary filmmakers. Contains contributions from prominent scholars in North America and Europe that use a variety of analytic approaches Offers fresh interpretations of some of Scorsese’s most influential films, including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, and Hugo Considers Scorsese's place within the history of American and world cinema; his work in relation to auteur theory; the use of popular music and various themes such as violence, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, and race in his films, and more

The Blue Moon Boys

The Blue Moon Boys

Boasting never-before-told stories of life on the road with a young Elvis, this comprehensive guide to Elvis' band gives an insider's view of how the band worked with him onstage, in the studio, and in movies, and features the first comprehensive look at their post-Presley lives and careers. Band members Scotty Moore, D. J. Fontana, and Bill Black created the Sun sound with Elvis, which has influenced such legendary performers as Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Fogerty, and Charlie Watts. Based on interviews with Moore, Fontana, and the family of the late Bill Black, this resource provides first-hand insights that have never before seen print, as well as several previously unpublished photographs. Extensive coverage of the entire history of the band makes this book is a must for Elvis fans, rockabilly aficionados, and anyone interested in the early history of rock 'n' roll.

Crossroads

How the Blues Shaped Rock 'n' Roll (and Rock Saved the Blues)

Crossroads

The blues revival rescued the creators of America's most influential music from dusty obscurity, put them onstage in front of a vast new audience, and created rock 'n' roll

The Band

Pioneers of Americana Music

The Band

At a time when Acid Rock and Heavy Metal dominated popular music, The Band rebelled against the rebellion with a masterful mix of tight ensemble arrangements, great vocals, highly literate lyricism, and a respect for the musical traditions of the American South. Comprising Canadians Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson, and Arkansas-born Levon Helm, The Band sparked a new appreciation for America’s musical roots, fusing R&B, jump blues, country, folk, boogie-woogie, swing, Cajun, New Orleans-style jazz, and rock, and setting the foundations for the Americana craze that would take hold 30 years later. The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music explores the diverse influences on the quintet’s music, and the impact that their music had in turn on contemporary music and American society. Through previously unpublished interviews with Robbie Robertson, Eric Andersen, Pete Seeger, and the late Rick Danko, as well as numerous other sources, Craig Harris surveys The Band’s musical journey from sidemen for, among others, Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan, to rock legends in their own right. The book touches on the evolution of rock and roll, the electrifying of folk music, unionism, and Civil Rights Movement, the growth of America’s musical roots, changes in radio formatting, changing perceptions of the American south, and the commercializing of the counter-culture, as well as drug dependency, alcoholism, suicide, greed, and the struggle against cancer. Harris takes readers through The Band’s albums, from Music from Big Pink and The Band to their final releases and solo recordings, as well as their historic appearances at Woodstock, Isle of Wight (with Dylan), Watkins Glen (with the Allman Brothers Band and the Grateful Dead), and the Last Waltz (with an all-star cast) and participation in the Festival Express. This biography is a must-have publication, not only for fans, but also for anyone interested in music history. Craig Harris sets the record straight as he shares the story of this incredibly influential rock act.

Scars of Sweet Paradise

The Life and Times of Janis Joplin

Scars of Sweet Paradise

Janis Joplin was the skyrocket chick of the sixties, the woman who broke into the boys' club of rock and out of the stifling good-girl femininity of postwar America. With her incredible wall-of-sound vocals, Joplin was the voice of a generation, and when she OD'd on heroin in October 1970, a generation's dreams crashed and burned with her. Alice Echols pushes past the legary Joplin-the red-hot mama of her own invention-as well as the familiar portrait of the screwed-up star victimized by the era she symbolized, to examine the roots of Joplin's muscianship and explore a generation's experiment with high-risk living and the terrible price it exacted. A deeply affecting biography of one of America's most brilliant and tormented stars, Scars of Sweet Paradise is also a vivid and incisive cultural history of an era that changed the world for us all.

Behind the Shades

The 20th Anniversary Edition

Behind the Shades

In virtually all areas of Dylan's life - his immigrant antecedents, his business dealings, his various addictions and his romantic attachments - Heylin is able to provide a fascinating picture of a man who changed the whole course of popular music in the sixties and, over thirty years later, won three Grammys. Heylin has given full weight to Dylan's own words and those of his closest associates, with over 250 people quoted in the book, helping to provide a portrait of a complex figure. Including 60,000 words of brand new material - dealing with Dylan's four twenty-first century albums; his archival audio-visual projects; his third film; his series of paintings and exhibitions; his autobiography, Chronicles; and his ongoing romantic liaisons and 'missing' marriages - this fully updated story of Dylan provides a monumental overview of the Man and his Music.