STARRED REVIEW
November 13, 2020

Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls

Lisa Robinson offers a panoramic view of women rockers, whom she collectively refers to as “the girls,” in Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls: Women, Music and Fame.
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Lisa Robinson offers a panoramic view of women rockers, whom she collectively refers to as “the girls,” in Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls: Women, Music and Fame. Chapters explore topics that are personal (relationships, family, motherhood), professional (fame, bad reviews, stage fright) and artistic (inspirations, influences, the writing process). What emerges is not a detailed profile of any one woman, though certain women are referenced several times, but rather a collective portrait of how women have navigated the music industry, which Robinson calls “one of the sleaziest and more corrupt sides of show business.”

If you, like me, have never considered the careers of women rockers, certain patterns may surprise you. Most got their start because of powerful male sponsors. Many were abused by people they trusted. Musicians as diverse as Jewel and Rhianna, Stevie Nicks and Beyonce, describe a singular obsessive focus on music. Some like Gwen Stefani and Sheryl Crow started off as background singers. Robinson has been interviewing the stars for a long time, and she offers satisfying context. For instance, in 1995 Sheryl Crow told her that if she ever made real money, she would buy her manager “a big house, because he has really stuck with me.” Robinson reports that 25 years later, “Scooter Weintraub is still Sheryl’s manager and she did buy him that house.”

As this anecdote suggests, Robinson is uniquely situated to write this book. She toured with the Rolling Stones in the 1970s. (They jokingly called her “Hot Pants” because they considered her such a prude.) She’s been with musicians as they wrote, recorded and performed. Robinson herself, like the best critics, emerges as a strong and likable figure with a clear point of view. Madonna, she opines, would have never gotten so big without MTV. Hearing Robinson’s sidebar commentary on the music industry, as well as her “war stories” with the rockers of the past, is one of the major delights of this book.

Whether you are tuned in to the history of rock or a casual fan, this book has something to offer. The quotes Robinson has gathered over the years are surprising and intimate, bringing figures like Lady Gaga, Alanis Morrisette and Bette Midler to life. Though no one may have asked Robinson about “the girls,” this reader is glad she found space to write about them anyway.

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Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls

Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls

Holt
ISBN 9781627794909

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