Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dear sir or madam, will you read my book?

I've recently been asked by a lovely anonymous reader to recommend a few books. Now before asking this, I hope that lovely anon knew that all of the books I'll be recommending will be written about the 60s, and most likely be a photo book! These are all 'guilty pleasure' type reads, and who could resist a bit of eye candy, especially 60s/70s eye candy? All that being said, I am incredibly honored that anybody would think enough of me and my blog to ask for recommendations. So thank you, dear anon.
I'll be doing this countdown style, telling bits about why I like the book, what it's about, etc.


10. Hippie by Barry Miles
What can I say? This book is basically a history of my favorite subculture, documenting the hippie movement from its beginning in 1965 to the tail end in 1971. All of the happenings, music, and festivals are here - and the accompanying photos are to die for, usually one on every other page. It's like a beautiful, colorful, history book.



---


9. Boutique - a 60s Cultural Phenomenon by Marnie Fogg
Take a look at that beautiful cover - it's the front of fabled London boutique, Granny Takes a Trip. It's beautiful, it's fashionable (to the 60s) - and that pretty much sums up the book. This was my first fashion book, and I still think it's probably my best. It's loaded with great history and photos of 60s (mostly) British fashion phenomenon, starting with the mod Mary Quant to Biba to The Fool to Ossie Clark (I know, that's a lot of "to's", but seriously, they're all in there!).



---


8. Swingin' Chicks of the '60s by Chris Strodder
A (pretty much) all-encompassing introduction to 60s women. It's got maybe 2 or 3 photos per woman, but that's not the point of the book - most of it is a mini-bio of the girl herself, the categories being: "Swingin' '60s Credentials" (overview), "Workin' It" (bio), "Her '60s Look" (her style), and "Bonus Swingability" (random facts). There are a lot of familiar faces, like my goddesses Pattie Boyd, Jane Asher, Jean Shrimpton, and Marianne Faithfull, but also some lesser appreciated behind the scenes chicks, like Helen Gurley Brown and Mary Quant.



---

(I actually don't have the dust cover, sorry for the shoddy quality)


7. Model Girl by Charles Castle
This seemed like an extremely light read when I bought it (1 cent before shipping). I fully expected it to be a poor girl's Birds of Britain, but I was SO wrong. This book is basically a history of modeling. Who knew such a book existed? Definitely not me. It traces back to 'mannequins' (what models were originally called) of France in the late 1800s, and touches base on every decade up to the 70s (when the book was written). I find it pretty fascinating, because many models from the 20s were actually interviewed (most if not all have since passed away) as well as well-known photographers of the 60s like David Bailey. That's a lot for a book to cover. I haven't even mentioned the AMAZING photos you'll find in the book - dating from, like I said, the late 1800s to the 1970s. Every important model of each decade is covered.



---


6. Miss O'Dell by Chris O'Dell
My latest rock bio read. Chris wasn't really a groupie - she was just friends with many rich and famous people from the late 60s on up. Like even she says: "I wasn't famous. I wasn't even almost famous. But I was there." Her gateway to all of this was Beatles associate Derek Taylor, from whom she got a job at Apple Corp. in London. From there, her life is chaos; she entertains a young James Taylor, befriends the Beatles and their wives, dates Leon Russell (Chris is his "Pisces Apple Lady"), moves into the Harrison's Friar Park Home (she's George's "Miss O'Dell), travels on Stones and Bob Dylan tours... and much more. It's a great story about a lucky lady. Unfortunately, her story is a bit tainted with drugs, which inevitably becomes a bit of her downfall before she seeks help and ultimately settles down to become a counselor. She seems a little in awe of some of the things she's done, and regrets quite a few incidents, but ultimately her story is a chronicle of the wild sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll which I so love.



---


5. In His Own Write & A Spaniard In The Works by John Lennon
(I have the two books put together, the omnibus edition.) Well, I am an absolutely HUGE John Lennon fan(girl), so how could I not love these two books? It's basically a bunch of funny, odd drawings and accompanying stories by John, and I get the feeling he's trying to fool everyone into finding deeper meaning within them. I don't think there really is much meaning to anything in the books, that it's just John messing about with words to mess with everyone's minds. I've always thought John was funniest, too, so imagining him saying every story to me with a Liverpudlian snarl never fails to get me giggling. (No photos, because each requires the story for you to 'get' it!)

---


4. Radical Rags - Fashions of the Sixties by Joel Lobenthal
Another fashion book, yay! I use this one constantly. You would not believe how many photos on this blog that are from this book! It covers pretty much every aspect of sixties fashion, particularly the designers. Popular culture isn't forgotten here, either; the Beatles and Stones get a fair amount of credit, and I recall that Grace Slick gets an honorable mention. Mostly, though, this book chronicles fashion, from mod to hippie and everything in between. Like most of my books, I refer to it for the great history it includes.



---


3. (these last few are all rock autobiographies) John by Cynthia Lennon
I cannot describe how much I feel for Cyn after reading this book. It reminds me a bit of the 500 Days of Summer effect; you spend a great deal of the book being lured into loving a character, only to have that character ripped from you and made alien. That character, in this book, is none other than John Lennon. Of course, Cynthia writes about more than just her late ex husband, but as the book's title proclaims, the book centers mostly around John's part in her life. Cyn is an absolutely sweet woman, and makes John out to be at one part lost and lonely, and another part distant and brainwashed. Cyn maintains grace after all these years, though, only saying at the very end that she regrets ever meeting John. Of course, she talks a fair amount about her lovely son, Julian, and her other marriages, but like I said, a great bulk of the book is about her time with John.



---


2. Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd
I should probably tell you that I worship this woman. Everything about her; her look, her personality, her life, everything. This is definitely a fair autobiography, not too heavy or lacking on any one part. She starts her story when she was a youth in Kenya, telling about her parents' difficult situation and her evil stepdad. She becomes a model after working as a shampoo girl, and yada yada yada, she became quite successful as she dated and married George Harrison. She isn't too shy about her drug use, which was a constant for most rock stars at the time. Pattie tells about losing George to religion, and escalating romantic interest from one of George's best friends, Eric Clapton. We all know what's next: she leaves George for a (seemingly) more attentive man, only to have that marriage fall flat too. Eric lost interest, and had a child with another woman (which horrified poor Pattie). She eventually left him, had another relationship with Rod Weston (that ended too), had a life changing experience, gained a new perspective on life, and has been quite solitary since. I love the parts of her book which describe the swinging sixties (of course I would), where she talks about her favorite boutiques, personalities, and any memories she had. It's a fascinating look into some of my favorite music, but instead of coming out with more appreciation for the Beatles or Eric Clapton, I felt I had heard a great life story from a great lady.



---


1. Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull
This is probably my favorite rock autobiography so far. I didn't know much about Marianne before reading it; I knew she was a singer, and I knew she had dated Mick Jagger. That is definitely not all to the story. Marianne appeared every bit the innocent convent girl she was supposed to be in the mid-60s, but really, she had had quite an odd childhood. She was the only daughter of a spoiled baroness and a crazy ex-military man. She did indeed attend convent school, but she longed to be "in", a beatnik. She met and married John Dunbar in her late teens, and started a career as a singer soon after. Marianne had a son, Nicholas, and all but left her husband once her career really took off. She knew the rowdy Stones boys and thought nothing of Mick, but adored Keith. After a one night stand with Keith, she finally gave Mick a chance, and they became one of the "it" couples of the 60s. Her life was, as I like my autobios to be, filled with some sex, way too many drugs, and of course, a lot of rock 'n' roll. We all know that Marianne was the one Mick wanted to spend she night with, and that he also thought that she was like a rainbow. In the early 70s, though, Marianne started having serious drug problems, had left Mick (or the other way around), and was living 'on the wall'. She rebounded with Broken English, an angry punk-like album that brought her (and her now whiskey-drenched vocal chords) back to the public eye. She hasn't left it much since, and has gone clean, too. When she wrote the book, back in 1994, I guess she realized her life wasn't even close to finished, and decided to end her story a bit openly: the last paragraph is a recipe for chicken with lemon an garlic. She was right about leaving it that way - she has done so much since then, even releasing an album just a few months ago! I find her story to be more inspiring than anything; she's kept such a great view on life after all of these years, and is truly a survivor.



---

Wow, that was a lot more writing than I'd bargained for! Well, maybe you haven't heard of a couple of these books before, and I hope you like any that you choose to pick up!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Darling! I cannot thank you enough for the lovely reccomendations! You have been a great help and your just plain fantastic. I have to say that I have visited plenty of other blogs, however, yours is truly number one! Thank you soo much. Its incredible how much you know about the sixites.

Anonymous said...

Oh! thank you again for taking time to do all this. Really, really, appreciate it. Your great. You really are. Peace and love

JessM said...

Man all those rock bios are my favorites! (Except I have not read Miss O'Dell's book yet... any book written by "groupie" type ladies haven't been my favorite so far).
I LOVED "John", it made me Team Cyn for life. She's got a real heart of gold and her writing doesn't sound at all bitter which is amazing to me. I also love "John Lennon is his own write" but I haven't read A Spaniard in the Works yet...I'm literally making a list and visiting amazon right after reading this blog hahaha:)

A Dandy in Aspic said...

Great List!
I've been trying to get 'Swingin' Chicks of the Sixties' for ages, but it's quite hard to get. Marnie Fogg's book is great as well. You might also like 'Boutique London' by Richard Lester which is just as good. I would recommend other titles by Barry Miles, such as 'In The Sixties' and recetly published 'London Calling'. Shawn Levy's 'Ready! Steady!Go! - The Rise and Fall of Swinging London' is a classic which anybody who is into the sixties should read. If you're really into tones, marianne Faithfull, etc. I recommend 'Blwn Away - The Rolling Stones and The Death of the Sixties' and 'Brian Jones - Who KilledChristopher Robin?' by Terry Rawlings.
x

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dandy in Aspic for the reccomendations! i was the anon reader that asked for the books. And thank you for the other lovely recommendations! Greatly appreciate it!

Kaitlyn said...

Thanks Peter! I'll have to keep an eye out for your recommendations, and I do love anything by Miles (great photos!) and anything about Brian Jones.
I should probably be asking YOU for 60s fashion book recommendations, haha. :)

Nicole said...

I must join to others and say that I'm really grateful for your recommendations! :) .....Unfortunately, I haven't read any of them, because I live in the Czech Republic and our translators obviously don't concentrate on this lovely era - 60s. But I love it and I'm about to order some books from amazon :)

But the one that was was translated not long ago and I bought it is Keith Richards- Life ..I must say, that it's the best book I have ever read. I love Keith and this autobiography is really amusing :)


And I admire your site. It's very nice :)

Visit my blog and vote for your favourite member of The Rolling Stones -> http://twistandshout1960s.blogspot.com/

Nicole said...

And i also read a Road to Woodstock by Michael Lang and it was great book as well....about both I have written on my blog

Frances said...

Thanks for these great suggestions - I actually found this post while trying to seek out more information on Model Girl. I recently bought it and - like you - was pleasantly surprised to see the depth of detail and all those wonderful photos. Charles Castle says some amazingly snobby things too, which are quite amusing.

I'm also a huge fan of Radical Rags and Faithfull but there are many others in this post I can't wait to read now! Miss O'Dell sounds especially brilliant! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Its number 10. Lives lost are always lawful. But the history was only sovereign until 1979. I suppose Oxford has a reason for rejecting the photographs of the 60's. As long as Cambridge is psychedelic, legal status is always juridical. Models are never radical until the Oval Office decided that the fantasy is sex, the laws are sex, and the music is sex. As a pianist and anthropologists without brand recognition, I reject only the fashion of the 60's; and all marriages are the decade to ensue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! Off to the library! BTW I adore your blog - perfection!