""The landscape of modern music is a strange place,"" writes Edwards in his introduction. However, Edwards's myth-debunking volume gives the impression that it's not as strange as some think. Chapters are organized around subjects such as song lyrics (""I Write the Songs""), deaths (""The Long Black Veil"") and the origins of album and song titles (""I Hold the Title""). Some of the rumors and mysteries Edwards untangles are old favorites, such as Paul McCartney's alleged death, Robert Johnson's purported sale of his soul to the devil and the subject of Carly Simon's ""You're so Vain."" Others are more recent and obscure, such as Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro's death, what's not tattooed on Tom Waits's chest and the inspiration for the White Stripes's ""Hotel Yorba."" Squeamish readers may be put off by a few stories, such as those about Elvis's sexual preferences and Led Zeppelin's ""mud shark"" episode. Edwards, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, peppers his prose with witticisms and references to song lyrics. Endnotes give sources for much of Edwards's information, some of which is from his interviews with the musicians. For random rock 'n roll scuttlebutt, it's a gem.