It’s that time of year again when it’s worth mentioning a few books and albums to get you through the holidays — and maybe just one or two that you would do well to avoid. Starting with books of a musical bent, there have been the usual number of cut-and-paste biographies landing on the SD desk over the past few months, with everyone from Guns ‘n Roses to Troye Sivan getting a profile of some description. John Farnham and Jack White have also received rudimentary outpourings of facts this year. However, there are a few tomes that dig a little deeper and offer more than a chronological account of tours, albums and latenight carryings-on, and a couple that document periods in music history or in an artist’s life that pass muster. Of the latter, Ray Connolly’s Being Elvis: A Lonely Life, offers up little new information and is no match for Peter Guralnick’s definitive two volumes on the King, but he writes in a sharp journalistic style and, as the title suggests, focuses unerringly on the downside of Presley’s superstardom. Somewhat more disturbing but also more absorbing is a book mentioned here a few weeks ago, When the Screaming Stops: The Dark History of the Bay City Rollers by Simon Spence. Anyone who thought this boy-band prototype was as cleancut as their tartan-striped dungarees will be in for a shock at the manipulative and criminal activities behind the scenes of the Scottish band’s success, at the mercy of their unscrupulous manager Tam Paton. Topping my list for 2016 is Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run, a fascinating insight On My One into the Boss’s character, his passion and his craft as a great American songwriter.
Turning to albums, it has been another great year for local and overseas artists, so much so that I find it impossible to compile a definitive Top 10 without wanting to change half of them five minutes later. However, here are 10 of those, in no partuclar order, that have enjoyed consistent play on the SD turntable (or whatever) in 2016. 1. A Moon Shaped Pool — Radiohead 2. On My One — Jake Bugg 3. Deep Dark Savage Heart — Melody Pool 4. Utopia Defeated — DD Dumbo 5. Lemonade — Beyonce 6. Civil Dusk — Bernard Fanning 7. Teens of Denial — Car Seat Headrest 8. Skeleton Tree — Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds 9. William Crighton — William Crighton 10. Schmilco — Wilco
That’s it from me for 2016. Thanks for all of the feedback this year. I’ll be back on January 21. Merry Christmas and a happy new year. theaustralian.com.au
Jake Bugg released in June