The man who could make you cry when he sang' - RONNIE WOOD. Bobby Womack was born on 4 March 1944, and died on 27 June 2014, aged 70. In a career that spanned two centuries and seven decades, the soul singer, songwriter and guitarist carved a niche for himself that has rarely been equalled, and never surpassed. He is, quite simply, irreplaceable.A phenomenally gifted musician, his incredible talent helped him to escape the ghetto and become a star, with 30 million record sales to his name. Yet behind his beautiful music lay a life scorched by tragedy. Having trod the harsh edge of the music business for decades, he finally told his explosive story in this intimate memoir. From finding success with his family gospel group The Valentinos and being whipped into shape by James Brown and Jimi Hendrix on the 'chitlin' circuit', to recording with Wilson Pickett, Eric Clapton and Elvis Presley, Womack's stellar career wove a colourful path through the history of soul, rock and R&B music. His collaborations with other musicians read like a roll of honour, from Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles to The Rolling Stones and Damon Albarn.Success came at a price, however. Womack lost his friend and mentor Sam Cooke when the soul star was gunned down in a motel. A doomed marriage to Cooke's widow followed, which severely damaged his reputation in the music business. Tragically, he lost two sons, one to suicide, as well as his brother Harry to a brutal murder. His escape was to turn to drugs. Years of riotous abuse took their toll on Womack and those closest to him - including Janis Joplin, who spent her last night drinking with the singer.But Womack's talent, searing guitar and soulful voice always survived. Cited as an influence by myriad musicians, even in death he remains the epitome of cool. Honest, insightful and unflinching, this is the authentic voice of the Midnight Mover, a supremely talented legend of music whose every day was lived to the full. 'Essential reading for any music lover' - THE INDEPENDENT
Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was. Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. But even before that, she stood out in her conservative oil town. She was a tomboy who was also intellectually curious and artistic. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beats and her racially progressive views. Her parents doted on her in many ways, but were ultimately put off by her repeated acts of defiance. Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in these pages, Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down—but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away—even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco. Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due.
He was the Wicked Wilson Pickett, the legendary soul man whose forty-plus hits included "In the Midnight Hour," "634-5789," "Land of 1000 Dances," "Mustang Sally," and "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You." Remarkably handsome and with the charisma to match, Wilson Pickett was considered by many to be the greatest, the most visceral and sensual of the classic 1960s soul singers, and as a man who turned screaming into an art form, the most forceful of them all. He was the living embodiment of soul. More than that, Wilson Pickett's journey reads like a guide to popular black American music in the late 20th century. From the gospel-rich cotton fields of Alabama to the pre-Motown metropolis of Detroit, and throughout his career at Atlantic Records--he was the first artist on that label to record at Stax in Memphis, Fame in Muscle Shoals, and Sigma in Philadelphia, and rehabilitated an exiled Bobby Womack and introduced Duane Allman along the way--Wilson Pickett led the shifts in Rhythm and Blues and soul music. Pickett's downfall, precipitated by the move towards softer soul and then disco in the 1970s, proved equally dramatic, leading to a heavy alcohol and drug addiction, a reputation for violence and gun use, a no-show for his induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and two jail terms later in the decade. Nonetheless, the "Wicked" Pickett climbed out of these depths to end his career with a Grammy-nominated album before his death in 2006. For this first-ever accounting of Wilson Pickett's life, bestselling biographer Tony Fletcher interviewed members of the singer's family, friends and partners, along with dozens of his studio and touring musicians. Offering equal attention to Pickett's personal and professional life, with detailed insight into his legendary studio sessions and his combative road style, In the Midnight Hour: The Life and Soul of Wilson Pickett is the essential telling of an epic life.