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Brian Boone

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10 Rock Star Bios You Shouldn't Bother Reading

Posted: 12/26/11 08:36 AM ET

Every few months, a big rock star biography or memoir comes out. The pre-release buzz is always major, promising, finally, the truth about that musical icon we all thought we knew. Rarely does that truth happen, though. Factor in ghostwriters, extremely careful publishing house legal departments, and musicians gunning for either continued relevance or to maintain a carefully crafted public image, and more often than not those bios end up as disappointing cop-outs. (Except if they're written by a member of Motley Crüe or Guns N' Roses; those things are horrifying and awesome.) Ergo, if you're a big music nerd, you can just go ahead and skip these high-profile rock star hatchet jobs, many of which were written (or "written") by the stars themselves.

"Just Kids" by Patti Smith
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Any book advertised with and establishing its setting with the line "it was the summer Coltrane" died is just going to be pretentious and self-absorbed. It sounds like the opening of a poem by a college freshman, not punk icon Patti Smith. There is nothing punk about "Just Kids," Smith's memoir of her early years in New York City and her relationship with future controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Instead, it's wistful, sweet, and nostalgic, which are words never used before to describe the works of Patti Smith. Even if you're a big Smith fan, you might want to skip it, especially since you've probably already read a book or seen a movie about people are young, in love, have a dream, but are poor, but dammit we're happy, so happy.
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