It’s back: Biff Bam Pop’s annual Holiday Gift Guide! We’re featuring what we think a pop culture fan would like to get under the tree or Hanukkah bush this year – everything from movies and music, box sets, video games, VR and more. Oh, and books. Lots of books.
There are so many great reading choices this holiday season, especially for those of us that are classic rock minded. On that note, we’re kicking off this year’s Holiday Gift Guide by listing some of the most notable music-related releases that any fan would love to receive:
Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen (Simon & Schuster): The Boss proves to be as lyrical with long form words as he is with lyrics. His first book traces the singer-songwriter from his beginnings growing up in Asbury Park, New Jersey through his breakthrough success as “the new Dylan” and his status as one of rock’s greatest icons. More than anything else, Born To Run helps to humanize Springsteen, thank’s to the author’s willingness to open up about his personal struggles with depression, demonstrating that he’s not that different from the rest of us.
I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir – Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman (Random House Canada): Beach Boys fans have been down this road before back in the late 1980s, when Brian Wilson allegedly wrote Wouldn’t It Be Nice, his autobiography that seemed more like a love letter to controversial psychologist Eugene Landy. Luckily, this new book seems much more like the real Brian Wilson. Co-writer Greenman was able to nail Wilson’s unique voice while actually pulling out more than you typically get from an interview. Wilson, whose own issues with mental illness have long been documented, is a complex individual, and his take on creativity and living with the voices in his head is worth reading about. Oh, and he talks about the music, too.
Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy – Mike Love with James S. Hirsch (Blue Rider Press): The only other man more closely associated with the Beach Boys other than Brian Wilson is Wilson’s frequent co-writer, Mike Love. Depending on who you talk to, Love is either the devil incarnate, or the man who has kept the Beach Boys name alive for more than 50 years. Love explores both sides in his book, but he’s certainly not shy on taking credit where he thinks its due. Between Good Vibrations and I Am Brian Wilson, fans are well served in getting most of the Beach Boys story.
Testimony – Robbie Robertson (Knopf Canada): In 1976, singer/guitarist Robbie Robertson brought the career of The Band to a screeching halt, having decided that 16 years on the road was enough for him. And maybe he was right – along with multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson, Robertson is the only surviving member of the group, but their lifestyles are drastically different. In Testimony, Robbie explores his life on the road at age 15, going into detail working with legends like Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan and many more, proving once more what a gifted storyteller he is.
Far and Wide: Bring That Horizon to Me! – Neil Peart (ECW Press): Rush is done. We all just need to deal with it. No more massive tours. Maybe no more live shows at all. Maybe even no more studio albums. Deep breath. Because what we do have is an incredible legacy of music, along with Neil Peart’s singular writing style, which is showcased here, in a new travelogue written as Rush went on the road in 2015 for what will in all likelihood be for the last time. Far and Wide is gorgeously put together and, like all other Peart tomes, it’s a must read for fans of Canada’s greatest power trio.