Author Paul Charles Author Paul Charles Author Paul Charles
Author Paul Charles
paul charles books

Christy Kennedy murder mystery bookInspector Christy Kennedy books
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Irish Murder Mysteries

Music Books

(in reverse order—latest releases at the top)

Adventures in Wonderland

Adventures in Wonderland

Adventures in Wonderland is an extraordinary true-life story, giving the most brilliant insights ever into the fascinating, often exhilarating—and sometimes even emotionally devastating—world of contemporary music at the very highest level. It is the kind of book that can change your life—and your perception of what's really important.

For so many of us music shapes our world. It becomes part of our DNA. In our hearts we aspire to writing the great song or stepping out on stage in front of a a packed arena. But it is part of the mystery of music that we don't know how—or why—a particular song will seem to get right inside out heads, or why one artist will scale the highest heights, while another can't get beyond the local pub gig.

In telling the personal story of a world leading agent, promoter, manager or songwriter, Adventures in Wonderland answers those questions in a way that no other book has ever done before.

Best Beatles Book EverORDER THE BOOK:
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Hot Press, hardcover, May 2023, ISBN: 978-0957611474


"A book defined by an abiding love of music, a deep affection for musicians—despite their occasional follies—and a clear-eyed view of the sometimes harsh realities of the music business. This may well be the best memoir of its kind yet to come out of Ireland. A very fine piece of work, and I enjoyed every minute of it."
   —John Connolly

"Adventures in Wonderland is a fabulously entertaining book from a writer who's been there and done it all! A must-read for every music fan."
   —Mark Billingham

"When I had the crazy idea of running my own Festival the first thing I needed was bands to play! I got a list of agents to phone from the 'white book' but had very little luck getting what I wanted. Fortunately though, in the early 80s I had one person who actually phoned me back with two of the top bands of the day that I wanted—that was Van Morrison and Jackson Browne. That's when the festival started to take off and it was Paul Charles who helped me to make that happen."
   —Michael Eavis

"All music fans will relish this fascinating, revealing, wonderfully enjoyable memoir, which is itself the work of a lifelong fan. Full of anecdote, insight and heart."
   —Joseph O'Connor

"From working with superstar rock stars and the creme de la creme of singer-songwriters to bringing The Clash to Ireland, The Undertones to the UK, and Van Morrison into the mystic, Paul Charles knows the music business inside out—and Adventures In Wonderland spills the beans in fine style."
   —Tony Clayton-Lea (Irish Times music critic)

"This is a unique and brilliant book that recounts the fascinating journey of a young man from Magherafelt in Co. Derry to the heady heights of rock 'n' roll, in a marvellously colourful way. Throughout, Paul Charles offers penetrating insights into the music, the musicians and the stars who have entertained, inspired and influenced us all—while also making readers laugh out loud. We're really looking forward to seeing the reaction to Adventures in Wonderland. It's a book that should be read by anyone—and everyone—with an interest in music."
   —Niall Stokes

"His work with Tom Waits, Van Morrison, Jackson Browne and The Undertones (among many others) has set a benchmark for quality within the industry."
   —Colin Hall, What's On in London

"Driven by a profound love of great songs Paul Charles has worked tirelessly behind the scenes for over 40 years to promote countless memorable gigs and concerts. He has now shared his adventures in a readable amusing memoir giving an insight into the tours and characters of the artists and managers he has encountered over such a long and influential career. For those interested in the music business this book is an absolute must, and undoubtedly for the casual reader too."
   —Michael J. McDonagh, The Irish Post

"Paul Charles not only has a wealth of great stories, he's also very good at telling them. These stories really lure you in. The author has a very relaxed easy going way of telling you his stories and book has the feel of being sat in a cosy pub, listening to a good raconteur recalling events from his life. Paul Charles has written one of the most enjoyable music industry books you're like to encounter this year (and probably any other). This is a book from a man who really knows the music business and it's guaranteed to raise a smile as well as the occasional eyebrow."
   —Americana UK

"Charles writes like a Fugazi song; he makes his point then moves on. There's no showing off, it's about substance not flair. That said, it's a really well written and lucid book which is hardly surprising because Charles is also an acclaimed author of detective fiction novels. This is a fascinating book. To my mind it is one of the great pop music books, and an essential volume for anyone wanting to understand the true nature of the music industry or to teach about it."
   —Michael Mary Murphy, Journal of Punk and Post Punk

"For those interested in the music business this book is an absolute must, and undoubtedly for the casual reader too."
   —Ian Woolley, The Beat

"The stories in the book are just incredible."
   —Pamela Ballentine, UTV Live

"His stories are absolutely jaw dropping... absolutely essential read."
   —Tom Dunne

"It's a lovely account of a music agent's life,"
   —Stuart Bailie, Belfast Telegraph

"A brilliantly written memoir."
   —Pat Kenny, Newstalk

"Highly recommended, really great stories about all sorts of people. One of the things that I love about the book is the sense of the fan in the great seat of the gig."
   —Ralph McLean, BBC Radio Ulster

"A great read."
   —Johnnie Walker, BBC Radio 2 Sounds of the Seventies

"Paul Charles... one of our best."
   —BBC Radio Ulster

The Essential Beatles Book

The Essential Beatles Book

The Essential Beatles Book

On March 22nd 1963 the album Please Please Me by The Beatles was released and a worldwide, multi-cultured phenomenon exploded with Beatlemania. This landmark long-player was created by four street-wise lads from Liverpool; one classy producer and one publicity savvy manager. The album was only the first in a long line of record-breaking hits from this incredible collaboration, a collaboration responsible for completely re-writing the music-business rule book. The Beatles, George Martin and Brian Epstein were destined to become the most successful entity in the history of the entertainment business. During those ten years they broke every performance and sales record in the book. Most noticeably was in March 1964 when the top five singles in America's Billboard's top hundred sales chart were:

  1. Twist and Shout, The Beatles
  2. Can't Buy Me Love, The Beatles
  3. She Loves You, The Beatles
  4. I Want To Hold Your Hand, The Beatles
  5. Please Please Me, The Beatles

In addition to those five singles (four of which were original Lennon & McCartney songs) they also had singles at Nos 16; 44; 49; 69; 78; 84 and 88. This is a never-bettered feat. No other artist has even come close.

Now nearly 60 years later The Beatles still remain the most recognisable group on the planet. In this fact-packed book, we examine only the years The Beatles were writing, recording, performing and making movies together. Using their singles, albums, live appearances and films, as signposts, we examines the songs, the records, their colleagues and stories behind the official releases and of their decade long career as a group. We also endeavours to explain the mystery and magic of the Beatles art and their unique artistic and commercial success. In The Essential Beatles Book we celebrates a truly unique career that produced certainly three, perhaps even four, of the best albums ever released.

Best Beatles Book EverORDER THE BOOK:
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New Haven Publishing, paperback, July 2021, ISBN: 978-1912587568


"Author and musicologist Paul Charles has his excellent Fab Four primer, The Essential Beatles Book, reissued by New Haven Publishing. A treasure trove of information, it examines every aspect of their remarkable chart topping years..."
   —Hot Press Magazine

Irish Crime Writers

The Complete Guide to PLAYING LIVE book

The Complete Guide to Playing Live

An invaluable "how to" book for anyone planning to get started playing live on the gigging circuit. Covering everything from putting a band together to finding agents, managers, lawyers, accountants, promoters, and road crews, this is the ultimate manual for survival on the road.

Using sample expense sheets, Playing Live, shows where the money comes from... and, where it goes! Everything from concerts, radio and television, to merchandising, sponsorship and how to assemble your road crews.

Inspector Starrett novelsORDER THE eBOOK:
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Omnibus Press, paperback, March 2004, ISBN: 978-0711998353


"For all those who dream of being the next Beatles, Paul Charles' latest book is an absolute de riguer purchase. A step-by-step guide to making a career in rock music whilst avoiding being shafted at every turn. Playing Live is essential reading. Enlivened and enriched by Charles' down-to-earth style, dry wit and superbly delivered anecdotal insights, this comprehensive guide leaves no stone unturned in its attempt to guide bands through the pitfalls and pratfalls of 'making it'... What makes this guide essential however is that Charles really does know the business inside out. His work with Tom Waits, Van Morrison, Jackson Browne and The Undertones (among many others) has set a benchmark for quality within the industry. Playing Live is as important to a new band setting out on their career as is remembering to pack the guitar leads before heading off on their first gig."
   —(5 stars), Colin Hall, What's On In London

"The best stuff is about how to make money from playing your music and how to avoid being ripped off at every stage. If your serious about your music career this book is a wise investment."

"Most entertaining of all are the anecdotes, and it's possible to read this book without possessing an ounce of musical ambition and still enjoy it."
   —Time Out

"... every band should read."
   —The Irish Times

How To Succeed In The Music Business - Pocket Essentials

 Crime Fiction


How to succeed in the music business...

Inspector Starrett novelsORDER THE BOOK:
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Pocket Essentials, paperback, August 2002, ISBN: 978-1904048060

The best review quote:
"If you sit at home thinking: 'The music business. That's a glamorous business. Loads of girls/boys, drugs, booze and loads of dosh: I'll have a bit of that' ... then if I were you I'd think again."
   —The Evening Standard


Author Paul Charles

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