There’s much sleaze to be found in these pages, but precious little about how the Stones forged their rock-’n’-roll art.

EXILE ON MAIN STREET

A SEASON IN HELL WITH THE ROLLING STONES

Decadence, death and, oh yeah, the making of the quintessential Stones album.

Journalist Greenfield is no stranger to the Rolling Stones’ camp: He penned STP: A Journey Through America With the Rolling Stones, the 1974 fly-on-the-wall account of the English rock band’s ’72 U.S. tour. The current volume is a sort of prequel about the making of the epochal titular two-LP set, cut in 1971–72 under unusually taxing circumstances. Adopting the amused, ironic tone of an 18th-century novelist, Greenfield recounts the aberrant birthing of the album during a blazing summer of sessions at guitarist Keith Richards’s rented mansion in the south of France, where the five Stones escaped tax exile. The writer devotes a few pages to the tensions that arose between his putative “hero” Richards and lead singer Mick Jagger, as a newly detoxed Richards grappled (unsuccessfully) with his heroin addiction and Jagger wrestled with the highfalutin’ demands of his jet-setting new wife Bianca. Engineer Andy Johns chimes in on the difficulties of recording in a jerry-built basement studio so hot that guitars would instantly go out of tune. But the bulk of the book is devoted to the adventures of the Stones’ hangers-on (many of whom would meet dope-related demises not long after that fateful season), the machinations of the local dope-dealers (“les cowboys”) and the addled antics of Richards’s beautiful, deranged significant other, Anita Pallenberg. Exactly how Richards and Jagger managed to find time to write the material for their classic album amid all this madness remains obscure. What matters most to Greenfield are the plentiful sensational aspects of the tale, and the grim fates that awaited the pop stars, Grand Prix drivers and errant heiresses who serve as colorful minor players. The narrative peters out when the Stones travel to the relatively subdued environs of Los Angeles to finish their tortured masterwork.

There’s much sleaze to be found in these pages, but precious little about how the Stones forged their rock-’n’-roll art.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2006

ISBN: 0-306-81433-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2006

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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