Sunday, January 05, 2014

Book Review: Up All Night-My Life and Times in Rock Radio

It’s hard for me to be overly critical about this book because of the author. Carol Miller, a long time host rock radio personality in New York, was someone I listened to from the mid-seventies through most of the nineties when I left NYC to move to MA. Not only was I a big fan but I had a huge crush on her, what dude in their right mind didn’t? And, I had the great privilege of meeting her when I was at a party for the band Europe when they received their gold record for their album “The Final Countdown”. At that event, I actually had the chance to sit and speak with Carol Miller for a few minutes, she was super cool and I did my best to not be a complete buffoon.

I enjoyed reading this book very much because Carol Miller means something to me. So when she talks about things like her personal life, battles with illness and cancer, it was like reading about a dear friend who went through all of this deep stuff and you wished you could have been there to help them through, it was emotional.

When she talked about the challenges of being a woman in a male dominated field, about the disgusting abusive situations she was put in by management, I wanted to go beat the crap out these assholes for messing with one of my peeps. More important, it put a real perspective on a very real situation that still lingers in society today where woman are simply not treated as equals on so many levels.
From the title of the book, “Up All Night: My Life and Times in Rock Radio”, I was expecting some great larger than life stories about the larger than life rock and roll stars that I listened to Carol Miller play on the radio for so many years. The stories that were included did not disappoint, there were a few doozies for certain. I just felt that the title led me to believe that is what would dominate the book and perhaps its part my fault for the assumption, but I also must blame the publishers and editors who moved forward the final manuscript under this title.

As someone who grew up in the area where carol Miller gained her popularity and radio persona, I think the book works overall. As I’ve implied above, if you were a listener, you have a relationship and care about the personal stuff enough that it all works just fine; like I said, I enjoyed reading this book and in fact, finished it in three days. I question the overall appeal to someone that might not know who Carol Miller is or only knows of her peripherally. I question if the balance of the material in the book is enough to appeal to that broader audience.
For certain, the personal stuff will touch all people, it’s all very real and it’s quite likely that most readers will be able to associate with the stories of Miller’s life and perhaps that will be enough; I hope so only because I would like to see this book sell well for two reasons: I am a lifelong fan of Carol Miller and she deserves for it to be successful and, 5% of the proceeds are being donated to breast cancer research.

I would love to have read a book that was all about the radio stuff and the music and radio business interactions. I think it would even have worked if the personal stuff stayed put but there were a hundred or so pages more of the music stuff, it wouldn't have made the book too long - though I guess from the publisher end, it would have cost more to produce, but then again, if it sold enough more units to offset the additional cost...who knows? Not me, I can only say that in the end, if I invest the time to read a book, I need to get a return and when all was said and done, I got my money's worth.
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Here's a brief interview she did while promoting the book:

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