Click Here To Purchase Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? -- Volume 1

Authors: Marti Smiley Childs and Jeff March

Publisher: EditPros LLC

ISBN-10: 1937317005:   ISBN-13: 978-1937317003

 

Ah, we Baby Boomers love our nostalgia, especially when it comes to popular music. Whether reunion concerts, interviews with stars of old on radio or television, or Googleing for our favorite songs on YouTube, we seem to cherish that good ole rock ‘n roll just as much today as yesterday. Part of this nostalgia is an ongoing curiosity about what all the singers and musicians have been doing since they topped the charts way back when. One problem is that many print and online sources repeat often unreliable or outright incorrect information based on, well, unreliable or incorrect information. One of the pleasures of books like Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone is that some biographers take the time to talk to the performers themselves in order to be accurate, detailed, and credible.

For example, Volume 1 of this new series explores the past and present lives of members of The Association, Herman’s Hermits, Kingston Trio, Spiral Starecase, The Zombies, and singers Chris Montez and Bobby Vee. Each of these performers gets a chapter that begins with a history of their early musical careers filled with first-hand anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories about their work in the studio and on the road. Then there are a series of “Epilogues” in which we learn what each musician has been doing up to the present. In many cases, players remained in the music business in one form or another, sometimes in the production booth, sometimes helping shape the careers of new artists for various record companies. For others, the music was something they left behind as they took on a variety of other interests.  

For all the highlighted groups and soloists, interviews (or “conversations,” the term co-author Jeff March prefers) with the principals are the foundation for both the main chapters and “Epilogues.” Some conversations were clearly done over the past two decades, notable as five of the spotlighted players have since passed. These recollections are supplemented with conversations with spouses, ex-spouses, and offspring as personal lives are a major part of the biographies. We learn what the children of the stars have been doing as well and how they feel about their father’s brushes with fame and fortune. All this, according to March, enhanced a “participatory” approach to the book which also included the authors asking the subjects to preview the discussions about them to ensure accuracy.

Along the way, we get insights from old-timers looking back on all the changes over the years. For example, Chris White of The Zombies remembers when bands went on tour to promote an album; now groups record albums to promote tours. Still, Volume 1 does not serve as any sort of overview of popular music as the chosen artists don’t necessarily represent specific trends or genres. The Kingston Trio stand out as a group deserving more appreciation for what they contributed, and they were indeed significant trendsetters. In a sense, Bobby Vee represents the crooners who filled the charts before the onslaught of the Beatles. Herman’s Hermits and the Zombies represent the British Invasion and it’s good to see the rest of those Hermits getting some notice. I suppose you can say the Spiral Starecase is representative of all those “one hit wonders” and The Association and Chris Montez are the faces and voices of popular music that wasn’t so much rock as pop.     

 
But all that is really besides the point. What matters is just how much you want to know about the specific bands and singers that are included in this volume. It’s as up to date as any print book can be, as in the discussions of The Zombies new release, Breathe In Breathe Out. I’m looking forward to Volumes 2, 3, 4 . . .

  

Click Here To Purchase Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? -- Volume 1