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Publisher's Summary

An epic tale of self-discovery by a self-confessed rock 'n' roll disciple.

What story begins in a bedroom in suburban New Jersey in the early '60s, unfolds on some of the country's largest stages, and then ranges across the globe, demonstrating over and over again how rock and roll has the power to change the world for the better? This story.  

The first true heartbeat of Unrequited Infatuations is the moment when Stevie Van Zandt trades in his devotion to the Baptist religion for an obsession with rock and roll. Groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones created new ideas of community, creative risk, and principled rebellion. They changed him forever. While still a teenager, he met Bruce Springsteen, a likeminded outcast/true believer who became one of his most important friends and bandmates. As Miami Steve, Van Zandt anchored the E Street Band as they conquered the rock-and-roll world. 

And then, in the early '80s, Van Zandt stepped away from E Street to embark on his own odyssey. He refashioned himself as Little Steven, a political songwriter and performer, fell in love with Maureen Santoro, who greatly expanded his artistic palette, and visited the world’s hot spots as an artist/journalist to not just better understand them but to help change them. Most famously, he masterminded the recording of “Sun City”, an anti-apartheid anthem that sped the demise of South Africa’s institutionalized racism and helped get Nelson Mandela out of prison. 

By the '90s, Van Zandt had lived at least two lives - one as a mainstream rocker, one as a hardcore activist. It was time for a third. David Chase invited Van Zandt to be a part of his new television show, The Sopranos - as Silvio Dante, he was the unconditionally loyal consiglieri who sat at the right hand of Tony Soprano (a relationship that oddly mirrored his real-life relationship with Bruce Springsteen). 

Underlying all of Van Zandt's various incarnations was a devotion to preserving the centrality of the arts, especially the endangered species of rock. In the 21st century, Van Zandt founded a groundbreaking radio show (Underground Garage), a fiercely independent record label (Wicked Cool), and developed a curriculum to teach students of all ages through the medium of music history. He also rejoined the E Street Band for what has now been a 20-year victory lap.  

Unrequited Infatuations chronicles the twists and turns of Stevie Van Zandt’s always surprising life. It is more than just the testimony of a globe-trotting nomad, more than the story of a groundbreaking activist, more than the odyssey of a spiritual seeker, and more than a master class in rock and roll (not to mention a dozen other crafts). It's the best book of its kind because it's the only book of its kind.

©2021 Stevie Van Zandt (P)2021 Hachette Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Accurate , intelligent entertaining memoir.

Since I am not that familiar with his musical career ( do not listen to Springsteen) and only familiar with the character he played on the Sopranos much of the book was a surprise. He is insightful and does give an accurate account of U S A history. I view it exactly as he does which validated my own experience in NYC region as a kid and an adult in the entertainment biz. There were times I thought I wrote this book! I have made many of the same observations from the 1960's until now. He made me laugh and I absolutely loved this brilliant man's view of his own life on this stranger than fiction planet we are currently spinning around on. I listen to many books and so far this has climbed into the top spot this year! I imagine the movie or series will follow! One of the best memoirs ever! Bravo!

7 people found this helpful

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Best read audiobook ever!!!

I did not know that Miami Steve was such a Renaissance man. His story is inspiring and his ability to entertain while reading his story is top notch. I believe Steven Van Zandt could have another career reading audiobooks. I’ve recommended this book to all my musician friends and non-musician friends alike.

5 people found this helpful

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E Street is a small part of an interesting life

This one is a little uneven. Stevie has lived a very interesting life. He’s been a part of one of the best bands of all time, a star in one of the best TV series of all time and was the star of one of Netflix’s first original programs. He gives more information about the formation of the E Street Band than Springsteen did in his book. He reveals that he was originally cast as Tony Soprano until HBO executives wouldn’t green light such a big project staring someone who hadn’t acted. He tells about the business aspects of his deal with Netflix on Lilyhammer. He also goes through a lot of his work with other artists. Where the book comes up short is when he’s discussing his solo music career. It was always someone else’s fault or a bad break that kept him from making it big there. I wanted to like his solo stuff in the mid 80s. I bought some of it. It just wasn’t for me. So, I’m not buying all the excuses. The book also lulls when he gets too preachy on politics, but he did do a better job of explaining apartheid than my political science professors did at the time. He’s to the left of me politically and doesn’t pull punches on his political views. If you own a MAGA hat, you are probably going to be offended. Stevie reads the book himself and does a great job. I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better job telling his stories.

3 people found this helpful

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Unrequited infatuations

Stevie Van Zandt is a king, I really enjoyed this book. His ideas his politics and he will to fight for what he believes in is parallel. The man is a soulful Genius, he lived his life his way and the things he didn’t accomplish he dust himself and kept it moving to the next venture. No matter what, he kept his eye on the prize. We learn as we go, that is what living life is all about.

3 people found this helpful

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Politics

The book was informative and a great story. However it lost with politics in our current climate.

3 people found this helpful

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What a ride through Rock history!!!

Entertaining, Insightful , informative and rockin.
Mr Van Zandt has given us hours of joy and energy over decades, and this book - read by him - is another glimpse into a great mind and a fantastic life!!!

2 people found this helpful

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FANTASTIC!!!!!

Can’t recommend this too much; funny and brilliant with so many great insights into music and the music business. Not a personal “tell all” type of show biz book, he does not dwell on Bruce but gives a wonderful account of his own fascinating journey. It starts with music, of course, but then delves into politics, acting, producing, song writing it is quite an amazing life. LOVED IT!!
PS, I’m sure it reads fine but hearing Stevie read it is really special

2 people found this helpful

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A Fulfilling Book

Damn, this man’s story is inspiring. I have enjoyed following his long and winding road in real time in my life. This book gives us a glimpse of Stevie’s interior. The man is everyone’s side man. He’s contributed to some very important positive changes and innovation in our modern world. He has moved the ball down the field. Do yourself a solid and read or listen to this book. Long Live Stevie Van Zandt. Thanks Brother for making our world better.

2 people found this helpful

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Pure Love!

Has there ever been another more in love with music? First, this Freehold, NJ girl felt at home with van Zant. It is amazing all he has accomplished with Africa at the top of the list. I will now go back & listen to a lot of the “nobody heard it” work & will definitely listen to Sun City. Stevie Van Zant is a creative genius.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved It!!!

So enjoyed this book, especially Steven’s narration. Thanks for writing and narrating. Great history of rock.

2 people found this helpful