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Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls: Women, Music, and Fame

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An intimate, critical look at the lives of female musicians by a famed music journalist, based on new interviews with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Adele, Bette Midler, Sade, and more From the effects of fame on family and vice versa to motherhood and drugs, sex, and romance, Lisa Robinson has discussed every taboo topic with nearly every significant living female artist to pass thro An intimate, critical look at the lives of female musicians by a famed music journalist, based on new interviews with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Adele, Bette Midler, Sade, and more From the effects of fame on family and vice versa to motherhood and drugs, sex, and romance, Lisa Robinson has discussed every taboo topic with nearly every significant living female artist to pass through the pages of Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Here, in Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls, her interviews with and observations of fabulous female pop and rock stars, from Tina Turner and Alanis Morrissette to Rihanna, show how these powerhouse women, all with vastly different life experiences, fell in love with music, seized their ambitions, and changed pop culture. Grouped by topic, ranging from hair and makeup to sexual and emotional abuse, Robinson’s interviews reveal each individual artist’s sense of humor, private hopes, and personal devastations—along with the grit and fire that brought each woman to the stage in the first place and empowered her to leave her mark on the world.


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An intimate, critical look at the lives of female musicians by a famed music journalist, based on new interviews with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Adele, Bette Midler, Sade, and more From the effects of fame on family and vice versa to motherhood and drugs, sex, and romance, Lisa Robinson has discussed every taboo topic with nearly every significant living female artist to pass thro An intimate, critical look at the lives of female musicians by a famed music journalist, based on new interviews with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Adele, Bette Midler, Sade, and more From the effects of fame on family and vice versa to motherhood and drugs, sex, and romance, Lisa Robinson has discussed every taboo topic with nearly every significant living female artist to pass through the pages of Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Here, in Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls, her interviews with and observations of fabulous female pop and rock stars, from Tina Turner and Alanis Morrissette to Rihanna, show how these powerhouse women, all with vastly different life experiences, fell in love with music, seized their ambitions, and changed pop culture. Grouped by topic, ranging from hair and makeup to sexual and emotional abuse, Robinson’s interviews reveal each individual artist’s sense of humor, private hopes, and personal devastations—along with the grit and fire that brought each woman to the stage in the first place and empowered her to leave her mark on the world.

30 review for Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls: Women, Music, and Fame

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    Lisa, perhaps the reason no one ever asked you about the girls is because they know you're that particular kind of monster - a female misogynist who picks and chooses who she thinks is worthy of accolades and praise and then shits on all the others. Had I remembered that I had read your previous book and HATED it, I might not have gotten this from the library. But I did and I read it quickly since it is nothing more than random snippets of transcribed interviews from the 1970s to the 2010s hapaza Lisa, perhaps the reason no one ever asked you about the girls is because they know you're that particular kind of monster - a female misogynist who picks and chooses who she thinks is worthy of accolades and praise and then shits on all the others. Had I remembered that I had read your previous book and HATED it, I might not have gotten this from the library. But I did and I read it quickly since it is nothing more than random snippets of transcribed interviews from the 1970s to the 2010s hapazardly scattered into chapters with headings like "Fame" and "Business." Ladies in music, make sure you never evince one iota of ambition or Lisa will shit all over you, too.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    DNF at page 94. I had really hoped this would be a positive experience. From the synopsis, it sounded like it would be a tribute to the women in music who are almost always overshadowed by their male counterparts. Sadly, it comes off as nothing more than a gossipy tell-all by someone who perpetuates the very misogyny she claims to be fighting. Robinson clearly has her favorites in the business, which is fine - she's entitled to her opinions - but to write other artists off as talentless hacks is DNF at page 94. I had really hoped this would be a positive experience. From the synopsis, it sounded like it would be a tribute to the women in music who are almost always overshadowed by their male counterparts. Sadly, it comes off as nothing more than a gossipy tell-all by someone who perpetuates the very misogyny she claims to be fighting. Robinson clearly has her favorites in the business, which is fine - she's entitled to her opinions - but to write other artists off as talentless hacks is just mean. At the very least, she could acknowledge the drive and ambition these women have, thereby lifting them up instead of treating them just as badly as the men in the music business do. I may not like or listen to a certain artist's music, but I can sure as hell respect her struggle to make it in show business.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christa Maurice

    DNF. At about 30% I realized this book touting itself to be pro-woman was nothing but a judgmental laundry list meant to air the writer's credentials. DNF. At about 30% I realized this book touting itself to be pro-woman was nothing but a judgmental laundry list meant to air the writer's credentials.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    I was looking forward to this book and was beyond disappointed. I thought this book would shed a positive light on female musicians/celebrities and how many of them are badass females being over shadowed by the men and trying to break the glass ceiling...however it was anything but that. Shame on the author Lisa Robinson for writing this horrendous book that brings women down and whoever her publicist was for letting this book sell. Lisa came off as a miserable music journalist who has been in t I was looking forward to this book and was beyond disappointed. I thought this book would shed a positive light on female musicians/celebrities and how many of them are badass females being over shadowed by the men and trying to break the glass ceiling...however it was anything but that. Shame on the author Lisa Robinson for writing this horrendous book that brings women down and whoever her publicist was for letting this book sell. Lisa came off as a miserable music journalist who has been in the business to long, hates the world and every female musician in the industry. This book is sad gossip putting female celebrities down for being fat, unattractive, talentless, bashing because they have endorsements/branding, ageist and it goes on and on. Can you say misogyny. Sorry to my fellow book clubbers if you had to spend money on this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This was disappointing. The author's decision to break up her chapters by themes means she provides little snippets of information about a lot of female musicians but not very much depth about any one of them. Yeah, we get it - being a woman in a male-dominated music world is hard. Appearance is overly emphasized. There's a double standard about sex for men and women. It's hard to maintain a relationship when you're a famous musician, and it's hard to stay popular when you're an aging female mus This was disappointing. The author's decision to break up her chapters by themes means she provides little snippets of information about a lot of female musicians but not very much depth about any one of them. Yeah, we get it - being a woman in a male-dominated music world is hard. Appearance is overly emphasized. There's a double standard about sex for men and women. It's hard to maintain a relationship when you're a famous musician, and it's hard to stay popular when you're an aging female musician. Tell me something I don't know. Robinson also seems to have a personal grudge against Madonna and Taylor Swift, viewing both of them as fame-hungry hacks without any real talent. She's allowed to have her opinions, I guess, but a) I don't agree with her and b) she's unnecessarily cruel and dismissive of two women who, for better or worse, have both changed the landscape of popular music. There are a few musicians who get a slightly deeper focus than the others, including Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell and Sheryl Crow. I wish Robinson had written a book that examined the lives and musical histories of these three greats instead of this scattershot hodgepodge that only skims the surface. I understand that Robinson's late husband digitized thousands of hours of interviews that she used for the book, and in some ways the book feels like a tribute to his work, but she could have made the book much stronger with some judicial editing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    2.5 stars. Eh, not really any new and/or interesting insights on what its like to be a woman music industry - past and present. To me, this book was just a compilation of all the Wikipedia pages and articles that I've already read about female musicians and their careers & personal lives. I would agree with the criticism of this book for being misogynistic (a clear hint is that she chose the title to include the word "Girls," as opposed to "Women"). I thought this would be a progressive analysis 2.5 stars. Eh, not really any new and/or interesting insights on what its like to be a woman music industry - past and present. To me, this book was just a compilation of all the Wikipedia pages and articles that I've already read about female musicians and their careers & personal lives. I would agree with the criticism of this book for being misogynistic (a clear hint is that she chose the title to include the word "Girls," as opposed to "Women"). I thought this would be a progressive analysis on the actual musicianship of these female artists, but it was just another shallow commentary about their looks, relationships, fame, etc.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenna McDonald

    Lisa Robinson, I am really glad nobody ever asked you about the girls (and I hope we continue not to) because you are a condescending misogynist who loves to shame other women (for being ambitious, for having children, for what they wear, for having sex....). This reads like a long winded (extremely subjective/biased/SUPERFICIAL) gossip mag. Do not read this. You will come out a shittier human if you do.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Armand Rosamilia

    Great insight into women in music, and the uphill battle they face in the man's world of music. Some great stories the author shares, and her not-so-subtle negativity about certain singers (Madonna, Taylor Swift, etc.) was fun to read. She pulls no punches and gets the real personality and inside scoop on a lot of the artists interviewed over the years. Great insight into women in music, and the uphill battle they face in the man's world of music. Some great stories the author shares, and her not-so-subtle negativity about certain singers (Madonna, Taylor Swift, etc.) was fun to read. She pulls no punches and gets the real personality and inside scoop on a lot of the artists interviewed over the years.

  9. 4 out of 5

    TinaGav

    Lisa is a misogynist. So this book is awful.

  10. 4 out of 5

    LAPL Reads

    With more than 40 years covering the world of rock music, chronicler and journalist Lisa Robinson knows very well what the situation was and is for female musicians who perform and record in this genre. She wrote about the rock music scene in her memoir, There goes gravity : a life in rock and roll, and it was all about the guys. She seems to have been witness at the creation for many a career, performance, disaster or misdeed. It all began in 1969 when she met her future husband, Richard Robins With more than 40 years covering the world of rock music, chronicler and journalist Lisa Robinson knows very well what the situation was and is for female musicians who perform and record in this genre. She wrote about the rock music scene in her memoir, There goes gravity : a life in rock and roll, and it was all about the guys. She seems to have been witness at the creation for many a career, performance, disaster or misdeed. It all began in 1969 when she met her future husband, Richard Robinson, whose writing gig he asked her to take over. Ever since she has been watching and listening, with her work published in numerous magazines. There were some women on the scene as performers, frequently as backup singers, but it was a world of male performers. The music was rock, with a way of life that took pride in rockin' it hard: raucous, irresponsible and often ignited by drugs and alcohol, on stage and off. Since nobody ever asked, Robinson took it upon herself to present what women rock musicians think and feel about their personal lives and work as performers. One thing is clear, which will not surprise any woman, gender discrimination still exists and in its most insidious form, how women's appearance and behavior are judged above and beyond their talent. After a performance, when the guys relax and carouse, it is cheered and praised, but if the women do it, they are denigrated. The women know it, and will rein in and temper their own inclinations. The world of rock has been as sacrosanct and closed as football. However, Robinson says, "No matter how tough it's been these women all took risks, faced rejection, and made something happen. All while being--to paraphrase a Joni MItchell song title--frail and cast iron." With clarity and justification, she is definitive in her analysis of why she likes or does not like certain musicians. Her take on Madonna and Lady Gaga are examples of that candor. In the efforts to appear young, she states there is a time when too much plastic surgery has rendered some of these women unrecognizable. Age and time are reflected in how the industry itself has no patience or endurance. Diane Ross says, " ... if you can make money for them, the business is there for you. When we started, artists were geared for longevity. Now they throw someone out there and if it makes money, great. If not, on to the next one." Lisa Robinson is still excited and curious about rock music, with a new podcast on SiriusXM, and has her eye on how the women musicians are keeping on, "Things are better for these women now. Not enough. But better." Reviewed by Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marie Warner

    There are some fascinating stories in this book, but there are also a lot of strange and offensive remarks by the author that undermine the whole theme of the book. The amount of times she feels the need to very specifically dig at Madonna is baffling. You love Joni Mitchell, we get it. So do I! But the constant harping on certain women feels immature at best and often straight up offensive. I’m not familiar with the writers other work. Maybe there’s meant to be a very arch, sarcastic tone but i There are some fascinating stories in this book, but there are also a lot of strange and offensive remarks by the author that undermine the whole theme of the book. The amount of times she feels the need to very specifically dig at Madonna is baffling. You love Joni Mitchell, we get it. So do I! But the constant harping on certain women feels immature at best and often straight up offensive. I’m not familiar with the writers other work. Maybe there’s meant to be a very arch, sarcastic tone but it doesn’t read that way.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Rayman

    The author clearly is an established music journalist and critic. Her expertise is there. Her writing is okay. This book was, quite honestly, about nothing. The chapters were based on subjects such as “Age”, “Sex” and “Business” and offered quaint anecdotes and quotes from women singers she has interviewed over the years. It’s interesting enough, but again she really does not offer anything of substance other than a plethora of quotes from these women strung together to kind of relate to the top The author clearly is an established music journalist and critic. Her expertise is there. Her writing is okay. This book was, quite honestly, about nothing. The chapters were based on subjects such as “Age”, “Sex” and “Business” and offered quaint anecdotes and quotes from women singers she has interviewed over the years. It’s interesting enough, but again she really does not offer anything of substance other than a plethora of quotes from these women strung together to kind of relate to the topic of the chapter. Based on her commentary, she clearly believes that some women artists are superior to others. She remarks that she isn’t interested in ever interviewing Taylor Swift and that her repacking of albums into more marketable and therefore higher profiting albums she looks down upon. She mentions some of the obvious great artists over and over again. She called Britney Spears untalented. She also mentions making a weird antisemitic against Gene Simmons when he was a drunk asshole one time… She has a lot pf anger toward younger generations and clearly thinks millennials have no time or interest in actually listening to good music. This had the potential to be an awesome book but her personal views and poor book writing skills ruined it. She can stick to articles.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jay Gabler

    As Entertainment Weekly pointed out, the new Billie Eilish film The World's a Little Blurry is the continuation of a trend away from long-form magazine profiles and towards deep-dive authorized documentaries that allow artists to explore the same depth of storytelling — but on their own terms (and, not incidentally, to benefit their own bottom lines). If that trend continues, and there's no reason to think it won't, Lisa Robinson will remain one of the last journalists to have just casually hung As Entertainment Weekly pointed out, the new Billie Eilish film The World's a Little Blurry is the continuation of a trend away from long-form magazine profiles and towards deep-dive authorized documentaries that allow artists to explore the same depth of storytelling — but on their own terms (and, not incidentally, to benefit their own bottom lines). If that trend continues, and there's no reason to think it won't, Lisa Robinson will remain one of the last journalists to have just casually hung out with Beyoncé. Oh, and Stevie Nicks. And Rihanna, Katy Perry, Janelle Monáe, Adele, Joni Mitchell, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Tina Turner, Bette Midler, Alanis Morissette, Courtney Love, Annie Lennox, Fiona Apple, Gwen Stefani, and Chrissie Hynde. Iggy Azalea, on the other hand, may remain accessible. Robinson's also hung out with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Who, and Van Halen...but she's spent enough time talking about those guys, she writes in the prologue to her aptly-titled book. I reviewed Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls for The Current.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    The internalized misogyny in this book is grating. The author also clearly has no journalistic neutrality, she clearly has favorite artists. She takes pot shots at Taylor Swift for a focus on being successful, especially as a teenager (making sure we knew TSwift had buck teeth as a kid), while lauding Beyoncé for the same (with a dig that maybe marrying Jay-Z was strategic), bags on Lady Gaga and others for having extremely crafted public personae while bemoaning a lack of privacy, lauds the nat The internalized misogyny in this book is grating. The author also clearly has no journalistic neutrality, she clearly has favorite artists. She takes pot shots at Taylor Swift for a focus on being successful, especially as a teenager (making sure we knew TSwift had buck teeth as a kid), while lauding Beyoncé for the same (with a dig that maybe marrying Jay-Z was strategic), bags on Lady Gaga and others for having extremely crafted public personae while bemoaning a lack of privacy, lauds the natural unpolished look of Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell while being openly ageist about Madonna and Cher (and Britney, too, for some reason) and branding and makeup and hair styling and god knows what. Plus the sheer Janet Jackson erasure when she talks about the rise of the music video era. The last straw for me was when she basically gave a “hey, it was the time period, a lot of us put up with it, I didn’t want to lose my access” excuse when talking about abuse, sexual assault, and me too and how shit happened with groupies in the 70s and 80s and I decided I could not with the book anymore. Life’s too short for shitty books (luckily this was a galley, I hadn’t spent money on it)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    This would have been a solid 4, perhaps even 5, if not for the sneering comments about several A+++ artists whom the author clearly has no respect for. Doesn't the male dominated industry and music press do this enough to women? In this case, perhaps the Thumper rule should have been applied: “If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all.” While women shouldn't be exempt from criticism, it felt unnecessary and mean-spirited to criticize certain artists for doing the exact same thing This would have been a solid 4, perhaps even 5, if not for the sneering comments about several A+++ artists whom the author clearly has no respect for. Doesn't the male dominated industry and music press do this enough to women? In this case, perhaps the Thumper rule should have been applied: “If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all.” While women shouldn't be exempt from criticism, it felt unnecessary and mean-spirited to criticize certain artists for doing the exact same things that the author praised others for.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anita Fajita Pita

    4.5 This is an amazing book. It's a compilation, a culmination of not only Lisa Robinson's life work as a music writer and interviewer, but of the many artists she's interviewed over her (30?40? year long) career. The greatest thing about this book, imo, is that is a written record of female artists in their own words for the past 40-ish years. This is archive material. It is musical history. "In the more than a thousand interviews I've done with women, I've heard all their stories. The paths th 4.5 This is an amazing book. It's a compilation, a culmination of not only Lisa Robinson's life work as a music writer and interviewer, but of the many artists she's interviewed over her (30?40? year long) career. The greatest thing about this book, imo, is that is a written record of female artists in their own words for the past 40-ish years. This is archive material. It is musical history. "In the more than a thousand interviews I've done with women, I've heard all their stories. The paths they took were different. The level of talent was different. Their luck was different. The effect of success or failure on their lives was different. But their goals and struggles were often similar. To be heard. To be seen. To be loved. To be famous." We get to hear from artists like Bette Midler, Mary J. Blige, Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell, Adele, Mariah Carey, Madonna on a swath of topics ranging from sexual freedom to sexual harassment. Success, failure, gains and losses. We hear about their families, their businesses, their empires. Their hard work and blood, sweat and tears. We learn things about Alicia Keys, Brittney Spears, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston. Robinson covers Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and JLo. She even has some scathing commentary about specific artists (and even how the term is used to loosely) and serious side-eye opinions about Taylor Swift. I don't know what that's about, but Robinson's observations and opinions added a good dash of flavor to this info dump of musical history. Because the book is broken up into topics rather than artists, it takes a while of getting through the book to feel like you've gotten anywhere in time. But it is there, time goes on even though the commentary jumps from the 70's through the late aughts. Another amazing quality of the book is reading about artists who were influenced by other artists who we also get to read about in this book. We get to read about Adele breaking down in the presence of Stevie Nicks, and later about how Stevie Nicks would lay on her bedroom floor for 10 days listening to a new Joni Mitchell album - and reading about how Joni Mitchell was passed over during a jam session, being the only woman in the room, but applauded in the theater during a screening of Rolling Thunder Revue, Scorsese's film about Bob Dylan's 1975 tour. It's multi-generational. Granted the generations may spawn faster in the music industry, but it is wonderful to have compiled and connected here. And even though this is a book about the women of music, of course through them, we learn things about many of the men in the music industry as well -the good, the bad, and the (though they're never called it) ugly. Would absolutely recommend to any fan of music, female musicians, musical history at all, non-fiction, or any fan of the MANY artists written about and quoted within -many more than mentioned in my review. Thank you to Henry Holt and Co. for providing me with an e-copy via Netgalley.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karey

    This book was meh. I like Lisa Robinson and she is an inspiring female journalist who held her own during a time where many women weren't invited to the table. She has been one of the great music journalists for the last four decades and her writing is better than this book. The book itself is broken up into 10 parts and shares the journey of female artists within each of these paradigms. All snippets of interviews she's had with artists such as; Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Rhianna This book was meh. I like Lisa Robinson and she is an inspiring female journalist who held her own during a time where many women weren't invited to the table. She has been one of the great music journalists for the last four decades and her writing is better than this book. The book itself is broken up into 10 parts and shares the journey of female artists within each of these paradigms. All snippets of interviews she's had with artists such as; Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Rhianna, Adele, and all the big names in between. Sharing how these women reflected on fame, children, marriage, their image, being managed, etc. The best part was listening to the audio and listening to Ms. Robinson tell you how she really feels about Madonna and Taylor Swift (which is sassy and hilarious). I also made a new epic playlist of all women singers based on the things I learned.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    Closer to 3.75 -not quite four stars. This compendium of sound bites from women musicians provided the same entertainment that you’d derive from reading gossip columns. Good stuff here and there; shade thrown about at times. Truthfully though, I found myself wondering or leafing back to what year this or that was said, so even though this was released in 2020. The book’s feed-type structure made it seem the comments were current, other than the archival treasure trove Lisa’s 5000+ hours of interv Closer to 3.75 -not quite four stars. This compendium of sound bites from women musicians provided the same entertainment that you’d derive from reading gossip columns. Good stuff here and there; shade thrown about at times. Truthfully though, I found myself wondering or leafing back to what year this or that was said, so even though this was released in 2020. The book’s feed-type structure made it seem the comments were current, other than the archival treasure trove Lisa’s 5000+ hours of interviews actually is. I’m a big admirer of Lisa’s work (I had a big collection of Creem, Hit Parader, and Crawdaddys under my bed as a kid.) And although this is super readable and enjoyable, I’m afraid Lisa sold herself short in this one. I think she can offer a lot more insight on women’s changing roles and tactical strategies in the music industry. Will we everget past physical appearances? It doesn’t seem to affect Keith Richards’ career! Lisa has the data, and this book sparks a lot of questions she could, and I think should, try to answer in a deeper dive.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Lisa Robinson is an incredible music journalist who's covered basically every musician you could think of - including and especially the big names - since 1969. I don't even want to list how many celebrities she name-drops, because the list would be endless - the point is, if you've heard them on the radio, Lisa probably knows them. The book begins with this fantastic line: "Nobody ever asked me about the girls. Until now." The premise is that, in her decades-long career writing about musicians, Lisa Robinson is an incredible music journalist who's covered basically every musician you could think of - including and especially the big names - since 1969. I don't even want to list how many celebrities she name-drops, because the list would be endless - the point is, if you've heard them on the radio, Lisa probably knows them. The book begins with this fantastic line: "Nobody ever asked me about the girls. Until now." The premise is that, in her decades-long career writing about musicians, people always asked Robinson about the big stars - What was it like meeting Michael Jackson? Is Jay-Z normal? Tell me about Mick Jagger! Yet no one asked her about the girls - the women who have had history-making careers, both big and small, despite those women having to overcome many obstacles of not only breaking into a male-dominated industry, but dealing with the challenges of love and life and kids while doing it. Women musicians have blown up lately, with figures like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and more topping the charts without fail. Robinson brings insights from these modern stars, but also from the stars of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, like Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, etc. She's spent probably thousands of hours getting to know the biggest musicians of our days, not just through interviews, but really getting to know them as people, as women, as wives and mothers and individuals. Nobody is better suited to tell this story than Lisa Robinson. The book is organized by theme rather than by artist - instead of giving linear biographies of the dozens of women musicians in the book, Robinson structures the narrative around their shared struggles. Although the paths and directions that these women took to get to where they are now differed, many of the issues they had to deal with are similar. She discusses the topics we hear about often - hair and makeup, body image, fame, sex, and drugs - and many that are intensely private and difficult - abuse, motherhood, love and marriage. She doesn't just tell you what the tabloids and newspapers tell you - she gets into the details of what's often not revealed to the public, the private struggles that women have to go through to try to balance fame and public recognition with their own personal growth and success. Overall, if you like music and you like women, this is probably one of the defining books about the intersection of these two topics. You'll certainly learn something new and come away with a greater respect for women in this industry. Thank you to the publisher for the ARC via Netgalley!

  20. 4 out of 5

    gjdmama

    I have really mixed feelings about this book. In some ways, it was a feminist work about the challenges faced by women in the boys’ club of the music world, but, at the same time, when some of the misogyny seems to come from the author…. I enjoyed interesting insights from a nice variety of artists. I was a bit turned off by the author’s snark and clear dislike of certain artists and fawning praise of others. She also gave the impression (or tried to) that these people were her friends and that I have really mixed feelings about this book. In some ways, it was a feminist work about the challenges faced by women in the boys’ club of the music world, but, at the same time, when some of the misogyny seems to come from the author…. I enjoyed interesting insights from a nice variety of artists. I was a bit turned off by the author’s snark and clear dislike of certain artists and fawning praise of others. She also gave the impression (or tried to) that these people were her friends and that they somehow gave her info in interviews that is never heard by anyone else. The opening chapter gave me the impression that each chapter would be a topic and words of various artists would tell their view on such things. While the book was divided up that way, more and more of the content became author commentary which, perhaps, I should have expected from a journalist. At times I thought “ooh, let’s give it a 5” and then “WTF? Give it a 3.” And that’s how I settled on a good solid 4.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vnunez-Ms_luv2read

    I do not feel I can give this book the review it deserves. This book was awesome!!! To read about female artists in their own words, of how the were treated and what they had to deal with to do what they felt in their souls that they wanted to do. Lots of name dropping, in a good way. After reading this book, I hope the industry has changed some for female artists, but if we look at the news today, we know it has not. Very well written and engrossing. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publ I do not feel I can give this book the review it deserves. This book was awesome!!! To read about female artists in their own words, of how the were treated and what they had to deal with to do what they felt in their souls that they wanted to do. Lots of name dropping, in a good way. After reading this book, I hope the industry has changed some for female artists, but if we look at the news today, we know it has not. Very well written and engrossing. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the arc of this book in return for my honest review. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on this review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    In my teenage years I wanted to be Lisa Robinson. She was a rock and roll reporter who seemed to know every rock star, as well as the burgeoning ones. She attended concerts and parties and got to write about it. I read her first memoir "There Goes Gravity", and enjoyed it, though it was noticeably missing few mentions of the women in rock. This book seems to want to fix that, but it is so horribly put together that justice is not done. Robinson has some great takes on the sexism and misogyny wom In my teenage years I wanted to be Lisa Robinson. She was a rock and roll reporter who seemed to know every rock star, as well as the burgeoning ones. She attended concerts and parties and got to write about it. I read her first memoir "There Goes Gravity", and enjoyed it, though it was noticeably missing few mentions of the women in rock. This book seems to want to fix that, but it is so horribly put together that justice is not done. Robinson has some great takes on the sexism and misogyny women faced, but they are interspersed with many seemingly random paragraphs. There is no cohesion, making the book hard to read because it is so jumbled. She is a good writer, but this book calls out for a great editor. Some great themes are buried, it would have been nice to have a book about the obstacles women in rock faced, as well as some thoughts about the future.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    This is fascinating if scattershot, covering a lifetime's celebrity interviews with women of pop, rock, and related musics. I think I started reading the author in Creem magazine, as her byline was always near the successful acts in rock music, especially as punk came around. But it's interesting to read her reflect, though these thematic chapters are brief. I'd be interested in hearing from another music fan who's read this: your mileage may vary. Mildly recommended. Thanks for the loan, Fulton C This is fascinating if scattershot, covering a lifetime's celebrity interviews with women of pop, rock, and related musics. I think I started reading the author in Creem magazine, as her byline was always near the successful acts in rock music, especially as punk came around. But it's interesting to read her reflect, though these thematic chapters are brief. I'd be interested in hearing from another music fan who's read this: your mileage may vary. Mildly recommended. Thanks for the loan, Fulton County Public Library.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex Dibona

    The interview author did with Rick Rubin to promote this book is far better then the book itself. The author has interviewed the biggest names in music but this book’s execution is incredibly poor. The book consists of almost entirely random quotes an from famous ppl and random information. For example, there is a roughly one page biography of Marianne faithful that’s followed by a quote from Alanis morrisette on how she wanted to control her own career to the author’s thoughts on monogamy. This The interview author did with Rick Rubin to promote this book is far better then the book itself. The author has interviewed the biggest names in music but this book’s execution is incredibly poor. The book consists of almost entirely random quotes an from famous ppl and random information. For example, there is a roughly one page biography of Marianne faithful that’s followed by a quote from Alanis morrisette on how she wanted to control her own career to the author’s thoughts on monogamy. This is supposed to be in a chapter about sex. The entire book goes on like this. There are of course interesting bits but this book should have been rewritten and re-edited completely before publishing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Alternate Title: “Nobody ever asked me about the girls, so I’ll write a catty, condescending compilation book with the journalistic integrity of a tumbleweed and the emotional intelligence of a tin can.”

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alycia Socia

    This book was written by a woman “of her time” that wasn’t able to shed her misogynistic perception. she is a beacon in the industry but it’s hard to hear this in 2021.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Adams

    3.5-ish stars. Read this for my book club. I enjoyed this relatively breezy read - it's organized into thematic chapters ("drugs," "fame," "age," etc) which are each a series of anecdotes from the author's many-decades-long career in music journalism. I likened the read to having a relative who works in the entertainment industry get really drunk at a family dinner and spill all the beans. This format was easy to consume, and i especially liked the accounts from acts from "before my time" as, I s 3.5-ish stars. Read this for my book club. I enjoyed this relatively breezy read - it's organized into thematic chapters ("drugs," "fame," "age," etc) which are each a series of anecdotes from the author's many-decades-long career in music journalism. I likened the read to having a relative who works in the entertainment industry get really drunk at a family dinner and spill all the beans. This format was easy to consume, and i especially liked the accounts from acts from "before my time" as, I suspect, did the author herself. She clearly has her favorites, and she likewise was not shy about denigrating certain "artists" (a term she in fact disdains - she thinks it confers too much self importance on its recipients, lol). I did wonder if Madonna had wounded her in some deep and personal way; her criticisms of dear old Madge were particularly prevalent and spiteful. Which leads me to the two main issues with the book: 1) Though its structure and format made for easy reading, it didn't exactly follow any kind of narrative through-line. The book didn't follow any real cohesive theme (besides its focus on women singers); it's more of an anthology of anecdotes, and 2) The title of the book implied a different read. What does it mean? From the content and the author's occasional commentary, I surmised the book's objective is to underscore the often distinct experience of famous women singers. It was not, however, any real treatise on sexism in music journalism or the music industry as a whole. And, arguably, the degree to which she inveighs against the naked ambition of Taylor Swift, or the decision by some artists to "dress like a stripper," or even her attribution of women's increased discretion about drug use to increased vanity, guilt, and shame- are all arguably pretty sexist in their own right. None of this is to say I don't recommend this book - in fact, i do! It was an enjoyable read. And I sincerely hope that if she does read the bad reviews, it doesn't ruin *her* life.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I’ve read Lisa Robinson’s articles in Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone and have always enjoyed them. This book is supposed to be about the women of rock who always take a back seat, and you’d think that Robinson would have insight into and empathy for the lives of her sisters. Instead she judges them: talks about who’s fat, who needs work done, empirically, without any subtlety of language. She writes like a man, and maybe that’s what it takes to succeed in what has been a male-dominated world for I’ve read Lisa Robinson’s articles in Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone and have always enjoyed them. This book is supposed to be about the women of rock who always take a back seat, and you’d think that Robinson would have insight into and empathy for the lives of her sisters. Instead she judges them: talks about who’s fat, who needs work done, empirically, without any subtlety of language. She writes like a man, and maybe that’s what it takes to succeed in what has been a male-dominated world for so long: skewering her subjects. When she says that Taylor Swift is “no Joni Mitchell “ she sounds like a boomer, and I guess she is one. Also, while the chapters are arranged thematically, she jumps around from subject to subject, not leaving much time for a developed narrative. This book feels like a list with bullet points.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Khalia

    I don't interpret misogyny from this book. I do see that Ms. Robinson disapproves of women not aging gracefully, although she acknowledges this feat comes with difficulty. Sometimes, I'll read an article online from Vanity Fair. Even with those excursions, I had not heard of Lisa Robinson. The more you know. I read this book gleefully. It's not gossipy but there's plenty of succulent anecdotes to keep you enthralled. I became aware of this book from browsing the catalog of my public library. So I don't interpret misogyny from this book. I do see that Ms. Robinson disapproves of women not aging gracefully, although she acknowledges this feat comes with difficulty. Sometimes, I'll read an article online from Vanity Fair. Even with those excursions, I had not heard of Lisa Robinson. The more you know. I read this book gleefully. It's not gossipy but there's plenty of succulent anecdotes to keep you enthralled. I became aware of this book from browsing the catalog of my public library. So blessed to live in a country with abundance of public libraries!!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paula’s Not So Secret Diary

    Rock journalist Lisa Robinson combed through more than 5,000 hours of interviews she conducted over her 40 year career with artists ranging from Beyoncé to Joni Mitchell to create this insightful view into the lives of women in the music business. She wrote the book in response to questions from people about the male rock stars and musicians she interviewed, but seldom if ever asked about female artists - some of whom are more gifted than their male counterparts. Chapters are organized by themes Rock journalist Lisa Robinson combed through more than 5,000 hours of interviews she conducted over her 40 year career with artists ranging from Beyoncé to Joni Mitchell to create this insightful view into the lives of women in the music business. She wrote the book in response to questions from people about the male rock stars and musicians she interviewed, but seldom if ever asked about female artists - some of whom are more gifted than their male counterparts. Chapters are organized by themes - such as Age, Abuse, Reviews and Stage Fright, Make up - to shed light on the obstacles female musicians and singers face that their male counterparts seldom encounter. For example, Ms. Robinson notes that until MTV came along, photo shoots did not involve makeup, wardrobe, etc., they were informal, and artists were photographed in the moment.. With MTV, more pressure was placed on artists to appear perfect. That pressure has increased to the point where record labels are reluctant to sign new female artists in order to avoid spending huge sums on the makeup, wardrobe, etc, it takes to create and sustain a flawless and impossibly perfect social media presence. Ms. Robinson brings these artists’ s perspectives - some of them legends like Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner and Linda Ronstandt - to a level many can relate to as they recall navigating a male dominated field that has not changed its views about women in spite of the ways in which music distribution, sales tabulation and marketing has changed so drastically in the digital era. Written prior to the events that launched the #MeToo movement, Ms. Robinson does not shy away from discussing how women are mistreated, or the sexual harassment she witnessed, heard about and experienced. She asks herself if she was complicit - a complicated question as, like so many women, she could have lost her career if she reported anyone, including Ahment Ertogan, who fondled her. Keeping readers engaged are Ms. Robinson’s personal viewpoints about the music industry and particular artists: Madonna is definitely not a favorite, and she is clear on her lack of interest in interviewing Taylor Swift. Additionally, Ms. Robinson notes that the industry has not advanced in terms of equitable treatment of women due to a lack of female executives, critics and journalists. This is thoughtful and relatable examination of an industry that demands so much of women, even after they have achieved a certain level of success and status. Readers who enjoy Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls should seek out The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female. Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper.

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