The ten best music books of 2012

Categories: Book Report

bruce carlin thumb.jpg
Read more about the Boss in Peter Ames Carlin's Bruce.
This year, ambitious new books tackled the lives of music legends from Neil Young to Pete Townshend -- and many of these 2012 releases managed to burst through genres to offer significantly more than the average biography. We at Backbeat explored memoirs, historical surveys, ruminations on philosophy and even self-help to put together our list of the best releases of 2012. You're bound to find something you enjoy in our final favorites.

See also:
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The Man Who Sold the World is the closest thing to a definitive David Bowie chronicle yet

Categories: Book Report

Peter Doggett's The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s is out now on Harper.
Since David Bowie made his first mark on the world -- and beyond -- with 1969's "Space Oddity," decoding his music has been a prime pastime for his fans. It's also been a cottage industry for music journalists, most of whom have been content to simply rearrange the pieces in the Bowie puzzle. In essence, Peter Doggett does the same thing in The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s. Only he makes a brilliant step beyond mere analysis: He applies Bowie's method and aesthetic to the artist's own life and work.

Granted, the idea isn't Doggett's. The Man Who Sold the World -- a song-by-song breakdown of Bowie's output during "the long '70s" of 1969-80 -- was originally slated to be written by the late Ian MacDonald, who first used this approach in his dissection of the Beatles' songbook, Revolution in the Head. As exhaustive as Revolution is, though, The Man Who Sold the World better utilizes that fragmented format. Bowie, after all, is a man made of fragments, and his catalogue lends itself to loving deconstruction.

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