Welcome to our weekly blog by one of the world’s leading authorities on all things classic rock. Read Self Made Man right here every Friday! I own hundreds of CDs and records and I’ve been to hundreds of rock concerts but when it comes to music literature, the cupboard is pretty bare.
I pay a monthly subscription for Classic Rock magazine and occasionally buy Mojo, Uncut or even Q if the cover takes my fancy.
But as far as books on rock music are concerned, I could probably count them on my fingers and toes.
My shelves are creaking with autobiographies, reference books, almanacs, books about history, politics, travel and above all, sport, reflecting my other passions in life.
Music, however, takes up a mere fraction of space in Chez Murtagh.
In the bookcase which dominates our lounge, there’s Nick Mason’s lavishly imposing Inside Out which documents the life of Pink Floyd and its five members, which was published a few years go and also Eric Clapton’s autobiography, a Christmas present in 2008.
The rest are all paperbacks and so not on display. They include the eponymous Hammer of The Gods, Steven Davis’ warts and all tale of Led Zeppelin and their hedonistic lifestyle, arguably the most famous book of its kind ever written.
There are a couple of other books about Zeppelin and their manager Peter Grant, an AC/DC biography which omits far more than it reveals and a few which have been collecting dust in the attic since the day after the last pages were read.
I suspect I’m not alone in having a minimalist collection. Just a glance at the bookshelves of Waterstones, WH Smith or even HMV tell their own story.
Music is a largely neglected subject in the world of literature.
What I’d give for a genuinely authoritative account of life inside AC/DC, Free’s rise and fall or perhaps even a no-holds-barred autobiography from Richie Blackmore, Jimmy Page or Eddie Van Halen.
It isn’t a total vacuum out there and for that, we can thank Geoff Docherty of Sunderland, who has just published his second book about his own musical adventures in the late 60s and 70s.
I briefly touched upon his first book `A Promoter’s Tale’ a few weeks ago when he wrote about his rise from being a doorman at a Wearside nightclub to become a promoter of such esteem that he managed to attract Zeppelin to Sunderland and Newcastle for three successive nights at the height of their fame.
His latest book “Three Minutes of Magic” concerns his move into music management and his attempts to bring fame and fortune to the bands he managed.
I’ve only just started reading it and will review it on a later occasion (Note to Ed: don’t give me a deadline because I’ve got three books on the go at the same time!).
But trust me, reading about life on the road 40 years ago makes a pleasant change from the trials and tribulations of one Tony Blair or the rollercoaster football career of Neil Lennon.