Released: 2005, Chrome Dreams
Last month was Maiden Month, so this month is AC/DC month! I’m taking a look at four AC/DC related books this month. Feel free to also check out my reviews of DIRTY DEEDS (Evans), LET THERE BE ROCK (Masino), TWO SIDES TO EVERY GLORY (Stenning) and HIGH VOLTAGE ROCK AND ROLL (Sutcliffe)
Oddly enough, this is the first book review of a Paul Stenning title in the Library Of Loudness. That’s odd because this well-known and popular journalist from the UK has written books on Guns ‘n’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Slash and Metallica over the past decade. We will have to rectify that and review more of his books. TWO SIDES TO EVERY GLORY is Stenning’s third book published for Chrome Dreams and for the record I am reviewing the 2005 edition which wraps up the story in 2004. There is a revised edition that came out in 2009.
This slightly oversized paperback comes in at a generous 300+ pages with dozens of colour photos printed on glossy colour plates, including quite a bit of AC/DC memorabilia like ticket stubs, backstage passes, singles, tour books and more. Stenning follows the conventional, almost mandatory linear timeline method of telling the tale. He does however interject sidebars introducing people or businesses that are relevant to the story for example Atlantic Records, Robert Lange and so forth. Stenning has done an excellent job writing a very readable and entertaining biography. It perhaps has a little less technical detail than Masino’s book, LET THERE BE ROCK, for example, but he has a different level of detail that has a bit more flow than lists of tour dates and so on.
Stenning treats all eras of the band with equal enthusiasm. His lack of original first-hand interviews with the band does not hinder the book as the breadth and depth of his research means there are plenty of quotes and comments from numerous sources. There isn’t much detail in terms of song-writing, or the band being in the studio and in fact when it actually comes to discussing ‘music’ there is not as much information as other books about the band. I’m not expecting a detailed musical analysis of chord structures of AC/DC songs but at times the music took a backseat to information about managers, album covers, tours, and the oft-told but obligatory stories about famous groupie ‘Rosie’ and Bon Scott’s various shenanigans.
The last 90 pages or so are absolutely packed with trivia and interesting lists. This is where TWO SIDES TO EVERY GLORY really shines. There are lists of bands that have covered AC/DC songs, an extensive list of members, lists of gear, books, web-sites, promo items, and any number of others collections of scraps of information for the discerning AC/DC aficionado. The discography is also very comprehensive covering Japanese releases and more. TWO SIDES TO EVERY GLORY is one of the better AC/DC biographies I have read and it would be a good place to start if you don’t have one in your library.