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Tommy Bolin biography

Touched By Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story (front cover)

Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story is the new book written and published by Greg Prato.

To many, Tommy Bolin was the legitimate heir to Jimi Hendrix’s rock guitar throne. Stints with the James Gang and Deep Purple –- as well as solo albums and a groundbreaking release with jazz-rocker Billy Cobham –- certainly proved that the adulation was rightly deserved. And with a techno-color fashion sense, he certainly stood out from the pack. Only one problem, Tommy had a death-defying drug addiction, which ultimately would lead to a premature and tragic end – before he was able to truly take his standing among the elite musicians of the world. ‘Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story’ is the first book to focus entirely on the life story of Tommy Bolin – compiled from nearly 50 exclusive interviews (including family, friends, and band members that played alongside Tommy throughout the years).

“After reading ‘Touched by Magic,’ it seemed to me every interview ‘takes you there’ for the moment…I give 105 stars to Greg!” -Johnnie Bolin, Tommy’s brother

The book is available through lulu.com, where you can sample a chapter (conveniently for our readers, the chapter is about Tommy joining Purple and recording Come Taste The Band and Teaser). If the sample is any indication, the book does not have written narration, but is purely a compilation of quotes from the interviews arranged to form a more or less cohesive story line. It’s a rather unusual technique for a book, but it seems to work once you have sufficient background into what’s happening (which majority of Purple fans should already have). But I wouldn’t recommend it as an introductory Bolin’s biography.

Greg Prato will be a guest on the Stormin’ Norman show on Kansas City radio KKFI 90.1 FM on Monday, December 22. They will be discussing the book. Immediately following Greg, there will be special call in guest John Bartle, who shared friendship with Bolin. John will be discussing his memories of Tommy, the new book, and a whole lot more. The show starts at 7 am central time.

Thanks to Blabbermouth and Trace for the info.

9 Comments to “Tommy Bolin biography”:

  1. 1
    R says:

    Great Tommy Bolin!

  2. 2
    Roberto says:

    I prefer Tommy than Jimy.He is one of the top three guitar players ever.
    ‘from the archives’ is the best album ever made on Tommy while
    deep purple live california 76 on russian fox… is the best live album togehter with ‘made in japan’ and live europe stuttgart 1993′ ever done by deep purple.

  3. 3
    George Fotis says:

    I really think Ritchie Blackmore was the next Hendrix not Bolin. Ritchie’s heavy guitar style was very similar after all he did get influenced by him.
    There is more to Tommy Bolin than Come & Taste The Band & Last concert in Japan. His solo album’s are very good they are timeless & haven’t aged at all. Most music from back then sounds dated & daggey , but those albums sound like they could have been made 5 years ago.
    I liked they way he played guitar he could play a very heavy metal trash guitar or some silky smooth guitar like on Savanah Woman . He played a very clean sounding notes . I believe the Tommy Bolin & Friends live at Ebbetsfield 74 is the best music from him, yes the Russian Foxbat is a great cd ,his in top form there.
    He had a great singing voice too, very relaxed & laid back , always listen to his material when driving Bolin sounds good on the road. He just had bad luck that he died, Keith Richard’s of The Stones who was into heroin & drugs managed to survive that decade.

  4. 4
    purplepriest1965 says:

    30 years later something finally dawns on me.

    We were , I think, 13 years old and watching the MK 2 poster on my cousins wall.
    It was a shot I always held dearly on and it was from the FIREBALL sessions

    The poster appeared in some Belgian magazine called POP or Joepie or something.
    A real classic poster.

    It were the days I bought a magazine just for the reason it contained a pic of DP as big as a stamp.
    We had almost nothing and everything was worth a million.
    It was between 77 and 80 and life was very depressing because our heroes did not get much exposure. It was punk, disco, rap and all that other shit which we got flooded by.

    Anyway, some other cousin tried to convince us RB was exactly from Indian blood.

    And now I realise he must have heard something about Tommy Bolin and then messed it up.

    You can get fooled easily by anything knowing nothing and so this practical joke cousin even gave us speeded up versions on tape of Come Taste The Band and Kiss Alive 1.
    Ofcourse we experienced these tapes as really confusing and tried to ask for the truth.
    He firmly stood his ground and we were left really insecure about our hearings.

  5. 5
    purpletemple says:

    Incredible guitarist! His two solo albums, his work with dP and the album Spectrum with Cobham are some of the best ever releases.
    I feel like he was the perfect cross between Hendrix and Jeff Beck with an extra something that made him unique as well.
    If it wasn’t for those damn fuckin drugs (sorry but that’s what they are!), I am sure Tommy would have giving us some of the best music of the 80’s 90’s and more…

  6. 6
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Agreed PT, nice to see you here.

    Priest, thats a hilarious story, had me bustin’.

  7. 7
    fabio says:

    Tommy was only 25 when he died so we can hardly argue what he’d have been doing after Purple. Surely he was a great player…his former bassist Jimmy Haslip told me that he was buried with a ring belonged to Hendrix. Great loss for the music…he was a very nice chasp.

  8. 8
    Nick Simmons says:

    I just received the book and am almost through it. Great to have all the stories in one place, and in chronological order.
    Tommy is my favorite of all time, and while a huge fan of the various classic Purple periods/recordings, I think CTTB is probably the best album they did.
    Thanks Greg Prato!
    And thanks also to Martin Popoff for his new book, Gettin’ Tighter – I can’t wait to get into that, and hats off for the title and incredible pic on the cover!!!

  9. 9
    Pura Fe says:

    I would like to know if Tommy bolin had any Native American Blood at all…simply because he would be honored in the Native hall of Fame. I had always thought he was at least partially. they have honored Link Ray, Jimi Hendrix and Jessie Ed Davis
    Pura Fe. I was hoping that Tommy Bolin could be honored in this way too. If you have any valid information on his lineage being Indian at all…can you please let me know…this way I can submit his name for the honoring. Pura Fe

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