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There Will Be Rainbows: A Biography of Rufus Wainwright: And the Story of Loudon Wainwright and Kate McGarrigle [Paperback]

Kirk Lake
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 April 2010

"Rufus Wainwright is the greatest songwriter on the planet" - Elton John

Rufus Wainwright's work mixes innovation and tradition like no other contemporary pop performer. His private life, which, by choice or otherwise, he has lived in public, is equally incredible -- and in its own, sometimes peculiar, often exaggerated way, has encompassed all three of the clichéd tenets of the popular artist (sex, drugs and rock n roll).

In seeking to explain how the artist works and where his place lies in a great tradition, Kirk Lake enters into the diverse worlds of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, opera, gay liberation, Canadian folk, neo-Conservatism, drug addiction and Hollywood musicals. He follows Wainwright's journey (from Van Dyke Parks, to rehab, to Carnegie Hall), and talks to those who have orbited close to Wainwright. Rufus Wainwright: A Biography is an intelligent, critical piece of music writing that befits the integrity and complexity of the artist's work while fully embracing the self-deprecating humour and flamboyance that embodies Rufus Wainwright, the person.

Frequently Bought Together

There Will Be Rainbows: A Biography of Rufus Wainwright: And the Story of Loudon Wainwright and Kate McGarrigle + Rufus Wainwright - All I Want [DVD] [2005] + Out Of The Game
Price For All Three: 18.80

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (29 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409103420
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409103424
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 397,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kirk Lake is a writer, musician and screenwriter. He released a series of albums and EPs during the 1990s as well as the cult neo-noir novel Never Hit The Ground. Recent work includes the screenplay for the award-winning feature film "Piercing Brightness" and the novel "Mickey The Mimic" which was listed in the Mail On Sunday's Books of the Year for 2013. Further information can be found at

Product Description


"an informative and intriguing portrait of a fascinating artist, and the family who made him" (MONTREAL GAZETTE)

"this biography, like Wainwrights best music, is orchestrated to perfection" (RECORD COLLECTOR) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The first ever biography of one of the most fascinating singers to have appeared in the last 50 years.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough 21 July 2009
I completely disagree with Mozfan. The reason that this book works so well is because it does take the time to explain where Rufus came from and the situation with his family. It's impossible to really appreciate how Rufus's attitude and music came to be without knowing about his family. And when you discover just how competitive they all are it becomes an even more interesting story. I also liked the way that the author took the time to explain non-musical events such as the rise of AIDS in the 1980s when Rufus was in his teens and how it affected that generation of teenagers. I don't read many music biographies as I generally find them trivial but this book was well researched and entertainingly written and understood that it is important to put artists of any kind into context with their peers and predecessors. This book was obviously published before Rufus's new opera was performed and it would have been interesting to read about that.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for the Loudon material alone... 27 May 2009
I bought this as a used book from my local Oxfam bookshop (it still had the press release in it). If I hadn't been able to browse it I probably wouldn't have bought it as I am not a huge Rufus Wainwright fan. However I am a massive Loudon Wainwright fan. The publishers have missed a trick here. The cover should make it clear it is about the whole family not just Rufus. The book tells their whole story from the 1960s New York coffee bar scene right up to the present day. It also includes Loudon's wife Kate and her sister Anna McGarrigle (also very important folk musicians). It's an interesting read with some wonderfully odd footnotes that link all kinds of things you wouldn't have thought were connected. And it actually made me want to go and buy some Rufus Wainwright albums. Like the Barney Hoskyns Tom Waits book (see my earlier review) this suffers a little bit from not having any new interviews with the main stars (which is why I rate it 4 stars not 5)but there are plenty of other interviews such as the director of a film that Rufus was in as a child. To me at least it was full of stuff that I didn't know and painted a vivid portrait of an unusual and extremely talented musical family.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History of a musical family 23 Aug 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I confess that of all the McGarrigle and Wainwright clan, it is Rufus that I find it most difficult to warm to. As a follower of his parents, I suppose Rufus was always there, but it was only with the publication of 'Release the Stars' that I became a fan. I like this book, but do feel that the title needs changing. To my delight I found a history of the whole family and some insightful, often harsh, appraisals of their recordings. Having said that, when it comes to Kate and Anna my critical faculties just don't exist, but he did make me re-evaluate 'The McGarrigle Hour' favourably. It was good to read a book that treated their music with respect. It is an ongoing story, I would have welcomed some background on the Mittenstrings. Good book ...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic biography of Rufus and family 30 Jun 2010
By Margy
I've bought it twice now, once for me and once for a friend, we are both big fans. Unmissable reading for Wainwright and McGarrigle fans!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Rufus you will love this book 11 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a real insight to Rufus, his family and the world that made him the wonderful artist he is today, don't hesitate.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars over the rainbow? 9 Aug 2009
Very interesting read though not really a biog of Rufus Wainwright - more a family history. And for those of us who have seen the interviews or read the newspaper articles that the author is basing his book around there are an alarming number of misquotes and inaccuracies in the text. That aside however, it is still worth a look if only to encourage the reader to go in search of the truth from a more direct source.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it's not just about Rufus 16 July 2009
I agree with Bob. I wondered about buying this because although I like Rufus I don't think he's the greatest singer in the world. In fact his voice is sometimes mediocre. I am, however, interested in the whole Wainwright/McGarrigle clan, so I was pleased when I saw that it's about much more than just Rufus. His sister Martha, mother Kate McGarrigle and father Loudon feature prominently and others such as Teddy Thompson make guest appearances.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Be wary
I thought this was fine because I'm interested in the wider family. If it's just Rufus you want to read about, you'll be disappointed. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Atomic Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Insight into the life of someone special
I am a great fan of Rufus - he is the best singer/songwriter in the world today. This book gives a good insight into his and his family history. Read more
Published 8 months ago by P. Archer
1.0 out of 5 stars I thought I ought to know something about this genre
It just confirmed my whole prejudice against this sort of junk. I cannot listen to this sort of noise and the giving of attention to this trash
Published 8 months ago by J. P. Metcalf
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for a fan
We are actually old fans of Loudon, his dad, whom we have seen a number of times in concert over the years. It was interesting to see things from Rufus' perspective. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Woodie
3.0 out of 5 stars Full Fat Spread a Little Thin
This is a book about musical ambition and the price it exacts, and Kirk explores that theme very ably by telling Rufus Wainright's life as a race which begins before he is even... Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2011 by Atar Hadari
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
There Will Be Rainbows: The Rufus Wainwright Story
If you want a biography of Rufus Wainwright that's as entertaining and charming as the lad himself, I suggest you ignore... Read more
Published on 20 July 2009 by MozFan
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story
I bought this to read on holiday but I had finished it after only two days. I am quite a new follower of Rufus so it was really interesting to read so much about his early life and... Read more
Published on 11 Jun 2009 by Tess Cooper
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