cover image Unrequited Infatuations

Unrequited Infatuations

Stevie Van Zandt. Hachette, $31 (416p) ISBN 978-0-306-92542-9

Music and pop culture fans alike will relish this gonzo debut from Van Zandt, the guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band who played Silvio Dante on The Sopranos. He takes readers on a wild ride, starting with his New Jersey childhood in the 1950s. The Beatles’ debut on the Ed Sullivan Show was a seminal moment and is described as having “the cultural impact of a spaceship landing in Central Park.” Van Zandt was a teen when he met Springsteen, and they began performing together. Despite their friendship, Van Zandt is frank about his disagreements with the rock star: after first hearing “Dancing in the Dark,” Van Zandt advised Springsteen to “throw that ‘Dancing’ thing in the trash.” He also recounts his time as an anti-apartheid activist—hallmarked by his 1985 album Sun City—and landing his role on The Sopranos (after nearly being cast as Tony). Throughout, his prose is delivered with a wink (“Other than the obvious jail-and-death part, I never really had a problem with Mob stuff”), making this enjoyable even for those less familiar with his work. This stands head and shoulders above the many celebrity memoirs out there. Agent: Marc Gerald, Europa Content. (Sept.)