January 4

All You Need Is Rock – Mark Beech


The interviews include Sting, Steve Miller, Brian Eno, Adam Ant, Steve Van Zandt, Mary Wilson and Kevin Rowland.
Mark Beech recounts how he rubbed shoulders with Amy Winehouse and Kanye West backstage and at secret gigs.

There’s a constant reassessing of reputations as stars’ personal lives and music collide. The passing of Winehouse, Michael Jackson and more lead to candid commentaries on what their legacy will be, spiced up with inside knowledge, humour and Beech’s knowledge of music as evidenced in his previously released name encyclopedias.

Stars getting the most attention include the Beatles, Elvis Presley, U2, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and the Arctic Monkeys.

Beech was among the first to publish reviews from the Led Zeppelin reunion concert at the O2 in London in 2007 (where more than a million people applied for only 20,000 tickets). He provides front-seat accounts of the very first show at the start of tours by the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Prince, the Police and (for comic contrast) the Spice Girls.

About the Author

Mark Beech has spent a decade as the rock critic for Bloomberg.

The London-based arts and culture editor also includes dispatches from Madison Square Garden, Tennessee, Vancouver and Glastonbury.

He has been a regular commentator on U.K. television channels, a contributing editor to Dante magazine and a journalist for ITN, The Sunday Times and others.


My thanks to Emma at Busy Bee for my review copy


If you have Christmas vouchers left and have been saving them for something which will give you a break from the reading norm then I highly recommend All You Need Is Rock.

This book is an absolute treat for music lovers and I mean proper music – not the manufactured faces that seem to have been dominating the charts these last few years. Mark Beech has travelled the world and seen some of the greatest musicians and bands; in All You Need Is Rock he compiles a collection of his best articles for our entertainment.

I found reviewing this book much more tricky than I had initially anticipated. This was partly because I am not a big fan of short stories so I cannot just sit and read my way through a collection of articles or unconnected stories (I need to break it up over a number of reading sessions). The main problem that I faced, however, was that I mentioned to a family member that I was reading ‘this great book about loads of rock stars written by a guy who has seen all the Greats’ – my review copy then vanished to said family member’s house for a few weeks before I could recover it…I did get frequent updates as to how much it was being enjoyed though!

My personal inability to put together a timely review should not detract from the quality entertainment offered within All You Need Is Rock. These articles represent the highs of a decade of music journalism – there are interviews and reviews to reflect upon and irrespective of your musical preferences there will be fascinating articles that will command your attention.

Beech writes with a humour which flows through his articles. I did not feel at any time that I was being spun a line about what I should and should not enjoy, there was no agenda to promote any particular artist and the author’s love of music and the artists he was covering shone through on many occasions.

When I first picked up my copy and flicked to the index I was delighted to see names such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Police jumping out at me. Also covered are Prince, Springsteen and U2 (I was less excited by those) and also named were Kanye, Lady Gaga and Artic Monkey – all of whom I could pass in the street and have no idea who they were. But what a range of music is covered in just those 9 names and I haven’t yet mentioned the Glasto section, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash or (eek) The Spice Girls.

There are many highlights to be found within All You Need Is Rock, however, I suspect that each reader will have their own personal highlight. For me the section leading into Sting and The Police summed up why I enjoyed this book so much. Mark Beech confesses from the outset that he is a Sting fan and that he (Mark) feels that Sting gets a rough deal in the press – Mark seeks to put that right. I liked that.

This book provides insight, discussion and anecdotes. It is a book you can pick up and put down, share with friends and return to over and over again. Now that I have recovered my copy it will sit happy (and in easy reach) on my bookshelves.

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Posted January 4, 2015 by Gordon in category "From The Bookshelf