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Memoir Mania: What to Expect from Cyndi Lauper, Pete Townshend, and More

Pete Townshend / Photo by Getty Images

Vice recently published a piece likening the proliferation of cancer memoirs to the spread of a deadly disease. So does that make the recent spate of memoirs by musicians akin to the rise of, say, Aqua in the late ’90s? By our current count, there are six such autobiographies either recently released or on the way. Here’s what we know.

Who? Cyndi Lauper, the girl who just wanted to have fun.
What? Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir (out now)
Why? Says the Washington Post: “[She had] a creepy stepdad whom she fled when she was 17. She bounced from job to job and lover to lover like a ricocheting bullet… Record executives said they were going to make her into the next Streisand and have her sing ballads, but Lauper told them that she was a rocker. Actually, what she remembers saying was, ‘I can’t take enough medication to stand still that long, okay?'” The press pitched her against Madonna. Dylan asked her to join the band. Obama sang her praises. She had her fun, and she stayed tough as nails all the way through.
Would we? Time after time. (That’s a solid yes.)

Who? Justin Bieber, the boyfriend you’ll never have.
What? Just Getting Started (out now)
Why? From ABC News: “In a nod to his relationship with fellow singing star Selena Gomez, Bieber writes, ‘There are just some things I am trying to keep private because I am young and figuring it out. I am learning about trust and the joys and struggles of it. I like being with someone who is smart and who I can have an actual conversation with.’ Bieber also takes aim at overzealous paparazzi, writing, ‘But it’s not OK when they come at me aggressively and don’t respect my space. There’s a misconception that I hate the paparazzi. I don’t, I simply don’t like the aggressive paparazzi.'”
Would we? He’s 18. And it’s his second “memoir.” No.

Who? Kenny Rogers, the gambler.
What? Luck Or Something Like It (October 2)
Why? Anti-Music writes: “Speaking candidly, Kenny reflects upon his rough childhood in the South — living in the projects of Houston and growing up in poverty — and how his father’s alcoholism greatly impacted his career by helping him avoid the common pitfalls of substance abuse that often plague fame… Featuring a cast of characters ranging from Elvis to Dolly Parton to Ray Charles to Dottie West to Lionel Richie, Rogers’ story offers a candid and eye-opening look at the world of country music, showing how mainstream success led to crossover artistic partnerships that… forced him to go against the trends of the Nashville establishment.”
Would we? Are you kidding? That sounds amazing.

Who? Yeah, Pete Townshend — how’d you know?
What? Who I Am (October 11)
Why? Via NME: “According to a statement, the book will tell share details of Townshend’s ‘incredible life and elaborates on the turbulences of time spent as one of the world’s most respected musicians — being in one of rock’s greatest ever bands, and wanting to give it all up.’ It was during the writing of the book in 2003 that Townshend was cautioned by police for accessing child pornography on the internet. When questioned by police about the material he cited researching for the book as his reason for doing so. He said… ‘Some of the things I have seen on the internet have informed my book.'”
Would we? Uhh, we’re gonna hold out for the reviews.

Who? Clive Davis, the music industry’s kingmaker.
What? no title yet, due out in February
Why? From the press release: “Orphaned and impoverished in his teens, Davis persevered and overcame early hardships, earning a full scholarship to New York University and later receiving a degree from Harvard Law School. In a quintessential Horatio Alger trajectory, he then parlayed a job as a fledgling lawyer into a storied career in the music business that has now spanned five decades and six Grammy Awards.” Includes untold stories about Whitney Houston, Simon and Garfunkel, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen, plus “Janis Joplin propositioning Davis to go to bed together to celebrate her contract signing (he politely declined).”
Would we? We think we would politely accept, yes.

Who? Carlos Santana, the “Smooth” operator.
What? also still untitled, due out in 2014
Why? Entertainment Weekly projects that, “His tale is sure to be juicy — you don’t sell 100 million records without a few gritty details.” But the press release tells a different story: “Being recognized by all who hear a single note is a God-given miracle. This gift has been bestowed on a select few: Bob Marley, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John McLaughlin, and, of course, Carlos Santana. As he tells his story, Carlos’s highest wish is to help readers discover the sanctity, grace, and divinity in themselves. This book is a testament to triumph, victory, and success.”
Would we? If the publisher comes look for us, just say, “They all went to Mexico.”