My Next Read: “Sour Mouth, Sweet Bottom: Lessons from a Dissolute Life” by Simon Napier-Bell

The legendary music impresario (and producer of bands like The Yardbirds and Wham!) tells his life story in a series of mesmerizingly candid vignettes.

Sour Mouth, Sweet Bottom: Lessons from a Dissolute Life is the book Simon Napier-Bell’s fans have always hoped he’d write.

From 1940s London where he listened to wartime hits like ‘Mairzy doats and dozy doats’ in the air-raid shelter; to talking about Wham! with Deng Xiaoping, head of Communist China, or getting stoned with Elaine May and Jack Lemmon by the pool in 60s Beverly Hills, Sour Mouth, Sweet Bottom makes most memoirs look like thin gruel by comparison. This is a high-octane explosion of a book, a kaleidoscopic sequence of more than sixty ‘lessons’ drawn from a life lived to the full: frank, funny, freewheeling and honest.

There are anecdotes of the acts he managed (the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Marc Bolan, Japan, Sinitta, Boney M, Candi Staton, Ultravox, Asia, Wham!, George Michael and Sinead O’Connor) but there’s also the wisdom gathered from a louche life of clubs, restaurants, gigs, arrests, awards, bankruptcies, bereavements, booze, coups and sex, both gay and straight.