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Rock Stars on the Record: The Albums That Changed Their Lives

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An all-star lineup of rock-n-rollers--from Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell to Suzi Quatro and Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire--relay the uproariously wild, sentimental, and unexpected pre-stardom stories behind their favorite records. Rock Stars on the Record is a collection of first-hand tales by artists of all ages, backgrounds, and musical influences, remembering th An all-star lineup of rock-n-rollers--from Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell to Suzi Quatro and Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire--relay the uproariously wild, sentimental, and unexpected pre-stardom stories behind their favorite records. Rock Stars on the Record is a collection of first-hand tales by artists of all ages, backgrounds, and musical influences, remembering the meaning behind the records that mattered most to them. From Laura Jane Grace to Ian MacKaye, Don McLean to Cherie Currie, Alice Bag to Mac DeMarco, and many more, bestselling author Eric Spitznagel talks to rock stars across the sonic spectrum about the albums that changed them in ways only music can change someone. Everyone's most cherished childhood record--be it a battered piece of vinyl, torn cassette tape, or scratched CD--has a story, and those stories can be more revealing about their owners than you might expect. Read about how "Weird Al" Yankovic refined his accordion skills by playing along to Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, or how Fishbone's Angelo Moore saved his life with a boombox and a Bad Brains album. Or about how Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman of Prince's longtime band, The Revolution, fell in love while trading mixtapes. Each profile is more emotional, fascinating, and hilarious than the last. So place that needle in the groove, and prepare to hear something revelatory from your favorite rockers past and present.


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An all-star lineup of rock-n-rollers--from Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell to Suzi Quatro and Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire--relay the uproariously wild, sentimental, and unexpected pre-stardom stories behind their favorite records. Rock Stars on the Record is a collection of first-hand tales by artists of all ages, backgrounds, and musical influences, remembering th An all-star lineup of rock-n-rollers--from Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell to Suzi Quatro and Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire--relay the uproariously wild, sentimental, and unexpected pre-stardom stories behind their favorite records. Rock Stars on the Record is a collection of first-hand tales by artists of all ages, backgrounds, and musical influences, remembering the meaning behind the records that mattered most to them. From Laura Jane Grace to Ian MacKaye, Don McLean to Cherie Currie, Alice Bag to Mac DeMarco, and many more, bestselling author Eric Spitznagel talks to rock stars across the sonic spectrum about the albums that changed them in ways only music can change someone. Everyone's most cherished childhood record--be it a battered piece of vinyl, torn cassette tape, or scratched CD--has a story, and those stories can be more revealing about their owners than you might expect. Read about how "Weird Al" Yankovic refined his accordion skills by playing along to Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, or how Fishbone's Angelo Moore saved his life with a boombox and a Bad Brains album. Or about how Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman of Prince's longtime band, The Revolution, fell in love while trading mixtapes. Each profile is more emotional, fascinating, and hilarious than the last. So place that needle in the groove, and prepare to hear something revelatory from your favorite rockers past and present.

49 review for Rock Stars on the Record: The Albums That Changed Their Lives

  1. 4 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    Books and Music are my life. The only thing that keeps me going other than reading is music. I can't even read while listening to music because my brain automatically starts grooving with the beat. That's why I didn't want to let go of the opportunity to read this book. It seemed like a great way to discover the music preferences of those who make us dance to their beat. One line in this book says, "If you really wanna know a person, know more about the album they listened to in the dark." That Books and Music are my life. The only thing that keeps me going other than reading is music. I can't even read while listening to music because my brain automatically starts grooving with the beat. That's why I didn't want to let go of the opportunity to read this book. It seemed like a great way to discover the music preferences of those who make us dance to their beat. One line in this book says, "If you really wanna know a person, know more about the album they listened to in the dark." That sort of sums up the premise of this book. Author Eric Spitznagel meets with quite a few rockstars to get to know what they rock to. His interesting range of questions makes his respondents open up their hearts to the music of their earlier years. The musicians come from varied social levels, varied educational backgrounds, and varied genres of music. Honestly, I haven't even heard of many of those interviewed for this book. But that doesn't take away from the experience. What binds them all is the name they have made for themselves in the rock world and the passion they have for music. Both of these come out vividly in this book and hence the lack of familiarity isn't a constraint. I really enjoyed getting to know the artists better. The book reaffirms the idea that all of us stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It was so interesting to get an insight into what motivated those who motivated us towards music. The resultant list reads like the who's who of the music world. This book is a treat for all rhythm afficionados. In fact, the entire book creates a great deal of nostalgia. As the musicians mention A tracks and LPs and cassettes and record shops, you can't help but go down memory lane. As one of the musicians says, "Most of what's there today is just show." And I completely agree. Autotune can never substitute true talent, and Spotify can't replace the experience of browsing through record stores. In an interview, the questions are as important as the responses. The author, who is also the interviewer, is very knowledgeable about his topic, and it shows. He knows exactly what to ask to make the interviews interesting and keep the conversation following. He also interjects humorous retorts in between the responses. The result is that the book doesn't become repetitive and boring in its content, though it could easily have because of its essential structure. The entire credit for this goes to Eric Spitznagel. However, as far as the audiobook goes, I wasn't quite satisfied to the same extent. How I wish there were multiple narrators for a book based on the interview format! The narrator does read with clarity but he doesn't vary his voice between the interview questions and responses, forget about male and female responses. The result is that the audio production sounds like one big nostalgic drama instead of an interview. After a while, you do get attuned to having a single narrator playing the double role. But it's not much fun. This audio would have functioned much better with three narrators, one for the interviewer and one each for the male and female musicians interviewed. Of course, a better solution would have been to use the actual interview recordings for the audio version. In spite of this minor drawback, I would recommend the book to every music lover, especially to those into rock and punk. I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. Thank you, NetGalley and Highbridge Audio, for the Advanced Audio Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun. Follow me on Instagram: RoshReviews

  2. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, HighBridge Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. What’s a song that changed your life? One that moved you, inspired you, broke down a wall within you and helped you grow? What song can bring back a memory as sharp as a snapshot, bringing you back to a time and place and smell and one prismatic moment any time you hear the first notes playing through a speaker? I don’t think any other art form on the planet can so deeply I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, HighBridge Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. What’s a song that changed your life? One that moved you, inspired you, broke down a wall within you and helped you grow? What song can bring back a memory as sharp as a snapshot, bringing you back to a time and place and smell and one prismatic moment any time you hear the first notes playing through a speaker? I don’t think any other art form on the planet can so deeply evoke sense memories and wildly variant emotions that music. While I love books with every fiber of my being, it’s music that has the most power to move me. And I think this is true for far more people than realize it. Music is the language of the soul, and it’s fascinating to see what speaks to the hearts of different people. Especially those who move others with their own music. It was interesting to hear how wildly different these artists approached discussing the music that shaped them. Some took a cerebral approach, others verged on spiritual, and some were just brimming with so much enthusiasm and joy that you couldn’t help but smile with them. Some of these artists, both those being interviewed and those whose records were the albums that changed the interviewed artists’ lives, I had at least a passing familiarity with. Some I had never heard of. But my knowledge of these artists and that art that moved them didn’t really matter in the slightest. Hearing any person, even a total stranger, talk about the music that matters to them, even if I’ve never heard of it, always feels valuable to me. The music that is important to us and the reasons it matters can be deeply personal, and I think any sharing of that is something special. You can tell that Spitznagel, the author and interviewer behind this book, is incredibly passionate about music. Rock in particular. There is so much love and care in the way he approaches these interviews. It’s evident that he was truly invested in learning how all of these artists he approached would answer the question of what album changed their life. This book could have somehow ended up becoming about him. That didn’t happen here. He was a facilitator, not the star of the show, and that mentality made all the difference in making this book feel honest and authentic. While I love the concept of this book, there were some failings in the audiobook format. This is a series of interviews, but both sides of every single interview are narrated by the same person, Michael Bulter Murray. While he did a great job, this could have been so much more had there been clips of the real interviews, or at least one additional narrator. The narrator did the best he could to ensure you could tell who was talking, interviewer or artist, but it would have been much easier to follow with two voices. However, I adjusted to having only one voice covering both ends of these interviews after a while, and I think the audio format was a very fitting way to ingest this book. By the time I reached the end, my complaints felt very minor. I was intrigued by the title and premise of this book when I stumbled across it on NetGalley, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Honestly, I could have happily read twice as many such interviews without ever feeling bored. I had never heard of Spitznagel, but now I want to dig into his back catalogue. Anyone who loves music this deeply is someone whose work I want in my life. You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    This book was eye opening for a number of reasons. It was great to hear these pioneering, professional, and famous musicians talk about their influences like fans and hear about those albums and moments that inspired them. It was also great to hear how wide ranging and unexpected some of the pics were (Bowie and Cohen were expected. Ted Nugent? Not so much). I even learned about a few new bands that I've started listening to (why have I never listened to Bad Brains before this?). Short but on th This book was eye opening for a number of reasons. It was great to hear these pioneering, professional, and famous musicians talk about their influences like fans and hear about those albums and moments that inspired them. It was also great to hear how wide ranging and unexpected some of the pics were (Bowie and Cohen were expected. Ted Nugent? Not so much). I even learned about a few new bands that I've started listening to (why have I never listened to Bad Brains before this?). Short but on the whole satisfying and a great way to connect my love of reading and music. **Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I like music. I’m definitely in the target audience, maybe a little young BUT I really enjoyed this book. The narrator reminded me of Casey Kasem, subdued. I think the only thing I might change (but not sure) would be to have him be the interviewer and have others be the interviewees so it gives it an even more rockumentary feel. All of the stories were heartfelt and/or funny. I’ve always loved music so I was answering the questions to a lot of the questions in my head. You’re (I’m) not alone! A I like music. I’m definitely in the target audience, maybe a little young BUT I really enjoyed this book. The narrator reminded me of Casey Kasem, subdued. I think the only thing I might change (but not sure) would be to have him be the interviewer and have others be the interviewees so it gives it an even more rockumentary feel. All of the stories were heartfelt and/or funny. I’ve always loved music so I was answering the questions to a lot of the questions in my head. You’re (I’m) not alone! All of the people interviewed had a first record that they bought or most influential band etc. It was funny that it’s mentioned that younger artists when asked might not be as honest answering all of the questions as someone in their 40’s. True. The age issue would be that I didn’t recognize a bunch of the people interviewed but I’ve heard of half the bands they were in so anyone could listen and enjoy this. I asked for this title from NetGalley as I found the description interesting.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dubi

    Rock Stars on the Record gets off to an auspicious start in its Introduction: Nirvana drummer and future Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl tells an interviewer that the first record that fueled him was Edgar Winter's Frankenstein, an awesome song, while Kurt Cobain surprisingly names Seasons in the Sun as his first song. Eric Spitznagel interviewed several dozen musicians, starting with the intriguing question, what was the first album you got on your own that changed who you were, how you think, Rock Stars on the Record gets off to an auspicious start in its Introduction: Nirvana drummer and future Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl tells an interviewer that the first record that fueled him was Edgar Winter's Frankenstein, an awesome song, while Kurt Cobain surprisingly names Seasons in the Sun as his first song. Eric Spitznagel interviewed several dozen musicians, starting with the intriguing question, what was the first album you got on your own that changed who you were, how you think, and set you on the path to a musical career of your own? Given the answers the Nirvana guys gave, you can count on the responses ranging from the predictable to the awesome to the shockingly surprising. For some, there was a specific answer, and the dialogue focused on that. For others, there was a broader story that involved family ties, friends, influences, mentors, even in one case defusing a potential hate crime by blasting Bad Brains (!). In fact, we get a spectrum of stories across the board that makes the final result more interesting that just a series of album analyses -- although having a few stories that are basically album analyses is great. There are some excellent juxtapositions: Kristen Hersh of Throwing Muses naming the Left Banke as her first record and then having Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction telling us in the very next chapter that his brother was a member of the Left Banke. Or Cherie Currie of The Runaways talking about Don McLean and then having the next chapter be an interview of McLean. Lots of that going on. The list of artists interviewed skew heavily toward punk rockers and alt rockers. Too much so. There are enough representatives from other genres to keep the results diverse, even if there are only one or two of them. And of course even in the world of punk rock, the influences are all over the place, as exemplified by Nirvana's choices. But it doesn't matter, the results are interesting to the max even when the people interviewed are people I never heard of or have never heard their music. I read a similar book recently about musicians' first guitar, and that elicited similar memories in the interviewees. That book skewed heavily toward classical and classic rock guitarists, but they were all still interesting (mostly -- naturally there will be an element of hit or miss in a compilation like this). Unlike that first guitar book, Spitznagel includes his side of the interview in his text, and that is a good thing. He is a canny interviewer who seems to know innately when to broaden the conversation or when to focus it more tightly, how to cue his subject and how to take their cues. He's also quite knowledgeable musically and has a good sense of humor. The narration on the other hand left a lot to be desired. I got the sense that Michael Butler Murray was trying to pick up on the vocal style of each interviewee, which you could tell when there are interjections like "man!" or profanities (of which there are plenty). Yet somehow everyone ends up speaking with a vague southern accent -- is that his own accent or is it how he sounds when he tries to create a vague accent of any type? Anyway, hardly a showstopper, just a minor annoyance. All in all, an excellent entry in a type of book that I've read and loved before. I liked it enough that I've already downloaded another of Spitznagel's music-related audiobooks that is included in my Audible membership, even though I expect that the age difference and divergence in musical taste between us will be significant. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and author for kindly providing an advance copy of this audiobook.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I loved hearing musicians talk about the album that affected them the most and why, but this audiobook narrator was super irritating. It would've been great if the musicians themselves actually did the speaking on this, or even if some of the references songs were included! I loved hearing musicians talk about the album that affected them the most and why, but this audiobook narrator was super irritating. It would've been great if the musicians themselves actually did the speaking on this, or even if some of the references songs were included!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Seigler

    If you're a huge music fan, you have one or two (or a dozen, or a hundred) albums that "changed" your life, or saved it. Hyperbole is the mating call of the music nerd, and pop-culture aficionados everywhere know that something with that huge of an impact on your life must be celebrated. It doesn't hurt if you went on to become a famous musician yourself (then your words about a favorite album or song carry a lot of weight). Eric Spitznagel talked to a diverse group of musicians for this book, " If you're a huge music fan, you have one or two (or a dozen, or a hundred) albums that "changed" your life, or saved it. Hyperbole is the mating call of the music nerd, and pop-culture aficionados everywhere know that something with that huge of an impact on your life must be celebrated. It doesn't hurt if you went on to become a famous musician yourself (then your words about a favorite album or song carry a lot of weight). Eric Spitznagel talked to a diverse group of musicians for this book, "Rock Stars On the Record," and the interviews range from brief testimonials to long and winding conversations where the interviewee and Spitznagel connect on a deep level over shared memories. I don't know all the artists interviewed in this book, but I understand why the albums that they picked spoke to them, and I've had that connection with quite a few albums myself (to wit, "Rubber Soul," "Precise Modern Lovers Order," "Unknown Pleasures," "The Queen Is Dead," "Talking Book," and "Paul's Boutique" spring to mind, though give me some more time and I can add to that list post-haste). This is just a fun look at how some of the musicians you might have elevated as gods are themselves enamored of rock stars whose music spoke to them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mortisha Cassavetes

    This book is interviews with many different rock stars and the music and records that they grew up with and what got them into loving music so much. I really did enjoy hearing what inspired them and hearing a lot of bands and recording artists that I, too, loved when I was young and even to this day. Some music stars I have never heard of and will definitely be checking out. I recommend this to everyone who loves a good tune and has fond memories of their lives with music. Thanks to #netgalley f This book is interviews with many different rock stars and the music and records that they grew up with and what got them into loving music so much. I really did enjoy hearing what inspired them and hearing a lot of bands and recording artists that I, too, loved when I was young and even to this day. Some music stars I have never heard of and will definitely be checking out. I recommend this to everyone who loves a good tune and has fond memories of their lives with music. Thanks to #netgalley for the early review copy. I really enjoyed it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Some very interesting stories. Written book is probably better as the audiobook has one narrator and is not the actual artists.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lacepaperlife

    “Music changes. It doesn’t mean the same to you today as it did back then. It’s growth.” Reviewing Rock Stars On The Record By Eric Spitznagel In Rockstars On The Record rock writer Eric Spitznagel reaches out to musicians ask, “what record changed your life?” Unfortunately for me I was only familiar with about half the musicians featured however it was still interesting to hear the genres and musicians that inspired each of them. So interesting how many of them where inspired by musicians from v “Music changes. It doesn’t mean the same to you today as it did back then. It’s growth.” Reviewing Rock Stars On The Record By Eric Spitznagel In Rockstars On The Record rock writer Eric Spitznagel reaches out to musicians ask, “what record changed your life?” Unfortunately for me I was only familiar with about half the musicians featured however it was still interesting to hear the genres and musicians that inspired each of them. So interesting how many of them where inspired by musicians from vastly different musical areas then themselves. Although the overwhelming answer to the question was, there is no one record that inspired each musician rather a plethora of songs and artists that develop their love of music, this was still and interesting listen. I was not completely captivated and took a few breaks from listening as it felt a bit long. I believe readers more familiar with the artists will find it more engaging. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 3.5 stars for this interesting yet dated interview style book. Thanks to @netgalley and @harperaudio for the advanced listener copy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Don Doebler

    Listened to the audio book - really was a fun listen. I learned so much about some artists that I love - and met some that I never heard of. I can't share those secrets though because I have not provided a spoiler alert. Let's just say there are some "Really?" moments throughout. For the audio, I would have enjoyed it more without some of the profanity, but I get it as those were some specific artists and that is how they talk and how the interview went. I also could have followed a bit better i Listened to the audio book - really was a fun listen. I learned so much about some artists that I love - and met some that I never heard of. I can't share those secrets though because I have not provided a spoiler alert. Let's just say there are some "Really?" moments throughout. For the audio, I would have enjoyed it more without some of the profanity, but I get it as those were some specific artists and that is how they talk and how the interview went. I also could have followed a bit better if the narration was done with both a male and female voice, so I didn't need to keep reminding myself the artist is a female though I'm listening to a male read her words. But - definitely a great read or listen if you are at all into the music scene. I was able to preview this thanks to NetGalley without any commitment or obligation on my part for the type of review provided.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Thomas

    Odd. Lots of people I dont know, which is good. I wanted most of the interviews to be longer. Also good. Many interesting perspectives. fun.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This was a really interesting listen. I loved hearing about the music that influenced the greats in their early days. Music has a way of bringing us back to the time in our lives when we first heard the song so many brought up memories of my own past. I do wish the audiobook could have included the actual interviews with the musicians rather than just being read by one narrator. Thank you to HighBridge Audio and NetGalley for the audio ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    William

  15. 4 out of 5

    Randy Stapilus

  16. 5 out of 5

    Caz

  17. 5 out of 5

    Toby

  18. 5 out of 5

    Geoff Fargo

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike Ayers

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric Frederickson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rebekka Steg

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nick Zinn

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Kay

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tresya

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lively

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amie's Book Reviews

  30. 5 out of 5

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  31. 5 out of 5

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  32. 5 out of 5

    Pam Greenfield

  33. 5 out of 5

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  34. 4 out of 5

    Mary Garth

  35. 4 out of 5

    Gage Hoefer

  36. 5 out of 5

    Montana

  37. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Bagnall

  38. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  39. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  40. 5 out of 5

    Eric Spitznagel

  41. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  42. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Bolin

  43. 5 out of 5

    Diane Sparks

  44. 4 out of 5

    Blake Boldt

  45. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Norton

  46. 5 out of 5

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  47. 4 out of 5

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  48. 4 out of 5

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  49. 5 out of 5

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