A sloppily rendered bio of the Rolling Stones' lead singer offers glimpses of a more human Mick Jagger than previously seen, but gets mired in contradictions and the details of the group's long decline. In what's at best undistinguished prose, Sandford struggles to fathom Jagger's contradictions—the performer's angry, unconventional public poses and his equally obvious longing for respectability. Much of the worst writing comes early on (Jagger's mother's lips grow ``pendulous'' as she waits in a bread line) as the book sets out to describe the Stones' early years. Sandford does show what the fuss was about—and what a nerve the Stones' early exploits struck in British culture. We watch Jagger provoking fan hysteria (egged on by early manager Andrew Oldham) and honing his stage act with moves stolen from James Brown and makeup tips from Little Richard; and then there's the later Jagger, grown from a youthful reader of Marx into an admirer of Margaret Thatcher. Sandford departs from previous biographers in revealing Jagger to have been as much subject as architect of much of what happened to the group. Though he's hardly exonerated for events like Altamont- -the free Stones concert ending in violence and murder—we do get a Mick more realistically ambivalent than Mephistophelean. But some of the author's theorizing is harder to credit. We're told that Jagger's Englishness may be the key to his character; then that he is ``one of those people...rare in England, able to sustain conflicting ideas and still function''; and then that he possesses the ``traditional values of Britain'' insofar as these include a sense of irony. Long chapters chronicling the Stones' decline drag badly. Sandford may manage to inch closer to the real Jagger, but only die-hard fans will be caught up in his account.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 1994

ISBN: 0-312-10503-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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