Aug 10, 2012
Music lovers of a certain age will love the dishy new oral history, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum. From what is widely considered the worst video of all time, Billy Squier's Rock Me Tonight (you can see it on YouTube) to the best (A-ha's Take On Me), and all of the drug use, extravagant video shoots, unadulterated greed and bad acting in between, this is a terrifically fun history of the time, told by the people who were there.
The library owns lots of wonderful, rich oral histories on a variety of fascinating subjects, like The Good War and other amazing works by Studs Terkel . But the ones that are the most fun to read are the entertainment ones. After a few years it seems, the lips of those in the entertainment industry loosen a bit and the reading gets awfully fun.
Another recent oral history that dished the dirt was Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller. The story is bursting with creative frenzies, clashing egos, actors who went on to megastardom in film and those who disappeared; the origins of famous routines, censorship battles, and humour so toxic it never got on the air; the love affairs, feuds--all the unique insanity involved in producing the show that changed North America forever.
Feel like going across the pond for your comedy troupe dishing? You could do worse than Monty Python Speaks; [subtitled: John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin (and a few of their friends and collaborators) recount an amazing, and silly, thirty-year spree in television and film-- in their own words, squire!]
And for our sports-loving friends, the new history Those Guys Have all the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales draws on interviews with nearly five hundred current and former employees, announcers and analysts, as well as sports stars including LeBron James, Peyton Manning, and Jeff Gordon.