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John Kruth on The Vintage Rock & Pop Shop!

John Kruth, author of This Bird Has Flown, was on WFDU Radio! He spoke with Ghosty, host of The Vintage Rock & Pop Shop. They spent some time talking about This Bird Has Flown, and how Rubber Soul was a game changer for popular music.  The podcast is available below, click play to hear what they had to say!

>>Listen<<

00121941The Beatles’ sixth studio album, Rubber Soul, was a game changer, and in This Bird Has Flown: The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On, (November 2015, Backbeat Books, $19.99) John Kruth not only analyzes the songs and making of Rubber Soul, putting the album in context of the turbulent times in which it was created, but captures the spirit of musical innovation and poetry that makes the record a standout in the Beatle’s canon.

By December 1965, when the album was released, the Beatles had played the first arena rock show at Shea Stadium for 55,000 delirious fans, been awarded MBE (Member of British Empire) medals, and were indisputably the greatest musical phenomenon since Elvis Presley. With their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, John, Paul, George, and Ringo laid down the blueprint for everyone who ever wanted to form a group. The movie, entertaining as it was, became an instruction manual for aspiring pop stars of the day on how to play, dress, and act. Richard Lester’s 1964 comedy turned out to be the touchstone for every music video that followed.

Then, with the release of Rubber Soul, the Beatles created an artistic benchmark to which their peers measured their craft and creativity. Touring the world over two years, the band had grown up fast. Both musically and lyrically their new album represented a major leap. Upon hearing Rubber Soul, Bob Dylan allegedly remarked, “I get it, you’re not cute anymore.” Newsweek hailed the Beatles as “the Bards of Pop,” while critic Greil Marcus claimed Rubber Soul was “the best album they would ever make.” For Traffic’s Steve Winwood, the album “broke everything open. It crossed music into a whole new dimension and was responsible for kicking off the sixties rock era.”

A must-have for Fab Four devotees, This Bird Has Flown reaffirms Rubber Soul’s place as one of the most important rock ’n’ roll albums ever made.

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This Bird Has Flown

This Bird Has Flown

The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On

by John Kruth


Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ pivotal album, released on Dec. 3 1965.


Website

The Beatles’ sixth studio album, Rubber Soul, was a game changer, and in This Bird Has Flown: The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On, (November 2015, Backbeat Books, $19.99) John Kruth not only analyzes the songs and making of Rubber Soul, putting the album in context of the turbulent times in which it was created, but captures the spirit of musical innovation and poetry that makes the record a standout in the Beatle’s canon.

By December 1965, when the album was released, the Beatles had played the first arena rock show at Shea Stadium for 55,000 delirious fans, been awarded MBE (Member of British Empire) medals, and were indisputably the greatest musical phenomenon since Elvis Presley. With their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, John, Paul, George, and Ringo laid down the blueprint for everyone who ever wanted to form a group. The movie, entertaining as it was, became an instruction manual for aspiring pop stars of the day on how to play, dress, and act. Richard Lester’s 1964 comedy turned out to be the touchstone for every music video that followed.

Then, with the release of Rubber Soul, the Beatles created an artistic benchmark to which their peers measured their craft and creativity. Touring the world over two years, the band had grown up fast. Both musically and lyrically their new album represented a major leap. Upon hearing Rubber Soul, Bob Dylan allegedly remarked, “I get it, you’re not cute anymore.” Newsweek hailed the Beatles as “the Bards of Pop,” while critic Greil Marcus claimed Rubber Soul was “the best album they would ever make.” For Traffic’s Steve Winwood, the album “broke everything open. It crossed music into a whole new dimension and was responsible for kicking off the sixties rock era.”

A must-have for Fab Four devotees, This Bird Has Flown reaffirms Rubber Soul’s place as one of the most important rock ’n’ roll albums ever made.

$19.99
6.0″ x 9.0″
232 pages
9781617135736
BackBeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JOHN KRUTH has written for the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Wire, and Wax Poetics. His books include Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison, published by Backbeat Books, To Live’s to Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt, winner of the 2008 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, and Bright Moments: The Life and Legacy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk. A musician and music professor, Kruth teaches at the College of Mount Saint Vincent and lives in New York City.

00121941

John Kruth on Talk Radio Europe

John Kruth, author of This Bird Has Flown, was on Talk Radio Europe where he spoke about his book and The Beatles! Dave Hodgson, of The Daily radio show, got the low down on the book and now you can too! Click on the link below to hear more of what they had to say.

>>LISTEN<<

00121941The Beatles’ sixth studio album, Rubber Soul, was a game changer. By December 1965, when the album was released, the Beatles had played the first arena rock show at Shea Stadium for 55,000 delirious fans, been awarded MBE medals, and were indisputably the greatest musical phenomenon since Elvis Presley. With their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, John, Paul, George, and Ringo laid down the blueprint for everyone who ever wanted to form a group.

For Traffic’s Steve Winwood, the album “broke everything open. It crossed music into a whole new dimension and was responsible for kicking off the sixties rock era.” In This Bird Has Flown, John Kruth not only analyzes the songs and making of Rubber Soul, putting the album in context of the turbulent times in which it was created, but captures the spirit of musical innovation and poetry that makes the record a standout in the Beatle’s canon.

The movie, entertaining as it was, became an instruction manual for aspiring pop stars of the day on how to play, dress, and act. Richard Lester’s 1964 comedy turned out to be the touchstone for every music video that followed. Then, with the release of Rubber Soul, the Beatles created an artistic benchmark to which their peers measured their craft and creativity. Touring the world over two years, the band had grown up fast. Both musically and lyrically their new album represented a major leap. Upon hearing Rubber Soul, Bob Dylan allegedly remarked, “I get it, you’re not cute anymore.” Newsweek hailed the Beatles as “the Bards of Pop,” while critic Greil Marcus claimed Rubber Soul was “the best album they would ever make.”

A must-have for Fab Four devotees, This Bird Has Flown reaffirms Rubber Soul’s place as one of the most important rock ’n’ roll records of all time.

John Kruth speaks with OnMilwaukee

John Kruth, author of the book This Bird Has Flown: The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On, was interviewed by digital magazine On Milwaukee.  He spoke of his book and the album that inspired it. Read below to learn more!


00121941

While the world glorifies “Sgt. Pepper,” many die-hard Beatles fans credit 1965’s “Rubber Soul” for kicking off the Beatles’ experimental phase. Musician and author John Kruth explores why in his new book.

As we edge closer to the 50th anniversary of this transitional and important Beatles record, we caught up with Kruth – who is recording and gigging hard with his band TriBeCaStan (which just released a new CD, “Goddess Polka Dottess”) – to ask him about his new book and the record that inspired it.

OnMilwaukee: You’ve written a number of musical bios but they’ve focused on artists that I suspect you came to as an adult. But you write that the Beatles were your 4th grade passion. Was it different, in terms of inspiration and passion, to write about such a formative and early influence?

John Kruth: Rahsaan Roland Kirk was an influence on me to play flute as a 13-, 14-year-old teen. My sister’s cool boyfriend had those records, along with Herbie Mann, too.

But no one blew me away like the Beatles, having seen them on Ed Sullivan and growing up with them. Dylan and the Stones, too, of course, and I also loved Motown and Stax. Writing this book was different in some ways, in that it evoked nostalgia either for what was or how I might have liked life to have been!

OnMilwaukee:“Rubber Soul” is one of my two favorite Beatles records, in part because I’m a big fan of transitional records more than the “landmarks.” What drew you to it as a writer and a musician?

Kruth: Well you nailed it. It was the transition album! I also adore “Revolver” and a lot of people asked how did I decide to write about “Rubber Soul.” First of all this December 2015, will be the album’s 50th year anniversary – a frightening thought to many of us – so it’s a “timely” topic.

But “Rubber Soul” is so rich – the first time George uses the sitar – on “Norwegian Wood,” Paul employs jazz chords on “Michelle,” John evokes Weill and Brecht on “Girl,” Ringo sings country on “What Goes On” on the Brit pressing. Paul’s “I’ve Just Seen a Face” seemed to spell out I was everything I was searching for in a love relationship, overtly as romantic as it was. It’s such a great tune. I still play the song on guitar at home or for friends at parties from time to time.

Read the rest of the interview at OnMilwaukee.com!

Q & A with John Kruth

The following is an excerpt of an interview onMilwaukee.com did with John Kruth, author of Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison (Backbeat Books). Visit onMilwaukee.com to read the full interview.

Let’s talk some more about Orbison. Had anyone written a book about him before? If not, that seems almost hard to believe. If so, what did you aim to do differently?

This is the first time I’ve written a book about someone that has already had a book, in this case two, previously written about them. I don’t want to be a jerk but the first one I read was so poorly written that it actually inspired me to take up the mantle and set things right for the man. The second book, “Dark Star,” by Ellis Amburn is quite good. He’s a fine historian who wrote for Newsweek. But I felt he didn’t delve into the music the way I would have liked, which left an opening for me. Being a songwriter and a singer – and I say that in all humility in the same breath as mentioning Roy Orbison, I feel I have an unusual gift/ability to get to the core of what it’s all about, compared to someone who hasn’t had the experience of performing, arranging and living the music.

Did you learn anything that came as a surprise to you?

Surprises? How great and how lame some of the MGM tracks were. Check out the album “Hank Williams The Roy Orbison Way.” I’d never heard it before, and most of the musicians I interviewed didn’t even recall recording it. It’s wild. It sounds like a Lee Hazelwood/Nancy Sinatra production. They took Hank to Vegas with that one. But the story of his life fascinated me, the way he was able to overcome incredible tragedies and managed to continue creating in spite of the devastating cards that fate dealt him. Ultimately, Roy was a sonic alchemist who turned pain into beauty.

How much time did you spend writing the book?

Three years….

Keep reading this interview on onMilwaukee.com!

———————————————————————————————————

Orbison’s singing has inspired everyone who has heard it, from Springsteen to k. d. lang, and laid the very foundation for goth. While fascinating from a pop culture standpoint, it is Orbison’s life’s journey that makes a great story that has yet to be told to its fullest. Rhapsody in Black doesn’t shy away from or trivialize the personal pain, alienation, and tragic events that shaped Orbison’s singular personality and music. Roy Orbison wasn’t merely a singer but a sonic alchemist who, in the end, transformed unfathomable human misery into transcendent melody and platinum records. Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison contains new interviews with over 20 people who worked closely with Orbison throughout his life.

Hal Leonard at Book Expo America 2013

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at Book Expo last week! We had a successful show and a great time. Here are some highlights.

CSI

Party for our sales team at CSI in our booth

Kruth

John Kruth autographed his Roy Orbison biography, RHAPSODY IN BLACK. Here’s John wearing shades…Orbison-style!

Dave

Dave Thompson autographed DOCTOR WHO FAQ

FAQ

A nice display for our FAQ series

Ian

Ian Rusten stopped by and got a sneak peek at his BEACH BOYS IN CONCERT book coming out next month

shelf1

Nice display of all our forthcoming titles for Fall 2013!

 

Winners of our Raffles:

Family Tradition: Jill
Jimi Hendrix, The Ultimate Lyric Book: Alan
Treasures of Bruce Lee: Lynda
Les Miserables: Evan
Bob and Ray: Steve
Shell Shocked: Sharon
Congrats, everyone!

Q & A with John Kruth

credit: Paul Hoelen Mandarine Montgomery

 

John Kruth is the author of Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison (Backbeat Books). The following is part of a Q&A on MusicTomes.com. Please visit their site for the full interview.

 

 

 

You’ve previously written about the life and music of Townes Van Zandt and Roland Kirk, how did you come to choose Roy Orbison as your next subject?

I have pretty eclectic tastes and listen to all sorts of music from Don Cherry to George Jones to Ravi Shankar to Glenn Gould to Captain Beefheart…. but ultimately its passion for my subject when it all comes down to it. You better love your subject! Roy’s classic sides for Monument, to me, are some of the greatest records made in the last century from the way they were written, performed and recorded. Also the story of his life fascinated me, the way he overcame incredible tragedy and managed to continue creating in spite of the devastating cards that fate dealt him. Ultimately he was a sonic alchemist who turned pain into beauty.

Orbison’s widow, Barbara, has a notoriously tight-grip on all things Roy, and as you chronicle in the book, had a lot of control over Roy himself. Did this present any problems in your research or in contacting people who knew and worked with Orbison?

In my earlier 2 biographies I worked closely with both of the widows. I wish I could have spoken with Barbara but I was warned by a number of people that she would want to control the contents of the book. So I avoided any contact and just quietly forged on. There were a few people who declined interviews with me because the book is unauthorized. Sadly Barbara was ill and has since passed away. I was hoping that she might’ve liked my book and I could have interviewed her for the 2nd edition.

What did you run across in your research that surprised you?

Writing a biography is kind of like going out on a date with someone you really like but you don’t know all that well and the relationship is suddenly on the fast track and things are unfolding at an alarming rate. There are plenty of surprises, some set backs but you made the commitment. Perhaps it’s more like a shot-gun marriage – cause you gotta see it through at least until the baby arrives! Surprises? How great (and how lame) some of the MGM tracks were – check out the Hank Williams record that Roy made. I never heard it before, and most of the musicians don’t even recall recording it. Its wild, sounds like a Lee Hazelwood production.

Keep reading this interview on MusicTomes.com!

 

About the Book

Orbison’s singing has inspired everyone who has heard it, from Springsteen to k. d. lang, and laid the very foundation for goth. While fascinating from a pop culture standpoint, it is Orbison’s life’s journey that makes a great story that has yet to be told to its fullest. Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison doesn’t shy away from or trivialize the personal pain, alienation, and tragic events that shaped Orbison’s singular personality and music. Roy Orbison wasn’t merely a singer but a sonic alchemist who, in the end, transformed unfathomable human misery into transcendent melody and platinum records. Rhapsody in Black contains new interviews with over 20 people who worked closely with Orbison throughout his life.