It’s been a slow month on the reading front. Let’s chock that up to one bad book buying decision. This month, we learn about Presidential election coverage and the man who was once, arguably, the most powerful force in music.
Election Night: A Television History 1948-2012 by Stephen Battaglio-250 pages
False advertising! I was browsing through IBooks looking for something to read when I came across this title.It certainly sounds interesting- the history of election night TV coverage through the past 6 and a half decades. But, what I didn’t notice (and that’s my fault) is that this book was published by NBC news, so it was really just a 250 page ad for the historical greatness of their organization. In other words, it’s pure propaganda. And it’s boring propaganda to boot. This was a very superficial look at election coverage with very little behind the scenes information. I already know about the Presidential elections.
There were some positives, though. This was the first book I’ve ever read that was published solely as an e-book. That means each chapter included video clips from various election nights: speeches from candidates, reporters on location from campaign headquarters, shots of the NBC anchors revealing results. So, that was cool.
Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out by Bill Graham-608 pages
There’s an Allman Brothers album called “At Fillmore East.” It ends with a 23 minute version of Whipping Post. It’s one of the first live albums I ever owned and my father was at one of the 1971 concerts where it was recorded. So, the Fillmore theaters and Bill Graham, who owned them, have always held something of a legendary status in my mind. That being said, I had no idea that this book existed until a friend at work mentioned that she had read it many years ago.
Formatically, it’s very odd. It’s an autobiography written as an oral history with Graham and other people offering their memories of key events in his life. I was ready for a rock book. I wanted stories about the Dead and Jefferson Airplane and the Rolling Stones. But the book opens in pre-war Europe, with the harrowing tale of Graham and his sisters escaping from the holocaust and making their ways through Europe separately before miraculously reuniting years later. It’s an absolutely amazing story. And yet, the whole time, all I could think was.. “I want stories about Janis Joplin!” I’ll admit, tt’s not my finest moment. But, eventually I got to the rock stories and they were great.