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Telling Stories [Paperback]

Tim Burgess
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

26 April 2012

Telling Stories by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans is one of the decade's most revealing rock books

'Clear, honest. An unusually frank and well-written rock memoir' The Times

The Charlatans. Madchester. Britpop. Taking on the world. Here are the highs, the lows, the joys, the agonies, and the stories of what it's like to be in a rock band, as told by front man and survivor, Tim Burgess.

'Like the best bits of every cautionary rock star tale . . . there is armed robbery and smuggling. There's serious fraud. There are near and actual death experiences, divorce, industrial cocaine consumption and magnificent cameos from Madonna, Alan McGee, Ronnie Wood, Joe Strummer, LA drug dealer Harry The Dog, and Joaquin Phoenix. A minor classic' Q

For readers who enjoyed Life by Keith Richards and Bit of a Blur by Alex James, Telling Stories is one of the finest music books of recent times. It's a story of achievement and survival, from London to LA.

'A vivid read' Independent on Sunday

'The Charlatans' frontman recalls the heyday of Britpop and Madchester with endearing exuberance. He's unflinchingly honest about the bad times but also peppers his story with anecdotal nuggets about the pitfalls of rock 'n' roll excess' Metro

'Burgess keeps a level head, a sharp eye and a nice turn of phrase' Independent

'Written with the stylish flow of a novel - light and dark, hilarious and melancholic' Emma Forrest

'For a man whose behaviour borders on the suicidal, Timothy Burgess, the people's friend, is what you call a life enthusiast. He is also mad. It's a much-abused word, mad . . . but he really is proper coo-ee clouds pan-dimensional mad mad' Syliva Patteerson, Sky

Tim Burgess was born in Salford but grew up in a village near Northwich, Cheshire. Leaving school at 16 to work at ICI, his real love was music and soon afterwards he was invited to join new band The Charlatans. For twelve years Burgess lived in Los Angeles but he has recently returned to the UK.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1st edition (26 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670921289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670921287
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Unusually frank and well written (Will Hodgkinson The Times)

Like the best bits of every other cautionary rock-star tale ... a minor classic in the cluttered, sometimes uninspiring rock-star autobiography field (Ted Kessler Q magazine)

Tim Burgess recalls the heydey of Britpop and Madchester with endearing exuberance. He's unflinchingly honest about the bad times ... but he also peppers his story with anecdotal nuggets about the pitfalls of rock 'n' excess (Metro)

Despite his success Burgess' tone is humble throughout. He seems in no doubt as to how lucky he is and is more than happy to share his excitement and wonder at the mad life he has led thus far. This is no cut and paste memoir (LoudandQuiet)

About the Author

Tim Burgess was born in Salford in 1967 and grew up in Northwich, Cheshire. He is the lead singer of the indie rock band The Charlatans. He is well-known as a DJ, and also curated the 2009 Isle of Wight Festival. When not touring with the band, he lives in north London - having just returned from living in LA for ten years.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totes amazeballs 13 May 2012
I have to admit i was pleasantly surprised (sorry Tim). Not a fan of the memoir, I often find them stale and lifeless. This couldn't have been anymore different, i loved every single word! It was funny, genuine, charming and ever so slightly erratic!

Having been a fan of the charlatans for seventeen years i loved learning the inside story of the bands beginnings. Tim's enthusiasm for music is clear, I found it endearing and reading the book has introduced me to stuff I'd never heard before and is now firmly on my play list.

I could hear Tim's voice telling his story as i read, leaving me in no doubt that these were his words and no-one else's. I read the entire book in one sitting (with toilet breaks) i just couldnt put it down. By far my favourite book in ages.

Everyone should read this book, charlatans fan (who isn't and why?) or not.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Dead Good 9 May 2012
By Claire
The Charlatans have been a constant, musically, for me since the release of 'Some Friendly'. Along with the Stone Roses they sound tracked my teenage years. Since then I have remained a fan of the band as well as Tim's solo stuff but never really felt as though I knew that much about them. In some ways it was a refreshing change at the time especially during the Gallagher years.
I've read a few music autobiographies, but none so far have had the soul of Tellin Stories. There is no vanity in his writing and he doesn't seem to try to gloss over anything. Tim knows his music that's clear and his recollections of the Hacienda and the Manchester scene were especially interesting to me as someone who would have loved to have been part of it but was,probably a bit young. The book doesn't follow a rigid chronological order but I liked that, Tim clearly has the knack of this writing business and should try it again soon. I cannot recommend highly enough. Thanks Tim, I feel as though I know my favourite band just that little bit better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad 17 Jun 2013
By T-bas
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Can't say I learnt anything much, there's not really a great deal of personal information in this book. It's a bit repetitive and weaves back and forth through time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only half way to the stars 11 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A well written book and one that is not overly self indulgent however there are half stories and little snippets of pop/rock history that would be better expanded upon.

A good holiday read and one that made me dig out all my old Charlatans stuff and then seek out Tim Burgess on the internet to see what he's up to now. A true sign that the book didn't really cover the bases.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anecdotal 2 April 2013
By A. Chan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I am the same age as Tim Burgess and grew up in the same town of Northwich, and moved in the same circles...

For me, it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane in a lot of respects, although the book isn't in any kind of chronological order, and doesn't touch on his earlier life pre entering the music industry. It was written as I would imagine Tim speaks... extremely anecdotal, rather than autobiographical, jumping from one memory to another in no particular order (probably, in the order that Tim recalled them...) with very little back story to elaborate on the facts as he remembered them. Also quite self congratulatory in parts; "did I say that was an awesome album" and "we were the best group in the world" on several occasions which was starting to get quite tedious. I remember The Charlatans as being a good band within a genre... that is all though.

I did enjoy this book, it was an easy read and I polished it off in just over a day. Recommended for anyone who likes The Charlatans or music of this genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tim Burgess 23 Mar 2013
By Jojo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Tim Burgess and this book is a surprise. I wouldn't say it was all sex, drugs and rock and roll like I expected it to be. It's a good insight into a decent bloke's like. It made me like him even more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this autobiography and I read it really quickly. I am a huge fan of everything Brit Pop although not particularly the Charlatans, I just think Tim Burgess is a fascinating character! My main issue is that it does not actually give you much insight into his life. He chronicles events and albums and tours but other than a lot about drug taking I don't think you really get the nitty gritty as it were. I would have enjoyed hearing more about his personal relationships with his family, band members and Wife/Girlfriends. These end up just being sort of peripheral to his music and drug taking. But then I wasn't there, maybe his relationships literally were peripheral to his drug taking! But still I wanted more meat and feeling. I felt like it was more an account of what happened as oppose to an explanation, so I feel a bit short changed as it was not very revealing! However if you love this era and music it's not a long book and it does have interesting moments!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story worth telling 11 Jan 2013
As with most people who read this book I am a long standing fan of The Charlatans and of Tim's music.
It was great to read about Tim's earlier life, his passion for music from an early age and how he sought out the bands of his generation to learn more about and immerse himself in their music.
The ease with which he moved into the more seedy side of rock and roll life is told well and compellingly. Tim is an engaging character who has always given huge amounts back to his fans, especially giving of his own time in connecting with fans.
Tim is likeable, engaging guy and is open and honest about the times when he probably hasn't been a great person to be around and the very obvious reasons for this. I like the way he dismissed the unluckiest band in the world tag. Losing a great friend shouldn't be labelled unlucky.
Track by track reviews of Some Friendly and You Cross my Path are worked in well, though I would have loved this for Tellin'Stories as well.
I've picked up some new music to listen to and a greater understanding of the journey he's been through. My only criticism is that some of the story is covered to quickly, the rise to success left me wanting more particularly.
Overall I really enjoyed the book, The Charlatans fans will love it and any music fan will get enough out of it to be well worth the read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful memoir
Tim Burgess, lead singer and frontman with The Charlatans, has lead a life immersed in music.

I was particularly interested to read Telling Stories because The... Read more
Published 5 months ago by K. L. Beeden
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlatan lovers dream
Great book. Would highly recommend this to any Charlatans fan....or anybody! Tim tells this story so well you almost feel like you were there too. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Shar1978
4.0 out of 5 stars christmas gift
this item was bought as a christmas present for my son in law. He really enjoyed it and although its doing the family rounds, I hope to read it soon.
Published 13 months ago by granitecitygal
4.0 out of 5 stars underated legend.
Been a fan of the Charlatans since the early 90s, so this was a must read. I was shook by the news that Rob Collins had died, having found out on my birthday, so I wanted to know... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mostyn6
5.0 out of 5 stars An charming account of a life lived through music
I always liked the Charlatans but never quite placed them correctly - this book shows how they straddled the baggy era and Britpop with a nod to each but a style of their own, and... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Matt N
4.0 out of 5 stars A musical gentleman
What a surprising musician Tim Burgess is. Maybe I should not be surprised as I did meet him in a pub once and he was very friendly. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Graham Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun & Sad
A conversational style drives this freewheeling story that captures real life in rock n roll madness, a quite excellent bio.
Published 15 months ago by Mr. L. O'sullivan
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