PanThe Observer (UK)... this biography feels desperately passe ... No one expects a woke counter-narrative running alongside every scene, but Rees’s choice of material, without proper interrogation of its context and impact, often makes this a deeply uncomfortable read ... It’s a shame when some of Entwistle’s early writings—when he’s not talking about himself—are full of colourful details on what Britain was like after the war ... What fertile ground for mining the musician’s mind. It remains untouched ... This book doesn’t quite convey how thrilling the Who’s music, and Entwistle’s urgent, virtuosic bass-playing, could be ... details stack up without comment, presented alongside remarks from people such as the Who’s former tour manager John \'Wiggy\' Wolff saying Entwistle was \'very moral, very upstanding.\' If we are meant to read more between the lines, it isn’t clear: in 2020, it just reads as depressing and obsolete ... If Entwistle was the last of the great rock stars, then good riddance. Let’s hope music memoirs of this nature go the same way.
RaveThe GuardianThere’s little bravado here, and many moments of poignancy, such as when the very young Jones wants Diana Dors to be his mum, or when he is sent to a remand centre for reasons he has never understood. His book’s title speaks volumes, although these stories are told without sadness ... Through the fame years, Lonely Boy is often eye-wateringly funny (it is brilliantly and unapologetically ghostwritten by Ben Thompson – Jones is dyslexic, but went through edits) ... His book’s a delight.
PositiveThe GuardianAs the sole author of Set the Boy Free, his voice is romantic not rowdy, more cosmic than chaotic ... Marr’s meeting with Morrissey – the biggest selling point of this book – is approached sweetly...He writes with palpable joy about their friendship and music, a mood often ignored in light of the band’s messy split ... But Set the Boy Free is much more than an obituary for a brilliant band. It’s also a love letter to the women in Marr’s life – his wife Angie, whom he met at 15, and musicians such as Kirsty MacColl and Chrissie Hynde.
PositiveThe GuardianSimon’s tone throughout is surprisingly heavy for someone who often appeared like a carefree, music biz boom-time girl. It can get overblown over matters of the heart, too: her tumultuous relationship with ex-husband James Taylor is likened in florid detail to the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. But for the most part, the book reveals her experiences clinically and compellingly, subtly showing us how canny and clever she is.
PanThe GuardianThe pace of the book is erratic, though, lagging tediously at times, accelerating wildly at others. It feels like it needed a tougher editor.