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It is show-and-tell time for music’s celebrities.

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) has tracked the life of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury on film while Broadway has put Tina Turner and Motown icon The Temptations under the microscope in musicals Tina: The Tina Turner Musical and Ain’t Too Proud – The Life And Times Of The Temptations.

But if you prefer to learn about their stories at your own pace at home, here are five newly published books to keep you company during the rainy December nights.



Photo: Instagram/badgalriri

Foreword: Just like the title of her 2007 hit Umbrella, this book can be said to provide coverage of her life from her Barbados childhood to her forays in music and fashion.

Not at a loss for words: True to her understanding of the Instagram age, she goes easy on crafting a wordy story here, preferring to believe that a photo is worth 1,000 words.

And so the book has more than 1,000 photos, a visual feast for the visual times.



Photo: Instagram/ epa-efe

Foreword: In the first and only official autobiography, Elton John, 72, reveals he is more than what was sketched out in the 2019 movie Rocketman.

Not at a loss for words: On parenting, John, who has two sons aged six and eight, wrote: “I even found the toddler tantrums weirdly charming. You think you’re being difficult, my little sausage? Have I ever told you about the time I drank eight vodka martinis, took all my clothes off in front of a film crew and then broke my manager’s nose?”

John also revealed that while Michael Jackson did not throw any superstar tantrums during a lunch they shared in the 1990s, the Beat It singer left the table to play video games with an 11-year-old boy.

“He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around. He couldn’t seem to cope with adult company at all.”



Photo: Instagram/prince

Foreword: Prince penned some of the early chapters before he died in 2016 at age 57. Earlier, he had selected a co-writer, Dan Piepenbring, who went on to finish the book, after the artist’s death, with material from Prince’s personal archives.

Not at a loss for words: Prince, who dreamt of stardom at a young age, told Piepenbring: “I used to rush home from school to watch it (1950s TV series Adventures Of Superman). Seeing George Reeves, seeing that cape flying, him on top of buildings – I wanted that.”

But “it’s funny to turn on the TV and in America you just see white people playing the heroes. That affects your self-image when you’re black and watching white heroes”.



Photo: Instagram/ flea333

Foreword: “It’s my great hope that it could be a book that could live beyond being a celebrity book or a rock star book and just stand on its own as a piece of literature,” said author Flea, 57, who plays bass for Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The rocker classifies the book as an origin story, ending “where the Red Hot Chili Peppers begins”.

He wrote: “It’s easy to tell funny stories about the ridiculous, crazy things you did as a kid. But to get underneath the things that happened and have that retrospective introspection, I just thought that would be a great spiritual exercise.”

Not at a loss for words: Music saved him, he wrote: “There once was a small blonde Australian boy. He loved his dog. Life picked him up and shook him all around. Stumbling and bumbling, blindfolded and searching, he fell in love with the truly beautiful things.

“Sweet hearts warmed him with their love glow. Other hearts failed him. Feeling disconnected, out into the street he ran, looking for relief.

“In the process, he did things to dim his own heart light. A cold darkness of fear grew within. But in that scary place, Music, The Voice Of God, spoke, telling him to share her voice on this Earth.”



Photo: Instagram/ associated press

Foreword: Blondie singer Debbie Harry, 74, who once said her character was “an inflatable doll but with a dark, provocative, aggressive side”, opens up about the good, bad and evil of fame in this memoir.

Not at a loss for words: A sexy pin-up in the 1970s and 1980s, she wrote about her image: “One visit, when I was a baby, my doctor gave me a lingering look. And then he grinned at my parents and said: ‘Watch out for that one, she has bedroom eyes.’

“My mother’s friends kept urging her to send my photo to Gerber, the baby food company, because I was a shoo-in, with my ‘bedroom eyes’, to be picked as a Gerber baby.

“She said no, she wasn’t going to exploit her little girl. She wanted to protect me, I suppose.

“But even as a little girl, I always attracted sexual attention. Jump-cut to 1978 and the release of Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby. After seeing the movie, I wrote Pretty Baby for the Blondie album Parallel Lines.

“Malle’s star was the 12-year-old Brooke Shields, who played a kid living in a whorehouse.”

This article first appeared on The Straits Times.