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Number One Songs in Heaven [Paperback]

Dave Thompson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Aug 2009
The first ever biography of one of the most remarkable bands in rock history. Since the moment they emerged into the mainstream in 1974, armed with the hit ""This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us"", The Sparks - brothers Ron and Russell Mael - have endeared themselves to successive generations of fans, not only with their wry humour and quirkiness, but also with a lyrical and musical inventiveness that sees them listed among the most influential acts ever. Published to celebrate 40 years of this incredible act and 35 years of hits.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 500 pages
  • Publisher: CHERRY RED BOOKS (6 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1901447464
  • ISBN-13: 978-1901447460
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 461,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sparks now and then 13 Sep 2009
I first saw sparks in 1974 - 15th november at st georges hall Blackburn .They blew my mind as a 19 year old ,i loved the quirky unorthodox music ,i loved the lyrics and obviously Russells voice - and of course Rons intimedatory stance .The Music is totally disimilar to groups such as Mud ,showaddywaddy ,sweet,of that era .Sparks stood out on their own and still do .The book no 1 song in heaven by Dave thompson is an excellent read with clippings and pics of the maels throughout their 30 year plus career .I cant believe that Russ is 61 and ron is 64 they still treat us "sparkatoons "to a highly kinetic ,emotional and exuberant show at the London forum.The book looks the never-ending struggle to get a record produced together with trying to get a group together that stays together without altering the focus of the music .X Factor can give a quick and easy stoll for a singer/ group to success and stardom immediatly in todays world ;but not in the 70s/80s/90s well still not now.Sparks wanted to climb the ladder to success [and did] and the road to recognition through hard work , integrity ,love and a discreet passion for the unusual in response to the alter view of what can be deemed as the "buying public" .That buying public were /are the nucleus behind the record companies as "money", those companies dont have time for "different ideas/the unusual"neither do some of the radio Djs in their "ivory towers" playing God with artists who are required to be subserviant to the airplay God . Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maelstrom 18 Nov 2009
I became aware of Sparks with the Beat The Clock single and the No 1 Song In Heaven album in 1979.
Through friends I worked my way back to earlier albums like Kimono and Propaganda. I adored those albums, listening while poring over the lyric sheets and trying to grasp what it all meant (my English wasn't so good then). Of course the musical mael-strom (no pun intended) was the real highlight. A tapestry of layered maniacal pianoplaying, soaring guitarriffs and Russell's absolutely unique angelic voice.
After that I always kept an eye open for new work of the brothers. Every album of the 80's had at least one or two outstanding tracks and memorable singles. Albumwise I think they gained a fresh breath during the mid 90's, culminating finally in the last 3 fenomenal "orchestral" albums.
During all those decades I read the occasional interview, a snippet here or there, but my knowledge of the band was practically nil.
This book is what I really needed. The attention to historic detail of the Sparks-saga is really impressive. Dave Thompson did a great job. He fills in nicely the (huge) gaps in what I knew of Sparks. His story flows smoothly from year to year and describes effortlessly the atmosphere and music scene in early 70's London and early 80's LA. He also puts everything in the correct historical context.
What also becomes clear is that Ron and Russell were always very determined in what they wanted to achieve. Behind the quirkiness and daft humour are two guys who apparently could be ruthless (towards other band members) in following their musical and artistic vision.
The one thing I miss in this biography are more stories behind the songs and what inspired them. The fact that Sparks are quite secretive (to put it mildly) about their private lives doesn't help of course.
Anyway, this book is highly readable and I definitely recommend it to every devoted Sparks-fan. Also check out the discography at the end !
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sparks. From the very first time I saw them on TOTP in 1974, they have been my first true musical love. I got their singles, albums, I became a member of the Fan Club in 1975. However, they seemed to disappear in the manner of most Seventies acts from the glam era, although they did pop up at the end of that decade and halfway through the Nineties. There was no doubt I would buy this bio, which is a very good read, detailing how two brothers from Los Angeles made their mark on popular culture. Let`s face it, if you are a certain age you will remember them, with their totally unique sound and image. But it is the music that trapped me way back then and this book covers their many musical variations over the decades.
If you are a fan, buy this. It is a nostalgic trawl through the careers of the finest singer/songwriters ever. And I am biased. You will discover how they were popular in many countries over many years. The book has plenty of pictures and cut-outs from pop/rock magazines, with loads of interviews, including many band members, past and present. Buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SPARKS Number One Songs in Heaven 8 Mar 2010
By 12stringbassist VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a huge Sparks fan ever since their first Top Of The Pops appearance and this is a great book. It gives a very full career overview of a rather reclusive pair of brothers who create some of the most challenging and imaginative music ever made.

You want to know what activity went on around the time of a certain album? It's here, with interviews with most of the principal players from Sparks and close associates of the band. Stories are told honestly and I learned a lot from this book.

One thing it doesn't do is give you any detail of their personal lives. The Maels have always kept their private lives completely private and I applaud that fully. They are "our property" when they are onstage, but not off the stage.

To know more about Sparks, I suggest that you buy this book and all of their albums!
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