Book Review: “Rod: An Autobiography” by Rod Stewart

I found my copy of Rod: The Autobiography by Rod Stewart (or should I call him Sir Roderick David Stewart? Nah, I’m an American) on the discount rack at my local Barnes & Noble store for $6.98. The book was originally published in October 2012 and you can find a hardcover copy on Amazon for under $2.

After quickly thumbing through the index and seeing that The Beatles appear 8 times in this book, I decided to give it a go.  Also, according to the index, Lennon gets one mention, McCartney gets 5 mentions, Harrison gets 1, and Ringo zero. This would lead one to believe that since Rod was born in London in 1945, just two years after George Harrison and started his music career in the mid 1960’s, that he would talk of The Beatles early influence and his encounters with them along the way. But…one would be wrong to assume that. The Fab Four only get mentioned in passing in the ego-driven autobiography. Yeah, it’s his story, so that would make sense…but Rod takes it to a new extreme!

Let’s just say that the nickname Rod “The Mod” Stewart, is not short for “THE MODEST”! This book should be renamed to Rod: The Brag Book. Despite his attempts at admitting to the wrongs he’s done  throughout his life and career, in my eyes it came off more as a former frat boy’s locker room bragging about his drug fueled party days and the who’s who list of the women and Playboy models he’s bedded (he actually brags about cheating on one Playboy model with another Playboy model). As he gets older, he finds new and more awkward ways of making his readers cringe, like the Christmas dinner at his house in 2000 when all his baby mommas (seven kids by four different women) and ex-wives came over to cook! I guess this was the Stewart family version of Sister Wives….

Rod does try to dispel some of the rumors that have followed him throughout his career. The first two rumors I had never heard (but I’ve never been a huge Rod Stewart fan), but the last one was a huge one on my list of celebrity rumors that I had heard back in the late ’70s, early 80’s about him having his stomach pumped of A LOT of semen! Kudos to him for having the guts to bring this up, but I get the impression he enjoyed telling the story.

Rod Stewart fans are going to love this book…Beatles Freaks not so much as it seems to be a book about his sexual conquests, his hair and his model train collection! And let’s not forget his first big hit song, Maggie May! He’s going to remind you every other chapter that wrote the song Maggie May and it’s about losing his virginity. (In my best Jan Brady voice…) Maggie May! Maggie May! Maggie May! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!





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Book Review: “Octopus’s Garden” by Ringo Starr

From Wikipedia: “Octopus’s Garden” is a song by the Beatles written and sung by Ringo Starr (credited to his real name Richard Starkey) from the Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road.

Ringo Starr got the idea for his song Octopus’s Garden while vacationing on a yacht in the Mediterranean sea in 1968. The inspiration came when the captain of the ship told him that octopuses live in caves and that they like to collect shiny objects to decorate around the opening of the cave like a garden.

In 2014, Ringo Starr published a children’s book named after his song Octopus’s Garden. This 10″ x 11″ book is vibrantly colored and beautifully illustrated by Ben Cort. With only 24 pages, the lyrics guide the reader through an ocean adventure  with five children as they play in the fantasy garden of an octopus. The book also includes a CD with a greeting from Ringo, a new recording of the song, Ringo narrating the book (with a ‘ding’ to tell you when to turn the page) and an instrumental version of the title song.

As I said, the book is absolutely gorgeous and you’re going to wish it was longer. But it will be great for very small children and I can see where it would also be a fun book for playing “I Spy” with all the colorful objects in the octopus’s garden!  My first thought upon hearing Ringo’s greeting on the CD was “Ah! The little conductor man!” (for those that remember him in the TV show Thomas & Friends). But after that came my disappointment…Ringo had recorded a new (and not very good) version of Octopus’s Garden. When I consulted my Beatles expert friends about why he did this, they believe that even as a former Beatles the licensing cost to use the original song would have been to high to make a profit on this project. Still, I’m sure the children who hear the song won’t know the difference and will enjoy singing along like we all did at one time or another in our lives. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!






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Book Review: “The Love You Make” by Peter Brown

I sincerely apologize for not posting this review last week. In all my heart, I truly believed I was going to read this 437 page book in one weekend! Stupid me. Time got away from me and try as I might, I just couldn’t get it read for a review last weekend….so here it is.

The Love You Make – An Insiders Story of The Beatles by Peter Brown (and Steven Gaines) was first published in 1983. I stumbled across my copy at a book sale at a local library for just $2.50, but according to, they sell for over $10 each. The book was re-released and 2002 edition is available as a used book for as low as $0.01!

But enough of the crap…let’s get on with the review…

Peter Brown started out as salesman at NEMS when
Brian Epstein recruited him from another store across the street. When the Beatles came along, he took over managing NEMS in Brian’s absence, but was soon to follow Brian in working for the Fab Four. This is his story…

For all my fellow Beatles freaks, you may find a lot of the information in this book as ‘old news’ though there are quite a few instances of Peter saying, “…told for the first time here”. Obviously, after 34 years, his new stories have become common knowledge or have been debunked. There are also the usually tall tales like that of John Lennon being born during an air raid when all official government reports from Liverpool say that there was no air raid on October 9, 1940.

I was informed by a friend that Peter Brown caught a lot of flack for some of the stories he told in this book and that there was a sizable backlash. He tells the story of Brian and John’s holiday trip to Spain after the birth of John’s son Julian with details that I’ve never heard before reading this book. He talks of their sexual encounter that is different from the story told by John’s childhood friend Pete Shotton in his book. In fact, this book tells a great deal of many of the Beatles carnal activities all the way back to their pre-Hamburg days. There are also the stories of John and Yoko’s heroin addiction and the usual praising of Derek Taylor‘s drug and alcohol fueled work at Apple. Paul’s extracurricular activities while living with Jane Asher are also discussed.

The stories go on and on…I can’t even make a dent in them in this review. You’ll just have to read it for yourself. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!







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Bonus Book Review: “Red-Blooded American Male” by Robert Trachtenberg

This is another book I signed up to read for free in exchange for a review on Blogging For Books,

If you’re hosting a Girls Night Out, or want to present the hostess of one with a gift, this is the coffee table book for you! Just place it on your table and watch your girlfriends (or boyfriends if they’re in touch with their feminine side) enjoy the Red-Blooded American Male: Photographs by Robert TrachtenbergThis book is filled with the most gorgeous photos of the double X chromosomed Hollywood elite. You no longer will have to guess what Joel McHale looks like in a white towel or imagine Steven Colbert sewing an American flag. Brett Michaels as a Revolutionary soldier…Tommy Lee Jones arm wrestling Meryl Streep. Jerry Seinfeld. Elon Musk. Larry David.  They’re all in here looking their ab fab. This book makes me proud to be a red blooded American female!

I salute you Robert Trachtenberg! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!





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Book Review: “All You Need is Ears” by George Martin

There are a lot of authentic reasons why Sir George Martin is referred to as the 5th Beatle…and they’re all contained with the pages of his book, “All You Need Is Ears: The inside personal story of the genius who created The Beatles“. Published in 1979, this book is still a delight to read for any true fan of the Fab Four.

This isn’t a book that’s just about his time working with the Beatles and in the studio. It’s the story of George’s  life along with his thoughts on musical theory, recording and producing. He begins where we would expect George Martin to begin, with when he was born in 1926 and his early days growing up in war torn England and his time in the Fleet Air Army. He spends very little time talking about his private life except to make quick mentions of meeting and marrying his first wife Sheena, the birth of his kids Alexis and Gregory, he impending divorce, his marrying Judy and the birth of his third and fourth children – Lucy and Giles. He talks about his studio engineers more than his own family.

Where he gives an outstanding explanation of the mathematics behind chords (something I’ve heard of but never had it explained to me), at the other end of the spectrum, he gives a wordy and tedious chapter on the ins and outs of mono, stereo, four track, eight track, etc., recording. There is also a rather long and (and I think) unnecessary chapter on becoming a record producer in the 1970’s when the book was written. At times it almost felt like either he, his co-writer Jeremy Hornsby or his editor was attempting to add quantity between the cover pages only to sacrificed the quality. Though, I do know a few people who will find the technical mumbo jumbo very interesting.

For those looking for possibles hints as to why Sir George left his first two children out of his will when he passed away on March 8, 2016, you won’t find any answer in these pages. Even though the whole matter is really none of anyone’s business, the fact that it made headlines can’t help but make one wonder what went so terribly wrong that a man would exclude two of his flesh and blood from enjoying his wealth. I have personally talked with Greg Martin and he’s a lovely man. By day, he’s an actor, but in his spare time he’s a gifted astrologer. He did a live reading of my chart for me via Skype about 4 years ago and he was able to tell me things that did eventually come to be. (In fact, if anyone knows how to get a hold of him, please send him my way. I’d love to have him read for me again).

Anyway…I digress…

This book is a must read for any true Beatles fan, McCartney fan, Lennon fan, etc. He doesn’t pay a whole lot of mind to Ringo and George, but does spend a good deal of time telling of his interactions with Brian Epstein. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!






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Ladies and Gentlemen…Orion Freeman!

Morning Son by Orion Freeman

“Morning Son” – Orion Freeman

While I type, feel free to listen to the first song off of Orion Freeman’s new album. The song is calledFamily Treeand the album is calledMorning Son. I’m hoping you’re as moved by this singer/songwriter, poet and artist as I have been over the past 5+ years. I had plans to post about him in November 2016, but at the time he was on a real life journey in Peru, India, Nepal and Thailand for 6 months. Then when I heard there was a new album coming out, I waited…and it killed me to wait because I want everyone to know this guy’s name…Orion Freeman.

Orion Freeman (and Tom on the left) playing at Burlap and Bean – April 22, 2017

Last night, my husband and I went to a local coffee shop to see Orion Freeman perform. It was his CD release party for his second album, Morning Son, and he played to a capacity crowd (actually, I think the crowd went a few bodies over capacity, but I’m not going to tell). This was our second time seeing Orion play live. The first time was in December 22, 2011 when we went to an open mic night at Steel City Cafe in Phoenixville to hear our son’s band perform. Yeah…it’s been over 5 years, but you only have to hear Orion once and you’ll be hooked. That night he was playing on a guitar that had no pick guard, so Orion had put masking tape where the guard should be to protect the finish.

Download a copy of Divine Game by clicking on image.

A couple years passed, and Orion reappeared when he started a Kickstarter campaign to finance his first album “Divine Game“. I was ‘in like Flynn’ to help out and get my digital download and CD as soon as it came out! Oddly though, I set the CD aside and didn’t listen to it until last summer. I was blown away! Why? Oh why hadn’t I listened to this album sooner? That was the moment I knew I had to let the rest of the world know…Orion Freeman is a true poet and an amazing lyricist. He music is amazingly calming and transports you to a softer, gentler place in this mad, mad world we live it.

It’s hard to believe that an artist such as this can put out music as glorious as his soulful folk pop and still not be recognized by the big wigs in the music industry. Where are the radio jocks and music media personnel that used to all claim that they’re the people that make and break new artists? Is the music industry now run like our government with thousands of lobbyists from the major record companies buying their multimillionaire lip sync-ers radio time? Fuck that! People…it’s our job as Americans to take back our radio and media and let them know what we want to listen to! And I want to hear Orion Freeman! Get your copy of his new album “Morning Son” on Monday, April 24th here.

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Book Review: “Touch the Earth” by Julian Lennon

Imagine my surprise when a book I ordered from Amazon showed up last week with my pre-order for Julian Lennon‘s new children’s book – Touch the EarthAmazon still says the release date is April 11th…so I’m not sure why I got my so soon. But, I’m not going to complain and my granddaughters paid me a visit a couple days later so I was able to read it to them.

This is a beautiful book with amazing artwork and an environmental theme that we can all relate to these days. Julian sets out to teach young children about the need to clean, safe drinking water all over the world, whether it’s for plants, animals or humans. The reader takes a trip around the world via a plane called the White Feather Flier. They help by pressing a small button on each page and tilting the book in the direction the plane needs to go to provide the necessary elements for clean, safe water.

Calla and me enjoying Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon

I so wanted to really be impressed with this book, but though the story is good and teach children well, the concept of pushing buttons and tilting the book just doesn’t fly in the virtual world we live in today. The book would absolutely rock as a computer or phone app for children to play.

Now don’t get me wrong. I plan on giving my copy to my granddaughters….BUT, I did ordered a signed copy from Premier Collections for $20 (they also say the book won’t be released until April 11th). I plan on keeping a pristine copy on my bookshelf all for myself because I have always adored Julian and will always support him and the White Feather Foundation (a portion of the proceeds from this book go to the foundation).

Sorry Julian…but please move to the obvious next step and create a computer version of this terrific story. You’ll go far with it! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!




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