Unrequited Infatuations

Hachette. Sept. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780306925429. $31. MEMOIR
Guitarist, songwriter, producer, actor, and activist Van Zandt tells his fascinating life story in this compelling memoir. He details his first musical epiphany as a child (sparked by the Curtis Lee song “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”), the years spent honing his craft in the New Jersey and New York rock scenes, and his role as guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. In the early 1980s he launched a solo career as Little Steven, and he documents his political awakening—he wrote songs about sociopolitical issues in Latin America, the oppression of Indigenous people, and apartheid-era South Africa, which led to the recording of the protest song “Sun City.” Van Zandt also chronicles his TV acting roles on The Sopranos and Lilyhammer, his two satellite radio stations for garage rock, and his efforts to develop a rock music curriculum (part of his lifelong goal to promote and preserve the art form for future generations).
VERDICT By turns philosophical, earthy, metaphysical, humorous, and charmingly self-deprecating, Van Zandt chronicles a multifaceted life, charts his musical and political manifestos, and travels intriguing roads that will distinguish his book among music memoirs. It will be appreciated by a wide audience.
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