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Live Fast, Die Young: Misadventures in Rock & Roll America [Paperback]

Chris Price , Joe Harland
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 May 2010
Disappointed to learn that Hotel California isn’t actually in the phone book, radio producers Chris and Joe resolve to seek out the true spirit of rock and roll America. Roof down and stereo up, they drive coast to coast on a mission to ‘live the music’. They will sell their souls to the devil on the same crossroads as Robert Johnson, taste the loneliness of the ‘Wichita Lineman’ (and the fried peanut butter sandwich that finished off The King), hang out with the spirit of Johnny Cash in his own front room and, sitting on a jetty by an alligator-infested lake, sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to country-rock musician Gram Parsons. But first they must learn the ukulele, grow preposterous facial hair and fail to get into the Chateau Marmont with a rising popstar – and that’s just day one. It’s a tale of friendship tested to the limit, great melodies, perfect lyrics and noble myths.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale; First Edition edition (4 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849530491
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849530491
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Travel writer, columnist and programme maker Chris Price was born and raised in the English Home Counties. After studying Modern Languages at universities in the UK, France and Germany, Chris turned his back on Kant and Camus to become an award-winning BBC radio producer and later Music Director for MTV. He now divides his time between the US and his native United Kingdom.

Product Description


A thoroughly enjoyable ride through the American musical wilderness. It brings out the inner geek in every rock 'n' roll dreamer. (Zane Lowe, BBC Radio 1 )

 A book that shows how your obsessions can shape and change your life... Excellent. (James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers )

 A road trip like no other, inspired by rock 'n' roll and hugely entertaining. (Huw Stephens, Radio 1 )

'I howled myself silly. But like me, readers of Live Fast, Die Young will find their aching sides soothed by the heart-warming rhythms of mutual and musical harmony pulsing from two human hearts at their best.' Diann Blakely, National Book Critics Circle, Nashville Scene, Swampland

Among those rare volumes which are not only a joy sui generis, but also - and better yet - a joy to be shared by reading aloud. Mere satire is cheap, the blood in these pages is more authentic than any Nashville approximation of Americana.' Stanley Booth, The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones

About the Author

Chris Price has been shaping the popular music landscape for his entire career, as director of music for MTV and prior to that as an award-winning producer at Radio 1.

Joe Harland is also an award-winning radio producer, having previously been a film critic and football commentator.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gram - he ain't heavy... 14 Sep 2010
"Live Fast, Die Young - Misadventures in Rock and Roll America" is a square book with a round title. It won't surprise anyone that it contains drugs, death, Satan, Charles Manson, corpse burning, facial hair and a whiff of sex, but who could have foreseen that Price and Harland would also squeeze in the invention of Tippex, the difficulty of buying stamps in the States, the gruelling workflow and subterfuge of shared blogging and the Terms and Conditions of car rental contracts? These are two dudes with their encyclopedia turned up to 11.

I laughed... often where the authors intended me to; I cringed... often where the authors intended me to; I was impressed... often where the authors intended me to be.

4 stars, only because I can't find the way to 5 stars on this bloody map.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT JUST FOR GEEKS! 22 July 2010
I came to this book as a wary reader; as a 'rock 'n' roll innocent would I even understand what these two musical geeks were on about and thus be forced to abandon all hope of a good read? Well, far from it; more than pleasantly surprised and quickly hooked on finding out how the two were going to get along under the inevitable 'pressure cooker' environment of a road trip. The journey was so much more than the music, at times laugh out loud funny, at other times coming up with exquisite visual imagery, be it the Clarksdale Crossroads or the languid beauty of the quintessential southern city of Charleston. Read and, I defy you not to, enjoy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious 23 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not in the habit of writing poor reviews but fear I must in the case of this book.

The whole thing has the feel of,'We know the music business, let's take a few weeks away from our families etc, invent a spurious reason for writing a book about our trip around the US, show people what witty and amusing writers we are and, maybe, make a lot of dosh into the bargain'.

Well, it didn't do for me. It told me almost nothing about the US that I didn't already know. The revelation that many Americans eat lots of fried food and are fat may have surprised the authors but won't have shocked any of their readers. The attempts at wit are pitiful and formulaic, Harland's contributions being particularly impoverished in that regard. The whole thing was tedious from start to finish.

Price's enthusiasm for The Lemonheads, The Shins, Michael Nesmith, Emmylou Harris (and Gram Parsons and Billy Joel to a somewhat lesser extent) which I share, was the only pleasure I got during my time reading this tosh.
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By Inkwork
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Holiday reading on the go, I have just completed Ronnie Wood Biography, Tony Sanchez Up and Down with the Rolling Stones, and Marianne Faithfull Memories - so on to next book, LFDY. Having read a deal about Gram Parsons, and also a book on LA Music scene etc. was not disappointed, but the best thing about this book is the lol relationship between the two bickering and arguing like sulky school boys, plus the US backdrop - which makes you want to buy a ticket and hire a car and zoom off to Monument Valley. Humour abounds, wise cracks, lol observations 'turkey jerkey' 'got the kit but still full of sht' etc. A great holiday read, will cheer you up no end, and I am keeping it to revisit. Buy it - you will love it!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable! 11 April 2012
I picked this up at the library because it seemed like a good read from the cover, and I'm loving it! Feel like I'm on the road trip with them, it never gets boring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read Fast, Buy Fun ! 18 Feb 2012
Road trip document, rock n roll dream diary and a testament to a friendship forged in music but fed by so much more, Live Fast, Die Young... is the kind of book you devour in a sitting or two. It beautifully captures that feeling of wanting so much for someone you care about to connect with something that moves you, and the lengths two friends will go to share / translate the joy that their two very different musical vocabularies bring them. In the same way as Bill Bryson does, Chris and Joe make their journey seem magical, with their sense of wonder tempered by a very English sense of humour... and where much rock and roll writing can be either bewilderingly specific or a little little non-inclusive to the casual reader, the authors spread their net wide and talk about songs we all know (Wichita Lineman), artists we might not, but maybe should (Gram Parsons) and bands we couldn't avoid if we wanted to (Red Hot Chili Peppers), all without condescension or assuming prior knowledge.

It made me laugh out loud and want to listen to music; to jump in a car and just drive; to subsist on a carbs-only diet. And it moved me, too. If there'd just been some sex scenes, it would've been perfect. Actually, strike that... It was perfect reading for anyone interested in music and what it does to the heart and soul... Inspires a rather beautiful and very engaging madness, apparently. READ !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Felt Like I Was Along for the Ride 23 Jun 2011
What a fun book. I'm a total music freak and thoroughly enjoyed this rock and roll journey across America. Laughed out loud at times as I could see myself doing some of the same things.
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By Nanner
First of all, there's a little story that goes with this book. The two chappies who wrote this book have a blog titled Missing Parsons, dedicated to their love of music. They decided to have a sort of contest one day, which I found out through the official Gram Parsons fan page on Facebook. This contest entailed writing a note to Gram about how his music touched you, happy birthday to him, etc., and the notes would be put in the REAL guestbook in Room 8 at the Joshua Tree Inn where Gram died of an overdose. The best notes were then chosen, and those entries were given a copy of the book, and a Missing Parsons t-shirt.

Anyway, I totally won, and decided what the hell, they took the time to autograph it and whatnot, so I should read it. The book starts out with Chris and Joe introducing themselves; Chris is absolutely nuts about Gram Parsons, while Joe isn't. They both, however, are music nuts, since they met working at Radio 1 for the BBC. Oh yeah, they're English, so you have to read the book with an accent in your head. Or at least I did. Anyway, their crazy adventure started when Chris gave Joe a card for his 30th birthday with a scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on the front that simply said "Hero" inside. On Chris' birthday a couple of months later, Joe gave him a card that he made himself with Gram Parsons on the front. Inside, the card said "Heroin." Chris wasn't too thrilled.

But the cards sparked an idea: what if we went to all of these places that have to do with rock `n' roll? So, long story short, Chris and Joe decided to head over to America, rent a car, and then drive across the south, starting in Los Angeles.
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