Name your fave rock bio – and why: competition winners

So, to the winner of my competition, where I asked you to name your fave rock bio and state why, in less than 50 words, and win a signed copy of either my Smiths, R.E.M. or Keith Moon biographies. The competition was promoted via Twitter and Facebook, with the majority of responses being posted here at, as a result of Twitter links. (To be honest, I was disappointed by the lack of response on Facebook, perhaps confirming that the medium doesn’t generate any deeper a quality of conversation than 140-character Twitter.)

I had been very specific that the books had to be biographies, not memoirs/autobiographies or social/genre studies (the chance will come for those), and I was looking for some level of written justification for the choice. That left me with seven good entries, split evenly between books I have read and books I have not, and between people I know personally and people I do not. I decided not to let my own judgment of the books in question get in the way, and so as to avoid any other perception of favoritism, I assigned each of the seven people a number and had my son draw the winner from a shuffled pack of cards. We filmed the process just in case – and I’m glad that we did, as the winner happens to be AFC Baggy, one of the people I know personally. Over on Facebook, Baggy offered a suitably succinct summary of Andrew Collins’ Billy Bragg: Still Suitable For Miners, as follows:

“Bragg’s a legend and a major influence on me (and should be on everyone). Collins writes like he’s known you for years (Read his own autobiographies). Therefore you get to know Billy as if you’ve always known him – which if you read his lyrics, you have. Go read – and learn.”

Anyone doubts the process, I’ll post the video. But I hope that won’t be necessary. Congrats to Baggy. Of the other six entries I considered suitable finalists, the book I can most greatly endorse based on my own reading experience is He’s A Rebel (Phil Spector) by Mark Ribowsky, recommended by Stacy Fine

“because it is well written, fact based and sensible. No character assassination. Ribowsky describes Spector’s relationships, studio sessions, conflicts and Phil’s character so well that the reader is right with him (the author). It’s also unpretentious/non-sensational.”


Thanks to all who took part – and commiserations to the runners-up. Look for another competition soon enough.

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November 2021