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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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    J Earl

    Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls: Women, Music and Fame by Lisa Robinson is a fascinating look at women in music and the common threads that run through so many of their stories. Music, particularly the popular music genres, is very much about the men. Even with all of the interviews Robinson did with women she comments that when people would ask her about any of the celebrities she had met it was almost exclusively about the men. This book doesn't simply rehash old interviews, it explores an Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls: Women, Music and Fame by Lisa Robinson is a fascinating look at women in music and the common threads that run through so many of their stories. Music, particularly the popular music genres, is very much about the men. Even with all of the interviews Robinson did with women she comments that when people would ask her about any of the celebrities she had met it was almost exclusively about the men. This book doesn't simply rehash old interviews, it explores and comments on the distinct obstacles and issues women in the industry faced in addition to the ones both men and women had to overcome. Organized by topic rather than either separate musicians or genres, the reader more easily sees the same desires and the same hurdles across both genre and time. In her epilogue Robinson mentions some of the changes that have begun to take place during and after the writing of the book, but the comments from these women are remarkably similar whether from the 1960s or the 2010s. I highly recommend this for readers of music history, especially rock and pop music, as well as those interested in the unique obstacles that women face that men largely never even know about. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    It's about time! Growing up I always wondered why so few of the women (Joni Mitchell, Kinda Ronstadt, Suzi Quattro, Madonna, etc...) never warranted an article in Rolling Stone, Creem, Crawdaddy...etc... Quick mentions are all I can remember. What a shame, or rather, SHAME ON THEM! So much drivel wasted on the men of rock's bad behavior. It' wonderful, and somewhat sad, but about time (!) someone has written about them who actually interviewed them. I enjoyed reading their stories! As much fun a It's about time! Growing up I always wondered why so few of the women (Joni Mitchell, Kinda Ronstadt, Suzi Quattro, Madonna, etc...) never warranted an article in Rolling Stone, Creem, Crawdaddy...etc... Quick mentions are all I can remember. What a shame, or rather, SHAME ON THEM! So much drivel wasted on the men of rock's bad behavior. It' wonderful, and somewhat sad, but about time (!) someone has written about them who actually interviewed them. I enjoyed reading their stories! As much fun as their biographies and even autobiographies. Clapton's and Richard's autobiographies left soooo much to be desired (imho. and I am a fan of both,) This book was so informative and entertaining. It gave me pause to think about how wrong women were treated in entertainment. And gave me insight as to why the entertainment industry was so lame. The corporate world of music was just so sad. I can't say I was sorry to see it taken down. I'm just glad the ladies of Rock are finally having their hour! Thank you, Ms. Robinson! great read! I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

  6. 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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robin

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  11. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caylin

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gena

  14. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Wagner

  15. 4 out of 5

    Wesley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Allen Stenger

  18. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Mcdilda

  19. 5 out of 5

    McKayla

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  21. 5 out of 5

    Victoria (RedsCat)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tony Entrekin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dani

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

  30. 5 out of 5

    charlie handy

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

  32. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

  33. 4 out of 5

    Paige Barker

  34. 4 out of 5

    oshizu

  35. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

  36. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Feraco

  37. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

  38. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Silva

  39. 4 out of 5

    ColumbusReads

  40. 5 out of 5

    Holly

  41. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  42. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Doose

  43. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  44. 4 out of 5

    Bruna Manfre

  45. 5 out of 5

    Carol

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