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Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story [Paperback]

Greg Prato
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 13, 2008 0578003171 978-0578003177
To many, Tommy Bolin was the legitimate heir to Jimi Hendrix’s rock guitar throne. Stints with the James Gang and Deep Purple – as well as solo albums and a groundbreaking release with jazz-rocker Billy Cobham – certainly proved that the adulation was rightly deserved. And with a techno-color fashion sense, he certainly stood out from the pack. Only one problem, Tommy had a death-defying drug addiction, which ultimately would lead to a premature and tragic end - before he was able to truly take his standing among the elite musicians of the world. ‘Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story’ is the first book to focus entirely on the life story of Tommy Bolin – compiled from nearly 50 exclusive interviews (including family, friends, and band members that played alongside Tommy throughout the years). “After reading ‘Touched by Magic,’ it seemed to me every interview ‘takes you there’ for the moment…I give 105 stars to Greg!” -Johnnie Bolin, Tommy’s brother

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The truth is definitely stranger than fiction - Greg Prato brings to light the sad and compelling truth, revelations, and recollections of those that were directly involved with one of the great talents of music history. Tommy Bolin was a musical genius." --Greg Hampton (Whips and Roses and Teaser Deluxe producer)

"Touched by Magic will give you the true feel of a cult hero. A story people should know, and finally get to learn about it." --Stone & Double T, WXRX, Rockford, IL

"Touched By Magic:  The Tommy Bolin Story will give fans the journey into Tommy Bolin's life they always wanted to take." --Keith Roth, The Electric Ballroom Radio Show  

"This 252-page book is a remarkable achievement and hits every target whilst paying respectful justice to the memory of one of the world's greatest guitar stars." --blogcritics.org

"A tragic book, but one well worth reading." --curledup.com

"It's an absolute blast and I rate it as essential for Tommy fans." --John Herdt, Webmaster and Producer, Tommy Bolin Archives

"Upon reading Greg's book, I found myself, once again, immersed in the deep emotional impact that Tommy had on my life." --Glenn Hughes (bandmate of Tommy's in Deep Purple), glennhughes.com

"After reading 'Touched by Magic,' it seemed to me every interview 'takes you there' for the moment." --Johnnie Bolin (Tommy's brother), foreword of book

About the Author

Greg Prato is a Long Island, New York-–based journalist, whose writing has appeared in such renowned publications as Rolling Stone, All Music Guide, and Classic Rock Magazine. He is the author of several popular books, 'A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon,' 'Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story,' 'Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, 'No Schlock . . . Just Rock!,' 'The Eric Carr Story,' 'MTV Ruled the World: The Early Years of Music Video,' and 'Sack Exchange: The Definitive Oral History of the 1980s New York Jets.'

Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Greg Prato (December 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578003171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578003177
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #899,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Prato is a Long Island, New York-based journalist, whose writing has appeared in such renowned publications as Rolling Stone, All Music Guide, and Classic Rock Magazine. He is the author of several popular books:

MUSIC:
'A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon'
'Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story'
'Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music'
'No Schlock . . . Just Rock!'
'The Eric Carr Story'
'MTV Ruled the World: The Early Years of Music Video'
'Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets'
'The Faith No More & Mr. Bungle Companion'
'Overlooked/Underappreciated: 354 Recordings That Demand Your Attention'

SPORTS:
'Sack Exchange: The Definitive Oral History of the 1980s New York Jets'
'Dynasty: The Oral History of the New York Islanders, 1972-1984'
'Just Out of Reach: The 1980s New York Yankees'

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars overdue but undercooked July 31, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
just finished the bolin book. while i'm thrilled someone has written a pretty thorough bio, two reservations. first and most seriously, "touched by magic" needs both an a proofreader and an editor. there are typos and mistakes all over the place. the sequencing, endless quotes and general organization of the book is almost comical. i realize this is a labour of love, and again thank the author for undertaking it, but the book would be a real contender (and taken seriously) if an editor could have it for a week. i also think a bit of critical distance from the person and music would not go amiss. not everything bolin touched or wrote turned to gold, and he was in the end what all drug addicts are, fearsomely self-centered and creatively limp. one caveat: i downloaded the book from amazon; if this version is different from the print edition, i hope the latter is an improvement.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story January 23, 2009
Format:Paperback
There is a reason why some artists develop a cult following that continues to grow exponentially some 33 years after they have left the mortal coil. In the case of Tommy Bolin, it is his musical artistry, in general, and his transformingly brilliant guitar playing majesty, specifically, that leaves more and more people year after year discovering what has been lost but should be found.

While I could not recommend this book more highly, if you are new to Tommy Bolin, you first need to listen to his 2 solo releases: "Private Eyes" (which can be had for a criminally low price, so what are you waiting for?) and "Teaser" (which costs a few extra shekels as it is only available as an import). However, just a gander at the guest artists that performed on "Teaser" lets you know that it is well worth the investment.

Greg Prato's "Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story" continues the discovery of an artist whose brilliance transcended his life. Bolin fans have been waiting for this book for literally longer than Tommy's life time. Because it is written from interviews with most of the important people in Tommy's personal and professional life, there is a "warts and all" feel to the book that is very much appreciated. And my takeaway from "Touched by Magic" is the realism that being fortunate enough to be brilliant at one thing (music) by no means bestows upon one competency at others (business management decisions, modifying addictions/lifestyle, etc.).

To his credit, Prato allows the interviews speak for themselves. The interviews reinforce to those who do not (or could not) remember how "matter of fact" casual recreational drug use was to many (if not most) of us who came of age in the 70's.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars disjointed! April 18, 2009
Format:Paperback
i was a huge fan of tommy's during the deep purple years and his solo stuff and was always very interested in hearing the whole story of what happened to him.

i've read this book twice now and a lot of questions have been answered but i feel that a lot of what's been written in this book are only opinions given by people that were angry and shocked at his death. i'm 47, and when i look back at my life at 25, i was a lot like tommy,(minus the talent) and i guess i'm blessed to have made it through those years.

many of those interviewed here would have you believe that barry fey, (tommy's manager) is the devil. well, a few things evident are that he was a businessman and that he believed in tommy's God given gift. although some of the things he did were shocking!

i really feel for tommy's family and their loss! only God knows what he would have accomplished had he lived a full life.

i only became a tommy bolin fan when he joined deep purple but have discovered many other great things he did later. i'll read this book a few more times and maybe i'll have a different opinion then...but one thing i've gathered so far is that there were a lot of shenanigans going on around him late in his life! r.i.p. tommy
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tommy Bolin: Gone But Never Forgotten February 25, 2009
Format:Paperback
What a wonderful...and haunting book. I was born in 1963 and it is very easy for me to say that Tommy Bolin was the most original and talented guitarist of my lifetime, right next to and along with Jimi Hendrix. This book tells the story of a brilliantly talented, very young lost soul who could make his guitar sing like no other man could but also battled the demons of drugs and alcohol; a battle which took his life at the age of 25. "Touched By Magic" is told through texts and remembrances by Tommy's friends and family with the occasional line by Tommy himself. It also includes passages from his "so-called" manager...note the "so-called". From his early teenage years to his shadowy death in a Miami hotel room in December of '76, "Magic" connects us with a genious for the ages. For anyone familiar with the name "Tommy Bolin", get this book NOW !! For someone un-familiar with his name, I think the book will be interesting but will certainly not be of the same importance. For these people, I say "Get some Tommy Bolin music...anything". Then you will KNOW !! Many thanks to Greg Prato for helping to keep Tommy's name (and music) alive. Through this book and his timeless music, Tommy will be forever "Touched By Magic".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating insight into his short life and genius
Tommy Bolin is probably best known for his work in Deep Purple after Ritchie Blackmore left to form Rainbow, and he also played in the James Gang after Joe Walsh left to form... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Phillip B. Panczuk
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the inside story of arguably the greatest rock guitarist of...
For Tommy Bolin fans, and guitar aficionados unfamiliar with this musical virtuoso, 'Touched by Magic' is a must-read. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chris Goodfellow
2.0 out of 5 stars Sad story not well told
I admit I have no interest in the kind of music Tommy Bolin played. I read the book only because Tommy was born in Sioux City and his funeral was at the church I go to and he is... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Schmerguls
5.0 out of 5 stars Tommy Bolin - America's Forgotten Rock Guitarist
I have was drawn into the musical world of Tommy Bolin over 40 years ago as a young musician and immediately was struck the truly unique "voice" this young guitarist... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Don Skochinski
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Openning
I have been a huge Tommy Bolin fan since around 1978. My first taste of his music came from the Come Taste The Band album. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Curtis Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book into his short life.
This is a great book into his short life by friends and family. It is very granular so you have to adjust for that part of the writing. Read more
Published 12 months ago by EcoActive
4.0 out of 5 stars Touched by Magic
I enjoyed reading this. Learned a lot I didn't know about Tommy. I didn't particularly like the format: the book consisted of interviews with various people. Read more
Published 14 months ago by LexieGee
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad.
its a sad story of a very talented individual that had quite an appetite for self destruction, while still insightful I found the book became more of the same and more of the same.
Published 14 months ago by aero1
5.0 out of 5 stars Story of great guitar player
Great book about one of the "forgotten" great guitar player. I wish he was still alive so he could show these young "posers" how it is done.
Published 15 months ago by Russell Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Touched By Magic
This book is really something special. So few people know who Tommy Bolin was, which is unfortunate because he was one the greatest guitar players ever. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Chris Merwin
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