While Hal Leonard is generally renowned for publishing sheet music and songbooks, its trade book division, Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group (HLPAPG), will be in the spotlight this fall, thanks to a number of very special anniversaries.
First up is the 100th anniversary year for Actors’ Equity Association. HLPAPG publisher John Cerullo tells Show Daily, “They’re doing a huge, yearlong program of activities, and the anchor for them is this big 100th anniversary book that we’re publishing with them: Performance of the Century: 100 Years of Actors’ Equity Association and the Rise of the American Theater” (Applause Books, Sept). Playbill magazine writer and theater pro Robert Simonson authored the book, which highlights some of the great actors and actresses who populated the stage in the past century, as well as the history of this important theater organization. AEA launched their centennial celebration with a theatrical kickoff in Times Square Tuesday morning with the likes of Angela Lansbury, Eric McCormack, and David Hyde Pierce. Here at BEA on the Downtown Authors Stage (DZ2000), André De Shields, Henry David Hwang, and Estelle Parsons will join Simonson and AEA president Nick Wyman in a discussion entitled “The Power of Storytelling: From Stage to Page,” today at 11 a.m. Blads will be available at the Hal Leonard booth (4108).
Next up in October, Backbeat Books honors the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary with Rolling Stones Gear, co-authored by Andy Babiuk, who penned the popular Beatles Gear, which has sold more than 100,000 copies in the past 10 years. Like its predecessor, this book will chronicle the evolution of the band’s instruments, amps, drums, guitars, etc., from the 1960s to the present day. Notes Cerullo, “It’s a very big book, over 400 pages, 4-color throughout, with many images that have never before been seen. We’re working closely with Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Ron Wood, and Charlie Watts.” Asked about Mick Jagger, Cerullo explains that the inimitable singer will be interviewed for the book. “But he didn’t have any gear, he just sang.”
November 2012 marks what would have been rock star Jimi Hendrix’s 70th birthday. Hal Leonard’s Backbeat Books will publish two books to celebrate the occasion. First, Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Lyric Book, which Cerullo calls “super-duper special.” The rock legend’s stepsister, Janie L. Hendrix, who runs the Hendrix estate, is the book’s compilation editor. Cerullo says, “The most important aspect of the book is that it has nearly 50 never-before-seen songs that Hendrix wrote, or parts of songs that were never recorded. Some of them are works in progress, which is kind of cool, too.” The book also has photographs and handwritten lyrics that have never been published before. Also on tap from Backbeat, a new biography of Hendrix by Keith Shadwick, called Jimi Hendrix: Musician, which adds punch to the tale of his life by including an analytical approach to his music.
Hal Leonard celebrates another milestone with the publication of The History of Marshall Amps: The First Fifty Years by Michael Doyle and Nick Bowcott. Says Cerullo, “If you look at any of the live concert events that happened since the early ’60s, starting with the Who and the Stones and all the classic big rock bands, Marshall amps is the iconic amplifier.” The founder of the company, Jim Marshall, died in April.
While some might think that books about rock band gear or amps are rather rarified, Cerullo notes, “At Hal Leonard, we have a unique view into tapping into the main vein of interest that musicians and serious fans have when we do books like this. I can give you a list of 50 or 60 books we’ve done in connection with amplifiers, guitars, Hammond organs—all kinds of books that document the history of one of these types of products. And they all sell very well.”