Bailey, Philip with Keith Zimmerman & Kent Zimmerman. Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind & Fire. Viking. Apr. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780670785889. $28.95. MUSIC
Ninety million records sold. Eight Grammy awards. Lot of platinum and gold records. And lead singer Bailey’s leaping multi-octave range. The numbers speak for themselves, but Bailey has more to say in this memoir, which ranges from Earth, Wind, & Fire’s early years to founder Maurice White’s disbanding the group in 1983 to Bailey’s solo career (which gave us “Easy Lover”) to the group’s reuniting and eventual ascension to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
George, Nelson. The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style. Morrow. Apr. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780062221032. $27.99. MUSIC
Distinguished critic George, the author of Where Did Our Love Go? and other key black music histories, here tells the story of a variety show that took America on one hip trip. Debuting in 1971, Soul Train featured performers that appealed to young African Americans, ranging from James Brown to Christine Aguilera, with the sound of jazz, gospel, and rhythm & blues ringing through. With a 75,000-copy first printing; pushed back from February.
Leibovitz, Liel. A Broken Hallelujah: Rock ’n’ Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen. Norton. Apr. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780393082050. $25.95. MUSIC
Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen has had quite a career, from classics like the late-Sixties “Suzanne” and the early-Eighties “Hallelujah” to his album Old Ideas, released in January 2012 and his highest-charting release in America ever. Leibovitz, a visiting professor at New York University whose coauthored books include Lili Marlene and The Chosen Peoples, limns Cohen’s life and explains why he is still big.
Robinson, Lisa. There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll. Riverhead. Apr. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9781594487149. $27.95. MUSIC
A contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Robinson has been covering the rock scene for four decades, and does she have stories to tell. Imagine introducing David Bowie and Lou Reed, discussing nail polish with tweener Michael Jackson, making sure that Elvis Costello gets that record deal, and standing by as Led Zeppelin’s manager pulled out a gun. Fans will drool.