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Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton's Little John?: Music's Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed Paperback – 1 Dec 2006

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Did you ever have to make up your mind? Let Gavin make it for you. 16 Aug. 2006
By Christopher Molanphy - Published on
Format: Paperback
Can a book be both shaggy and specific?

Oymoronic, perhaps, but somehow - call it a gift, a calling, or maybe just dementia - Gavin Edwards produces the greatest Shaggy Specific rock-trivia book of all time with Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton's Little John? You could imagine a more comprehensive book of rock trivia, but you couldn't possibly create one that's more fun to read.

Edwards's book is exceptional, in part, for what it doesn't do: offer an exhaustive listing of every trivia nugget in rock history. Instead, Edwards (former writer of the "Rolling Stone Knows" trivia column) chooses 150 of rock's most burning questions - from "Did Jim Morrison really whip it out in Florida?" to "Did the Darkness have to pay Neil Diamond royalty fees for using his line, 'touching you, touching me'?" - and answers them, breezily but completely. Along the way, he debunks numerous myths, offering solid evidence and picking apart apocrypha spread by credulous rock fans for decades. (Preview: the Zeppelin groupie story about a famous fish has less to do with Zeppelin than you'd guess.)

Edwards also understands that to most people, "trivia" includes debate-worthy questions and pure conjecture: things that don't have solid answers. And, bravely, he takes a flyer on them. The question of Ringo Starr's overratedness as a drummer is purely subjective, and Edwards admits as much but provides a remarkably well-argued answer in a short amount of space. The rumor that Kurt Cobain wrote most, all or none of his widow Courtney Love's biggest album can't be settled absolutely, but Edwards stitches together a raft of evidence to arrive at the most plausible answer I've yet read.

I don't call this book "shaggy-specific" just because rock is the shaggiest of art forms and trivia demands specificity. It also describes Edwards himself, a writer for Rolling Stone (and other mags) who's interviewed scores of famous people and, therefore, has both great shaggy-dog stories to tell and a wealth of precise knowledge and primary sources. He often refers to direct conversations with the likes of Cobain, Phil Spector and James Brown to back up his points. You get the sense that Edwards wrote this book in part as a valedictory look back at his career as a rock/celebrity journalist. That would be annoying if the result weren't so entertaining, smart and rewarding - especially to those who value the authoritative answer. If you've ever wanted the rock-book equivalent of the Woody Allen Annie Hall fantasy sequence where the Woodman pulls in an indisputable expert (philosopher Marshall McLuhan) to settle an argument, Edwards is that expert and Elton's Little John is that book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Must-Have for Rock Music Fans 28 Sept. 2006
By Staci L. Wilson - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've read quite a few rock books, and trivia books, and some rock trivia books (Rock Stars Do The Dumbest Things, is one that comes to mind), but nothing quite like this. It's by far the best on the subject, as it's written playfully and irreverently, yet you can see that Gavin Edwards takes the subject seriously and really explores his answers and does his research. I liked getting a sense of the author's personality coming though, not a "just the facts ma'am" type of trivia book. Another great thing about Music's Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed is that Edwards covers rock music trivia from the early blues, to present-day rap and alternative. A very comprehensive tome indeed, and great fun to read! Highly recommended.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Fun Trivia 7 Sept. 2007
By Jeffery L. Voyles - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book turned out much better than I expected. There's all kind of rumors you've heard about rock history that are addressed here. Some are true, some are not and some are half true. I actually started reading this and didn't put it down until I was finished. That's very unusual for me. One example of the types of rumors discussed is as to whether the couple who make up the White Stripes are brother and sister of husband and wife. Doe's lead Zeppelin's song Ramble On refer to characters from the lord of the rings and can you hear the screams of a woman being murdered in the studio on the song Roller Coaster.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Read it! 23 Aug. 2014
By JT Mack - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting stories & facts that covers a wide range of genres & decades. Good bathroom reading material.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The only problem is its not long enough 7 Jan. 2013
By SKwordplay - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love music history and trivia. THis is a great easy read. Really enjoying it. I might even read it twice.
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