Howard Sounes’s biography of Amy Winehouse loses its way when its shoehorns other dead rock stars into the mixIn the acknowledgements section of his strange new group biography of six famous musicians who died at the age of 27, Howard Sounes writes about setting out “to see what, if anything, the 27 Club amounts to apart from a series of coincidental and tragic deaths”. That “if anything” would be tantalising in an introduction but, after 300 inconclusive pages, it feels rather like an admission of defeat.Sounes, who has written admired biographies of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Charles Bukowski, is a tenacious researcher. If you want someone to expose the chequered financial history of Winehouse’s father Mitch or stack up air miles visiting stars’ old acquaintances, then he’s your man. But his belief that Amy Winehouse’s two-album career couldn’t sustain a proper biography leads him on a treacherous detour through the equally short, albeit more productive lives of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain. The “27 Club” (Cobain’s grief-stricken mother famously referred to “that stupid club”) is such a shaky concept that Sounes ends up dismantling it from within.So there are really two books here …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books