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Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story (Music in American Life) Paperback – January 19, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Music in American Life
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (January 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 025207842X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252078422
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

 
"Incorporating published accounts, interviews, and personal insights, this balanced book is important in keeping the memory of a chart-topping country artist alive and in putting the country music scene of the period into perspective. Recommended."--Library Journal
 
"Finally someone's written the story of Faron Young's life, one of country music's most colorful characters."--Nashville Musician


 

 

"His is a rich story, spanning the golden age of honky-tonk, women, liquor, ruin and glory, and no small entrepreneurial spirit. . . . Diekman is scrupulous and meticulous in her assemblage of details. . . . Young's family and surviving friends seem to have given her ready access and unflinching honesty."--No Depression
 
"Diane Diekman . . . takes us on a journey from his early life, through the recording successes, the failed marriage, the career downturn, the depression and, finally, to that fateful night . . . when he put the pistol to his head."--Country Music People


 

"Live Fast, Love Hard,  a sobering account of the Singing Sheriff's roller-coaster life that ended with his 1996 suicide, tells the tale of two Youngs: one, a talented, flamboyant performer and charitable man who helped the community and struggling songwriters like Willie Nelson and Bill Anderson, and who helped country music by founding the long-running periodical Music City News; the other, a raging alcoholic and jealous husband with an explosive temper, whose addiction and poor self image . . . led him to abuse and cheat on his wife, and verbally abuse his children, band members, and friends when he was drinking. . . . Diane Diekman . . . provides readers a rare glimpse inside the tumultuous life of this talented and troubled musician."--Dirty Linen

Book Description

As one of the best-known honky tonkers to appear in the wake of Hank Williams’s death, Faron Young was a popular presence on Nashville’s music scene for more than four decades. The Singing Sheriff produced a string of Top Ten hits, placed over eighty songs on the country music charts, and founded the long-running country music periodical Music City News in 1963. Flamboyant, impulsive, and generous, he helped and encouraged a new generation of talented songwriter-performers that included Willie Nelson and Bill Anderson. In 2000, four years after his untimely death, Faron was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

 

Presenting the first detailed portrayal of this lively and unpredictable country music star, Diane Diekman masterfully draws on extensive interviews with Young’s family, band members, and colleagues. Impeccably researched, Diekman’s narrative also weaves anecdotes from Louisiana Hayride and other old radio shows with ones from Young’s business associates, including Ralph Emery. Her unique insider’s look into Young’s career adds to an understanding of the burgeoning country music entertainment industry during the key years from 1950 to 1980, when the music expanded beyond its original rural roots and blossomed into a national (ultimately, international) enterprise. Echoing Young’s characteristic ability to entertain and surprise fans, Diekman combines an account of his public career with a revealing, intimate portrait of his personal life.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Sad that his life ended way too soon!
crown
Diekman paints a much more detail picture of an outwardly simple, yet internally very complex man.
Frank the Biography Fan
This book should be required reading for fans of classic country music.
Ryan Patrick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Frank the Biography Fan on August 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best biographies I have ever read about anyone. This book is very well-written, as it portrays Faron Young as a person first. Many biographies about musical artists talk way too much about the music, and not enough about the person. Faron Young's music speaks for itself. However, no one has ever known that much about his life, other than that he was a colorful character who sang country music, used salty language and drank too much. Diekman paints a much more detail picture of an outwardly simple, yet internally very complex man. As you read this book, you will feel the tremendous highs and lows that Young went through in his happy yet often painful life. You will also feel the alternating sense of fun and nervous tension that friends and family felt around him. Once I started reading this book, I could not stop. And while I like Faron Young music, I am not what one would consider to be a die-hard fan. This book took me back through Young's life, as well as the lives of those around him. It is also sad to see how such a super talent died so sad and bitter. But after reading this terrific book, I understand why he died as he did. I have read thousands of bios on everyone from John Adams to Patsy Cline. This is definitely in the top three. It is simply WONDERFUL................It reads great, and paints such a illustrative picture of a man who, I thought I knew a little about........but after reading this book, I realize how little I really knew! I'm gonna read it again, and then go out and buy some Faron Young music. BRAVO!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gary Presley on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What appeals to me as a reader -- and what I admire about Diane as a writer and biographer -- is that Faron is revealed as a "man in full." Faron possessed a magical voice, a gift for entertaining, an appreciation for his artistic abilities, but he apparently was also possessed by the demons of depression.

Years of research, and a compassionate understanding of the man behind the music, gives readers (and history) a book wherein Diane examines Faron's life and death, never hiding sad truths that sometimes leave a reader reeling, but yet we know she loved and respected the man and his art.

~ Gary <[...]>
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is extremely informative on Faron Young's life, all the way to his horrible death. The writer got to know Faron while he was alive and she did a prodigious amount of research. And she's extremely fair in giving all sides of this complex, troubled performer.

Where the book surprisingly falls a bit short is in conveying the magic of his music. Faron made some great--even iconic--records. As one example, I looked up "Wine Me Up." Diekman recounts that Faron recorded the song and album, but the account is flat: there's no indication of how he hit it out of the ballpark, coming out of nowhere to record what's arguably the greatest drinking record of the '60s. Or "It's Four In The Morning", Faron's last number 1 hit. The writer does not attempt to convey what a great record it was.

That's a small complaint. As someone--Was it Elvis Costello?--said: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."
For anybody interested in classic honky tonk country, this is a great book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on August 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Faron Young, who is today one of the more underestimated country singers of his generation despite his long career and many hit records, was a hard man for even his friends to peg. That is because, as so aptly described by Diane Diekman in her Faron Young biography, "Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story," he was a man of strong contradictions.

Faron Young was one of the nicest men in the world but he was one very mean drunk and no one wanted to be around him when he was drinking heavily (and that was much of the time). He was extremely generous to those who had less then him (often they were songwriters on the way up, such as Willie Nelson) and were in need of a few hundred dollars to tide them over, but was known to refuse his road band the extra five dollars a day that would have made all the difference in the world to them. He loved his children and considered himself to be a good family man but he made it a point to speak of his youngest daughter as his "only little girl" and never publicly acknowledged the other daughter he had out of wedlock or how terrible his relationship with his oldest sons really was. Faron could curse like a sailor, and he usually did, but would behave respectably around the wives of his band members. He had lots of longtime friends and he had lots of longtime enemies. He was an astute businessman who made some terrible business decisions that cost him a whole lot of money.

All of these contradictions, taken as a whole, are probably why so many people explained their toleration for Young's behavior by saying, "That's just Faron." Connie Smith used those words to explain how someone with her temperament could endure working on the road with the fast-living Faron Young.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michelle P. Anderson on November 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am so glad the author wrote this book about Faron Young. I thought he'd been forgotten. His music meant so much to me, but I thought I was the only one who cared.

This is a very comprehensive story about Faron's life and his ascent and descent in the world of country music.

Weaved throughout this story is Faron's alcohol addiction. It resonated with me, because my dad was an alcoholic, and some of the tales hit too close to home. Yet, it was consoling, in a way. It brought back memories that I'd buried about my own father, and allowed me to relive some painful times that I thought I'd long forgotten.

Regardless, I was so glad that someone thought enough about Faron and his life and career to put this in book form.

He was a major force in country music for many years, and it's time he got his due.

Thanks again to the author. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and it will be a valuable addition to my collection of country music biographies.
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