Sister Sledge once sang about being ‘Lost in Music’ and no truer words have been sung. Music is our escapism. Some people close their eyes and listen to the melody while others, like me, listen to the words and live the stories within them.
Like Hollywood actors, pop and rock stars have become icons in their own right. They lead glamorous lives and can command anything they want; they are the romantic heroes who sing of love and honour, or so it seems.
In 1974 David Cassidy was every girl’s idol. He had everything; good looks, an engaging smile, and a husky, soulful voice. He was living the dream as he set off on huge tours all over America and the UK. His concerts were sell-outs, and he had the world in his hands. But the reality was actually very different. Sadly he was a product making money for other people.
On a television documentary, it showed him being rushed out of a venue, hidden in the back of a car with a cover over him. His face showed the strain of exhaustion, but as long as he was well enough to perform, that was all that mattered back then.
In 1986 a newspaper article told of 80s pop star Paul Young’s wife, running off with Eddie Kidd, who was a handsome stunt motorcyclist. It reported our hero, Paul, charged over to Eddie’s house, and allegedly kicked down the door where a fight ensued and he reclaimed his girl. How romantic is that?
The real story was probably very different, but it does have a happy ending as was reported in March 2014 by the Daily Mail. After all that, Paul and his wife still live happily together with their family, despite that rocky start.
Eddie Kidd’s tragic life went on to be an inspiring one and culminated in the Eddie Kidd Foundation.
During my research for this book, I came across a forum where someone calling himself Tupac, asked: What is it like being a rock star?
There were lots of interesting replies, many humorous, and some from musicians who talked about lives on the road in general.
One guy said that he was a stage manager for nine years, and those people that remained grounded were the ones that had families to keep them so. One user listed all the bad points of being on the road; how he lost his girlfriend, never slept more than three hours, ate at gas stations; missed all the holidays, and finished by saying he would never trade his experience, and seemed regretful that he would probably not get the opportunity to do it again.
Learning about the real people behind the icons and the stories captured my imagination. Who were they and are what were their stories?
It wasn’t long before I realised I had enough to make an interesting storybook. I named it Behind the Music as that says exactly what it is.
One of the stories tells of a burnt out rock star that feels his life is out of control and cannot drag himself from his depression. He escapes to a house by the sea and there he meets Gemma. She is morose, cries a lot, and at first won’t speak to him. What tragic secret is she keeping? Can Rick forget his troubles and help her, or will she end up helping him? It’s an emotional story that brings two people together when they need it most.
Five other stories tell of Nick returning to his roots in Coming Home. Melody’s Melody tells the story of a singer in a band who realises the cover artist of his album was the troubled girl he befriended in the early days.
In The Belle Vue Hotel, a real place in Welsh seaside town, Jenna goes to meet the boyfriend she met at university. They had agreed to meet every 5 years, now he was a big West End star, would he still come?
Many journalists interview rock and pop stars and The Interview is no exception. Lisa Langley is the charismatic lead singer with the Average Word Master, a very successful band. In this story she tells how they first started and those early days of gigging.
The final story, The Power of Love, is a fairy tale where music plays a very powerful part.