Book review of ‘The Girl in the Song: The True Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics’

Michael Heatley & Frank Hopkinson
The Girl in the Song: The True Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics
Chicago Review Press, 144 pages, $14.95

By Susan Sliwicki

The Girl In The Song The True Stories Behind 50 Rock ClassicsEverybody loves to know the stories behind the songs, and “The Girl In The Song: The True Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics” spills the beans in a way that’s both entertaining and informative.

A small, slim volume (7-3/4″ x 5-3/8″x 1/2″), “The Girl In The Song” is divided into individual stories by song — a perfect size to tuck into a backpack, purse or carry-on to enjoy when you’re traveling by train, plane or automobile. And, if you do get interrupted while reading it, the individual-essay format makes it easy to go back and pick up where you left off  without feeling like you’ve lost the momentum of the book.

Best of all, though, are the stories, which are accompanied by a variety of photos and a brief artist spotlight at the end of each essay. From Dory Previn’s “Beware of Young Girls” (spoiler alert: It disses the Mia Farrow, the “other woman” in Previn’s marriage) to Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” the essays cover a broad range of artists and their subjects. Sme adored (Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue,” The Hollies’ “Carrie Anne” and Ritchie Valens’ “Donna”), some despised and some just plain curious (“Miss Amanda Jones” and The Kinks’ “Lola”). Most essays feature excerpts of lyrics, or at least a quote or two.

“The Girl Behind The Song” is a must-read for trivia buffs and those who love to dissect lyrics. For anyone else, it’s simply a fun read.

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