Saturday, September 10, 2011


Bill Morrissey

Bill Morrissey was a singer songwriter who had his greatest success in the 1980's. This novel, published in 1996, is a fictional version of what it is like to be on the downside of your show business career.  Although not autobiographical, it is derived from Bill's life experience. It qualifies as a literary novel. - there is not a great deal of plot. I did not find that to be a particular lack. The characters are well developed in a way that makes the reader want to know more.

Henry, a man in his mid forties, has been sidelined from the music business because of artistic differences with the major label that bought his contract and demanded unacceptable changes to his just finished third album. Henry is living in the small mill town of Edson New Hampshire, a place where he used to be a regular headliner at the local music venue/bar. Caroline, the twenty one year old waitress in that establishment who lives down the hall from Henry in a ramshackle "hotel" becomes the love interest in the story. At the beginning of the book Caroline is unaware that Henry was ever a musician.

Pope Johnson is the current king of the Edson New Hampshire music scene. He has made himself into a replica of Henry at the peak of his career, mimicking his playing style, his gestures, even singing Henry's songs. He does not acknowledge Henry's influence publicly. Pope plans to move the New York and try for the brass ring. Caroline is one of the many young women whom Pope is seeing.

A singer songwriter that has made it big, Tyler Beckett, based on Morrissey's friend, Suzanne Vega, asks Morrissey's alter ego, Henry to come down to New York and co-write some songs for her next album. I doubt that Suzanne Vega ever made this kind of offer to Bill.

Henry has to choose between dragging his guitar out from under the bed and going off to write songs with Tyler or taking Pope's job pumping gas at a gas station in Edson. Believe it or not, this is a hard choice for him. The novel ends with Henry snowed in in a Connecticut Motel 6, drinking in his room.

Bill Morrissey died in a motel room this past July. He was alone, on tour and drinking in his room. Heart disease is the listed cause of death. It wasn't snowing.

This post is in the 81st
Book Review Blog Carnival

Published at Addicted to Media


Post a Comment

Comments will be moderated - so keep your comments moderate!

OpenID users will have their blog links again, yay!