Read any good music books lately? Or some all-time favorites?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tim Wilson, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. elaterium

    elaterium Forum Resident

    How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life-John Fahey. I recommend it to everybody even if you don't know his music. Very funny, surreal and entertaining short stories.
    Brian Lux likes this.
  2. Astralweeks

    Astralweeks Diamond Dog

    Concord, NH
    Any 33 1/3 Book, they're simply fascinating reads.
    Dylan: Disc by Disc
    The Dylanologists
    The Beatles (Hunter Davies, I'd fight any man who says it isn't the best Beatles book out there)
    100 Best Beatles Songs
    The Mammoth Book of the Rolling Stones
  3. drasil

    drasil Former Resident

    I can't in good conscience blanket recommend the 33 1/3 series. some of the volumes are fantastic. many of them are plagued with factual errors, opinions expressed as facts, and seriously questionable writing.

    there's some discussion on the series and various individual installments throughout this thread.
  4. screechmartin

    screechmartin Forum Resident

    British Columbia
    Yes, it started as a great idea, and then went downhill.
  5. Stuggy

    Stuggy Forum Resident

    Started the Alex Chilton biography A man Called Destruction which seems pretty good. Only got as far as him joining the Devilles who haven't got as far as renaming themselves so far.

    Also reading How To Talk Dirty And Influence People the Lenny Bruce autobiography which is really really good and I don't know why I haven't read it before. Not chancing on it I guess.
  6. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    JOe Boyd -White Bicycle
    Great read if your a Nick Drake fan.
  7. Tanx

    Tanx Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    Recently finished the new Phil Collins autobiography. I'm not even a fan, but it was fascinating reading. I found the early bits about the London music scene and the '80s stories most interesting. Even though he was a constant hitmaker, it seems as though he always felt like the odd guy out (including in Genesis).
  8. Seagull

    Seagull Seabird flavour member

    Julian Cope's autobiographies Head On and Repossessed. Fascinating insights into late 70s and 80s music/drugs/toy cars scene from someone who was there. Cope is a very funny writer, highly recommended.
    alexpop likes this.
  9. Daryl M

    Daryl M Forum Resident

    London, Ontario
    Just got Shep Gordon's book from the library today. Didn't even know he had a book
    out - saw the movie a while back.
  10. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Richmond, Virginia
    willie nelsons newest book is really good. Its clear the pre 1970 years are very important to him and I enjoyed hearing about what shaped his career
    Retro Hound likes this.
  11. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Richmond, Virginia
    one thing I want to say about willie's book, IT'S A LONG STORY: MY LIFE, was that he skipped talking about the albums he released in the 90's and 00's that were on indie labels. thought that was a little weird. he mentioned pretty much every album he released except the ones that weren't on major labels or on the lost highway label. no idea why.
  12. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I haven't read it, but here's a very complimentary review of Graeme Thomson's George Harrison: Behind the Locked Door. Thomson wrote the definitive biography of Kate Bush Under The Ivy, and also did an excellent one on Phil Lynot.
    Beamish13 likes this.
  13. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Reynard The Fox.

    A talented dude, for sure !!!
  14. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    I finished Testimony by Robbie Robertson last week and thoroughly enjoyed it.
  15. RiRiIII

    RiRiIII Forum Resident

    Athens, Greece
    Norman Granz biography:

  16. Brother Maynard

    Brother Maynard Forum Resident

    Dallas, TX
    "Dishearteningly, readers find out that “Something” – perhaps the Beatles’ greatest love song and one of rock’s finest – was written not for Boyd but for God! Harrison purportedly altered the lyrics for “he” to “she” lest anybody think him a poof."

    Without having read this book yet, I'm guessing this is George's own revisionism circa '73-'75 if he actually said it. I've considered picking this book up but I'd like to know there's a little more to it than the usual synopsis of his life presented in the review.
  17. sixelsix

    sixelsix Forum Resident

    memphis, tn, usa
    I finished the Kim Gordon book not too long ago. Enjoyed it thoroughly, and I'm only mildly a fan of Sonic Youth.
    Beamish13 and GuidedByJonO))) like this.
  18. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Given the depth and thoroughness of his Kate Bush book, I can only assume that was the reviewer being a nitwit.
    Brother Maynard likes this.
  19. GuidedByJonO)))

    GuidedByJonO))) Forum Resident

    I'm sure a lot of folks around here have already read it, but I'm currently diving into Clinton Heylin's Still On The Road. I'm enjoying the deep dive into the 70s and beyond, but this is my first exposure to Heylin and it's taking some getting used to his quirks. The most obnoxious ones are the digs at other artists that sneak out of nowhere, so far The Dead (twice!), the Eagles and one other I'm blanking on have been rudely dismissed. Does he just not like any other artist?
  20. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen PORKCHOPS! Productions

    Behind The Locked Door is pretty good, probably the best Harrison bio I've read. It isn't perfect, mind ya, and doesn't present as "George Harrison As God" by any means (I hate those kinds of biographies!) but well worth the read. And I'm sure that "Something" quote was related to something George might have said in retrospect...he certainly upended -that is to say, cheapened the sentiment- of the song on the 1974 tour ("Something in the way she moves it"..."If there's something in the way, remove it!" and so on)
    Brother Maynard likes this.
  21. alchemy

    alchemy Forum Resident

    Sterling, VA
    I just read it.

    Wondered why it didn't have a discography of his recordings with Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan and The Band. Some folks new to Robbie's work.

    I would have loved some more detail on his touring with Dylan. They alledged would listen to playbacks after shows. Robbie does a brief mention of this, I would have loved more detail on their thoughts on the playbacks.

    Robbie and Dylan passed a lot of time on the road playing guitars together. I would have loved some more detail on that, Was Bob writing songs, playing out song ideas, giving Robbie a grounding on the folk tradition? I would love to know.

    The Hawks had signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records. I would loved some details on that. They recorded some singles, I would l've more detail on that. How about his song publishin agreement.

    Later on when The Band is signed with Capital records there is a hint that the Atlantic contract may cause problems, but we don't the resolution on that.

    More critiques, but I'm being caled for dinner.
  22. autodidact

    autodidact Forum Resident

    I read Carly Simon's memoir, which was like a love letter to James Taylor, really. She put up with a lot of crap from JT, and honestly I don't know why she seems to view her time with him in this gauzy afterglow.

    Of course there's a lot about the music, but it is heavy on personal life as well. It motivated me to visit her first four albums, and the production is usually very good, but her songwriting is sometimes rather weird (musically), apart from the hits, which are fantastic. I think she made some of the songs more complicated melodically/chord structure than they needed to be, and that didn't work as well as it did for Joni Mitchell.
  23. alchemy

    alchemy Forum Resident

    Sterling, VA
    There is new bio out on James Taylor which give keen insight into James and Carly relationship. I think the kids are what gives her rose glasses on the relationship? I
  24. inaptitude

    inaptitude Forum Resident


    Wow this book is amazing. It's about the history of the MP3s and how things shifted from physical to digital to streaming. The writer is a journalist that tracked down key players in what took place and takes you all the way from the head of Universal Music to a guy making minimum wage at a cd pressing plant smuggling out cds before they were released to the public. You can see the missteps that the industry took in the early days. As someone that grew up through all this, it's amazing to read about what was going on in the background the whole time. Highly recommended!
    jupiter8 likes this.
  25. claudecat

    claudecat Member

    Rural America
    I'm still new here, though I've been lurking for a while on and off. Finally I dug deep enough to find a thread I feel somewhat qualified to contribute to! So... (going by memory)

    First off, I love anything by Nick Tosches, especially Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll, possibly my all time favorite piece of writing, music or not. The man's got a style, and his oddball opinions, but his tastes line up fairly well with mine in this area and he's funny as hell.

    Everything I've read by Elijah Wald has been well above average as well, especially Escaping the Delta, which may be the best blues book I've read (and I'm a blues nut, have read dozens and dozens, possibly hundreds!) in terms of seeing things through a less Caucasian lens. Wald's How the Beatles Destroyed Music (or something like that) was also excellent, though the title is misleading. Nowhere else will you read a more informed and eye-opening overview of how music and dance has evolve in America from the pre-ragtime era until now. The one about Dylan at Newport in '65 was similarly rife with background and assiduously researched detail.

    As for the stuff I've had the most fun reading lately? I found Dear Boy (Keith Moon bio) by Tony Fletcher to be pretty intriguing. Tony Scherman's Backbeat: The Earl Palmer Story was excellent. Respect Yourself (Stax Records story) by Robert Gordon was insanely great, putting the music stuff into the broader cultural context. Jerry Wexler's autobiography was surprisingly disarming, a nice antidote to the Ahmet bio, which I found to be a bit too slack-jawed in its idolatry. More fun than either was the Bert Berns bio by Joel Selvin. Just recently finished Larry Harris's insider story of the Casablanca label, which was a quick, fun read with lots of what you'd expect. That reminds me that Hit Men by Frederic Dannen's always been a favorite. Bobby Bland's bio was solid. Loved loved loved Amanda Petrusich's Do Not Sell At Any Price! I think the book's better for her insertion of herself into the narrative, unlike someone pages back. Great writer.

    I could go on forever. Oh yeah, Guralnick's Elvis books are great, as is Lewisohn's Tune In. I like the Hunter Davies book too. So many Beatles books, most of 'em not great. One I found surprisingly good was the one by Lennon's dad's super young widow. Strangely honest and rather touching. I'll stop now, before my credibility crumbles further...
    inaptitude and Tim Wilson like this.

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