Do you have music lovers on your holiday shopping lists ? Take a look at these suggestions.
“Michael Jackson: All the Songs” by Richard Lecocq and François Allard (Cassell, $50).
This 600-page doorstop tells the back stories behind every single song MJ ever recorded, including with the Jackson 5. The prose is as workman-like as the research is thorough, and the photos are fun. There’s even the story of Prince turning down Jackson’s request to make the song “Bad” a duet.
“Paul Simon: The Life” by Robert Hilburn (Simon & Schuster, $30).
The longtime Los Angeles Times critic got the songwriting giant to cooperate but Simon didn’t have approval over the book. Even though Art Garfunkel never granted Hilburn an interview, the 400-page tome is comprehensive, insightful and befitting its thoughtful subject.
“Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions 1983 and 1984” by Duane Tudahl (Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95).
The Los Angeles writer got insiders, especially engineers and band members, to tell revealing stories about these pivotal years – in interviews before Prince died. The focus is on recording sessions. Tudahl has updated information so convincingly that he was hired this year to work on Prince’s archives.
Bob Dylan, “More Blood, More Tracks: Bootleg Series Vol. 14” (Sony Legacy, $13-$110).
Not only does this finally give official credit to the Minneapolis musicians who recorded anonymously on Dylan’s 1975 landmark “Blood on the Tracks,” but it affords fans a chance to compare the oft-bootlegged New York sessions with the Minneapolis ones, where five songs were recut with a full band and an angrier vibe. Plus, if you listen to all six CDs, you’ll get a window into Dylan’s demo-free recording process for which no two takes are alike. Also available as a single disc.
The Beatles, “The Beatles (White Album)” (Capitol, $25-$179).
It’s the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ biggest (30 songs) and most eclectic album, and you can discover the demos, outtakes and drama (enter Yoko Ono) on the six-CD plus Blu-ray super-deluxe package. There are 27 acoustic demos and 50 mostly previously unreleased tracks plus a book and remastering by Giles Martin, son of Sir George Martin. Is anything ever too much for Beatlemaniacs?
Metallica, “ … And Justice for All (Remastered)” (Rhino/Blackened, $25-$200).
Before they met up and slicked up with producer Bob Rock for their “Black Album,” the thrash-metal giants released this far more dense and artful masterpiece, featuring the MTV hit “One” and such fan faves as “Harvester of Sorrow” and “Blackened.” The 30th-anniversary $200 megabox seems like a bit much, but the $25 180-gram double-LP or expanded three-CD set are very justifiable.
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