Books for music lovers (19 books)

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A selection of biographies and essays about music.

 

How Music Works

by David Byrne

How Music Works is David Byrne’s remarkable and buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about. In it he explores how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and he explains...


Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die

by Willie Nelson & Kinky Friedman

You won't see no sad and teary eyes

When I get my wings, and it's my time to fly

Just call my friends and tell them

There's a party, come on by

So just roll me up and smoke me when I die

In Roll Me Up and Smoke...


Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown's First Superstar

by Peter Benjaminson

Complete with never-before-revealed details about the sex, violence, and drugs in her life, this biography reveals the incredibly turbulent life of Motown artist Mary Wells. Based in part on four hours of previously...


The Rest Is Noise

Guardian First Book Award 2008

by Alex Ross

The scandal over modern music has not died down. While paintings by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring onward...


Adele: The Biography

by Chas Newkey-Burden

Adele's soulful voice, catchy hits, and vulnerable personality have won her critical acclaim and widespread popularity. She has topped the charts in 18 countries and swept the top awards at the 2012 Grammys—but...


Rod: The Autobiography

by Rod Stewart

The extraordinary life and career of music legend Rod Stewart, in his own words for the first time.

 

With his soulful and singular voice, narrative songwriting, and passionate live performances Rod Stewart has...


Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss

by Peter Criss & Larry Sloman

LEGENDARY founding KISS drummer Peter “Catman” Criss has lived an incredible life in music, from the streets of Brooklyn to the social clubs of New York City to the ultimate heights of rock ’n’ roll...


Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page

by Brad Tolinski

This “oral autobiography” of Jimmy Page, the intensely private mastermind behind Led Zeppelin—one of the most enduring bands in rock history—is the most complete and revelatory portrait of the legendary...


With Billie: A New Look at the Unforgettable Lady Day

by Julia Blackburn

From Julia Blackburn, an author whose ability to conjure lives from other times and places is so vivid that one suspects she sees ghosts, here is a portrait of a woman whose voice continues to haunt anyone who...


Coal to Diamonds: A Memoir

by Beth Ditto & Michelle Tea

A raw and surprisingly beautiful coming-of-age memoir, Coal to Diamonds tells the story of Mary Beth Ditto, a girl from rural Arkansas who found her voice.

 

Born and raised in Judsonia, Arkansas—a place...


Mick Jagger

by Philip Norman

A supreme achiever to whom his colossal achievements seem to mean nothing . . .

A supreme extrovert who prefers discretion . . .

A supreme egotist who dislikes talking about himself . . .

Philip Norman has long...


Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream

by Neil Young

"I think I will have to use my time wisely and keep my thoughts straight if I am to succeed and deliver the cargo I so carefully have carried thus far to the outer reaches." --Neil Young, from Waging Heavy Peace...


A Woman Like Me

by Bettye LaVette & David Ritz

Now in paperback, "an un-inching and uncompromising look at a life lived across the tracks from fame . . " (Detroit Free Press)

As a teenager in Detroit, Bettye LaVette scored a hit single with "My Man-He's...


Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir

by Cyndi Lauper & Jancee Dunn

Legendary and iconic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper offers a poignant account of the journey that led her to become an international superstar—from her years growing up in Queens, New York, to the making of...


Purpose

by Wyclef Jean & Anthony Bozza

Wyclef Jean is one of the most influential voices in hip-hop. He rocketed to fame in the 1990s with the Fugees, whose multiplatinum album, The Score, would prove a landmark in music history, winning two Grammys...


Fool the World

by Caryn Ganz, Josh Frank & Chas Banks

It’s the 1980s and the rock landscape is littered with massive hair, synthesizers, and monster riffs, but there is an alternative being born in the sleepy East of America—we just don’t know it yet.

Before...


Back to the Miracle Factory

by Paul Williams

Paul Williams has been writing about pop music for decades, never flagging in his enthusiasm or his emotional and intellectual openness to the newest music. He has been doing this ever since he founded the rock...


Dark Star

by Robert Greenfield

For more than thirty years, Jerry Garcia was the musical and spiritual center of the Grateful Dead, one of the most popular rock bands of all time. In Dark Star, the first biography of Garcia published after...


Love Is a Mix Tape: Life, Loss, and What I Listened To

by Rob Sheffield

What Is love? Great minds have been grappling with this question throughout the ages, and in the modern era, they have come up with many different answers. According to Western philosopher Pat Benatar, love...


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