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     Volume 5 Issue 102 | July 7, 2006 |

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Musical Bands and Their Stories

From ABBA to Mamma Mia
Carl Magnus Palm
Watson-Guptill Publications, Inc; October 2000

Enjoying an unprecedented revival, the pop group ABBA, which topped 1970s' charts and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, is more popular than ever as new reissues of their albums and the touring hit musical "Mama Mia!" thrill legions of fans with their songs. This account of the band's phenomenal success features a foreword by the stars themselves, making it the definitive ABBA book. An authoritative insider's text is combined with more than 500 photographs-many never published before-tracing the group's success from its earliest days. After winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, ABBA, an acronym of the first initial of each member's nameAgnetha, Björn, Benny, Anni-Fridrose to global renown, their wholesome image and buoyant, catchy songs becoming pop classics. Although the group disbanded in 1982, their music plays on as compilations of their work are sold on millions of CDs worldwide. Reinforcing that success, ABBA's songs in "Mama Mia!" recently traveled from the London stage to tour Canadian and American cities, building the group's following even more.

The Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb
Hector Cook et al
Omnibus Press; January 2004

How can you possibly write a biography about one of the most successful rock bands of the last four decades and get it all right? Writers Bilyeu, Cook and Hughes (along with Brennan and Crohan and many others) have managed to achieve the impossible. With uncountable interviews and years of research, this team has placed the Gibb family and all their triumphs and tragedies into perspective. Starting chronologically with the pre-marriage days of Barbara and Hugh Gibb in the 1940's up to the present, continually active Bee Gees, we are presented with every viewpoint, memory and recollection of the three brothers and their friends and acquaintances. The highs and lows of the Bee Gees and Andy Gibbs' careers are not glossed over. They are told with 'matter-of-fact' honesty and sincerity; a refreshing exercise in storytelling. The read is fast and crisp with a personal edge lacking anything close to newscopy. After the conclusion, there are numerous, wonderful appendixes including more comments from folks close to the Gibbs, a complete album and singles discography, a cover versions list and a bibliography with books, magazines, newspapers and websites. This interesting volume just makes the Gibb family more human. They may be ordinary people, but they have had extraordinary lives.

Duran Duran Notorious: The Unauthorised Biography
Steve Malins
Deutsch, Andre; March 2006

Last year, Duran Duran scooped MTV's Lifetime Achievement Award, played soldout stadium gigs in America and Britain, and enjoyed feature coverage in Rolling Stone and Vogue. This is the first-ever biography of the group. Duran Duran was one of the seminal groups of the 1980s, with record sales topping 70 million. With their punk roots, state-of-the-art videos, and notoriously hedonistic lifestyle, they captivated audiences around the world. This new book traces their remarkable story: their rise to fame, their split in 1985, and the ensuing splinter groups, drug addiction, and rehabilitation. In 2001, the original five members regrouped and are enjoying a level of recognition and popularity that few serious music critics would have predicted. Their mixture of synth and swagger has ultimately triumphed due to the core friendships of the band, their flair for memorable pop hooks, and an ambition that dwarfed most of their contemporaries.



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