Thursday, October 4, 2012

Carol Miller - Up All Night: My Life and Times in Rock Radio

I picked up Carol Miller's autobiography, Up All Night: My Life and Times in Rock Radio for the Led Zeppelin stories. Miller has been a staple of the New York radio waves since the early 70's, founded the much copied radio format Get The Led Out and was for her entire career the go-to Led Zeppelin DJ in New York. Her book would have, one could be sure, lots of Stories of debauchery and mayhem from backstage at Madison Square Garden, no doubt.582887706

One would be wrong, and on the Led Zeppelin front, Miller's book is a disappointment. Which is not to say it is not a good book.

First, the Zeppelin content, or lack thereof. While Miller was the Zeppelin DJ in New York and dated both Paul Stanley and Stephen Tyler, she never actually met the band in their heyday. Part of this was intentional, as the bands reputation preceded them, even early on, and she was not enthusiastic about getting caught in their web.

Her Zeppelin stories are really later, and mostly concern Robert Plant: for Live Aid she was working for Entertainment Tonight doing live on-camera interviews and, as such, had first access to the artists after they performed. Plant's first words to her where that he had just called home to England and his daughter told him their performance "was less than stellar." Ouch!



Later she would run into him at a club in New York with an Indian woman named Shirley:

"Strange, I momentarily thought. Didn't I read that Plant's wife of Indian background, Maureen, had a sister named Shirley?"

As much as the book disappoints from a Led Zeppelin perspective, it is an interesting, well written autobiography. Miller walks you through her life, including a failed marriage, a few interesting relationships and a battle with cancer. If you are looking for dirt on the 70's rock scene, Miller is, in fact, scrupulously fair to everyone in the book, and nobody comes off really poorly. It speaks well of her as a human being but must have drove her publishers and editors nuts.

But for the reader interested in the 70's and 80's New York rock scene, the rise of rock, and then classic rock, radio and MTV, it's an entertaining read, even if it doesn't spill any blood.



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