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Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards: Memoirs of a Rock 'N' Roll Survivor Paperback – September 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Billboard Books; First Edition edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823082571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823082575
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
There are some very funny stories and some very sad ones.
D. Cashton
He even tells you when he is leaving stuff out instead of trying to rewrite history ... which, as he will tell you, he hates.
Judd6149
A great book about Al, the record business, and gives great insight into some of the key musical events/artists of our times.
Lee R. Toman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chuck Nyren on January 15, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
to buy this book, do so. It's a very funny, intelligent, brash autobiography by a true rock iconoclast.
Historically speaking, we all know the major influences of the middle-to-late sixties rock revolution - and nobody better personifies the link between the 'Brill Building' and what exploded musically and culturally back then.
Mr. Kooper presents himself as highly intelligent and rather dim-witted, super-talented and incompetent, ballsy and timid, humble and an egomaniac, sensitive and brutish, forgiving and revengeful -- sort of like a real human being! No whitewashing here. Plus, any rock star who pens his memoirs and makes a passing reference to Sven Nykvist with no footnote or explanation whatsoever gets five Amazon.com stars from me automatically.
So read the book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bottles on February 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I didn't know much about Al Kooper. I just like to read biographies. Who knew that this rock star had the rare ability to write an extraordinarily absorbing biography? Oh, and the trivia! Besides that now classic "Like a Rolling Stone" story, this guy had the gonads to play French Horn on "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Being a Horn player myself, that's practically impossible to imagine. Living vicariously through Al as he took risk after risk, freely admitting his failures along with his successes, was an inspiration to me. The only bummer is that the book had to end, but now I get to go discover more of this guy's music.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Fink on January 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
I must have read this book 4 or 5 times now and it's gotten to the point where I just leave it lying around the house, occasionally opening it to any page and reading from that point on. It's a cleverly written, hysterically funny account of Al's music biz shenanigans covering his entire career, a good 40 years. The bulk of the book deals with the first 15 years, up to 1972. Not just one story, more like several anecdotes strung together about name after familiar music artist name and what brought him together with these people, who ultimately come off as not too different from you or me from a human standpoint. The portions discussing crashing the fateful Bob Dylan session where they recorded "Like a Rolling Stone" is worth the price of the book alone. This is hands down my favorite rock and roll based book, regardless of writer or particular subject. It helps if you don't mind "hippie lingo" (and that's a pretty loose term; I didn't consider the lingo unusual until someone else picked up the book after me and mentioned it), but safe to say if you're a rock musician, you'll probably love it. I imagine anyone playing in a Boston band probably would love it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
Al Kooper seems to have managed to be in the right place at the right time on many, many occasions! This book brings you inside the music business and reveals it, warts and all. Chock full of incredible stories and extremely well-written, you almost feel as if you were there rubbing elbows with Bob Dylan, George Harrison and the Rolling Stones among many others. Don't miss this terrific, funny and very engaging book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lewis Rose on September 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
A terrific book about rock and roll in the 1960s and 1970s written by a musician who not only lived through it but also shaped the landscape. Kooper played with the best, including Mike Bloomfield, Stephen Stills, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stone, the Who, Joplin, BB King, and more. This book details Al's life in the music business and his insistence at putting the music ahead of commercial success. A true survivor. The books is well-written, funny and really interesting. A real page turner. Great gift for any rock and roller!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Music Man on July 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Al Kooper has been at the center of the rock music scene for thirty-plus years. He's been a songwriter, producer, sideman, bandleader, A&R man, Label head, talent scout, writer, etc. He is not a hanger-on, but a vital link in the chain. This book is an overview of his career from his own lips. After reading this book and getting to know him via the internet, my respect for the man and his achievements has grown by leaps and bounds. To put it bluntly, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a lesser place without Mr. Kooper as an inductee.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lee R. Toman on March 15, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book by a great artist! I have been a fan of Al's since the late 60's-I must have listened to Super Session over a hundred times. This book is very funny, revealing, and candid. Al pulls no punches and tells it like he saw it.
Always at the right place at the right time-or as he said it he had to be at every right place, every time! Whether it was sittin' in with Bob Dylan when Al was not even supposed to be in the studio or discovering Lynyrd Skynyrd; Al was there and made it happen.
A great book about Al, the record business, and gives great insight into some of the key musical events/artists of our times.
Thanks Al for all the great music and for this book that gives us all a glimpse into your eclectic, amazing career.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bill Jasso (bill.jasso@twcable.com) on November 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
Much more than the creator of The Blues Project; Blood,Sweat and Tears; and Super Session, the thread that is Al Kooper runs through most of the major events of rock-and-roll over the past thirty-plus years. "Backstage Passes..." is the chronicle of those times from the man who lived them (and survived them). Kooper's touch with a tune transfers well to the page, making for an insightful, humorous read. As a 20-year Kooper fan, I found mountains of "Gee, I didn't know..." material. Like: I didn't know about the Jonie Mitchell story. Didn't know how Stephen Stills wound up on Super Session, didn't appreciate the changing of the guard at B,S&T.
The world finally get an answer to the question: What do Judy Collins, Stephen King, B.B. King, Gary Lewis, Stevie Wonder, Rick Nelson, Jimmy Carter, Randy Travis, and George Harrison all have in common?
My advice: order "Backstage Passes...", and Kooper's 2-CD set "Soul of A Man" (both available from Amazon.com). Slide both discs in, crack this mutha of a book, and let Al take you for a rollercoaster-of-a-ride through the soul of rock. You'll love it...more than you'll ever know!
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