Music Lists Are Us: Favorite Books About Music with brief comments


Books about music (at least tangentially)

Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth: The Dark History of Prepubescent Pop, From the Banana Splits to Britney Spears. edited by Kim Cooper & David Smay (2001; a fun historical anthology of writing on a mostly neglected musical sub-genre)

Eating the Dinosaur.  by Chuck Klosterman (2009; not about music only, but whether music or some other aspect of culture, Klosterman's writing is always entertaining)

Chronicles, Vol. 1 by Bob Dylan (2004; When, if ever, will he release Vol. 2 of this autobiography?)

I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela Des Barres (1987; behind-the-scenes with many of her era's [that would be the 60s and 70s] most famous musicians)

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (1995; Made into a great 2000 feature film, and a great 2020 TV series)

All Time Top 1000 Albums.  by Colin Larkin (1998; Outdated now, & flawed even then, but pretty good for what it is, with lots of additional info)

Hammer of the Gods. by Stephen Davis (1985; unauthorized Led Zeppelin biography, The band has rejected it for inaccuracies and it isn't always flattering to them, but it has been reprinted three times for a reason.  It is a rollicking read)

Musichound Rock: The Essential Music Guide. edited by Gary Graff & Daniel Durchholz (1998; no book of this sort is going to make everyone happy, and this is 24 years old now, but it helped me wade through a lot of stuff back in the day, and I learned a lot too)

Perfect From Now On: How Indie Rock Saved my Life by John Sellers (2007; the author's search for the greatest band leads him through Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Pavement & others, ultimately to Guided By Voices)

To Air is Human: One Man's Quest to Become the World's Greatest Air Guitarist. by Bjorn Toroque & Dan Crane (2006; just-for-fun memoir of a musical road-less-traveled)

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story. by Chuck Klosterman (2005; A road trip memoir reflecting on rock, death and the author's relationships)

Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies by Pamela Des Barres (2007; the author turns to stories of other groupies in this one)

40 Watts from Nowhere: A Journey Into Pirate Radio. by Sue Carpenter (2004; entertaining true tale of the author's creation of two thriving "independent" radio stations while trying to avoid the FCC.  This is my top pick for a book that should be a movie--either a feature film or a documentary, or some cool amalgam of both [like the movie, American Splendor] ATTENTION FILMMAKERS: THIS SHOULD BE A MOVIE)

Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley & Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley.  both by Peter Guralnick (1994 & 1999; definitive 2 volume biography of Elvis Presley)

The List: Based on the Hit TV Series.  compiled by the editors of VH1 (2001, re-ignited my music list making interests--along with the TV series itself)

Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota.  by Chuck Klosterman (2001; a history of heavy metal and glam metal, specifically from the '80s to the early '90s)

Cash: The Autobiography.  by Johnny Cash (1997; name-checked in the John Cusack movie High Fidelity, as his character's favorite book--maybe not my absolute favorite, but very good)

Level 78
Jan 22, 2023
Check out the movie "The Boat That Rocked" a 2009 British film about the offshore pirate radio stations in the 1960's. It is a fictional story but is loosely based on real events.

Wikipedia Article

Level 62
Jan 22, 2023
I have seen and thoroughly enjoyed that movie (known as Pirate Radio in the U.S.), and I also read a book on the true story behind the movie. Thanks