The best books about music ever written | Louder

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One factor is for positive: the world of rock music is never boring – and if you happen to’re seeking to discover among the highest books about music ever written, then you definately’ve come to the appropriate place.

From good autobiographies and compendiums, by to warts’n’all exposes and stunningly detailed histories, there’s loads of studying materials on the market for devoted music followers to delve into.

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Beneath, you’ll discover our choose of 40 of our favorite books ever written about music alongside a choice of one of the best reads of final 12 months. So whether or not you are seeking to purchase a present for a good friend or attempting to find one thing to maintain you engaged throughout lockdown, we’re fairly positive you’ll discover one thing within the record which inserts the invoice.

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(Picture credit score: Faber & Faber)

1. The Grime: Motley Crue with Neill Strauss

The massive one. The (actually filthy) Godfather of rock books. The guide was immortalised within the Netflix characteristic movie, The Grime and is so gob-smackingly scandalous, you’ll incessantly query whether or not the occasions truly occurred as you learn by it.

Learn in shock and awe as Nikki Sixx and co. rise from smalltime LA to the Sundown Strip and the largest phases on the earth – smoking, shagging and capturing up all issues, each thinkable and unthinkable.

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2. Ready For The Solar – by Barney Hoskyns

From surfboards to singer-songwriters, from Svengalis to satanic cults, this multigenerational round-up of the LA Music scene reads like a well-written novel.

All of the legendary characters are represented – Jim Morrison, Frank Zappa, Gram Parsons – however it’s usually the lesser-known names similar to Van Dyke Parks and Lou Adler who supply essentially the most attention-grabbing insights. It is a story of extra, eccentricity and enduring musical splendour.

(Picture credit score: Pan/Important Market)

3. Hammer Of The Gods – by Stephen Davis

One other justifiably well-liked large fish that’s been by turns revered, criticised and reissued because it was first printed in 1985. Journalist Stephen Davis travelled by America with Led Zeppelin for 2 weeks in 1975, as their US tour was kicking off.

For higher or worse, his chief supply for this unauthorised biography was Richard Cole, Zeppelin’s someday tour supervisor/roadie. On the one hand, the band have publicly refuted its accuracy. Alternatively, its juicy, humorous, stunning tales have been poured over greedily by hundreds.

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4. Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain

The controversy over whether or not the UK or US can lay declare to have ‘invented’ punk rock has raged on for years. We’ll preserve this easy: it was the US.

Please Kill Me brilliantly paperwork the style’s messy delivery and wildly artistic early years by letting all the important thing gamers – Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, Johnny Thunders, Rob Tyner, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Debbie Harry, and so on – inform their tales in their very own phrases. If punk means extra to you than only a slogan on an artfully ripped T-shirt, you want this guide.

(Picture credit score: Canongate Canons)

5. The True Adventures Of The Rolling Stones by Stanley Sales space

One of the enlightening footage of the rock revolution of the 60s that you simply’re ever prone to learn, The True Adventures Of The Rolling Stones can also be a no-holds-barred insider view of the rise of the Rolling Stones.

An enormous a part of its enchantment lies in its author. By the point Sales space met Mick, Keef and co. he’d already drunk “Scotch with B.B. King for breakfast” and watched “Otis Redding train Steve Cropper The Dock Of The Bay”. That very same zeal is captured right here, one vastly partaking triumph, pitfall and brush with the legislation after one other.

(Picture credit score: Windmill Books)

6. Lonely Boy: Tales From A Intercourse Pistol by Steve Jones

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The affect of The Intercourse Pistols on fashionable music – and punk particularly – is kind of merely simple. This primary-hand account from the band’s guitarist Steve Jones manages to seize the importance of the group by his personal eyes, however it additionally delves deep into his tough childhood.

There is no doubt about it: Steve Jones is a one-off. He is hilarious, eccentric, painfully sincere and 100% Lahndahn, which is all of the extra shocking, since he is lived in Los Angeles for many years.

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7. The Beatles: All These Years Vol.1 by Mark Lewisohn

Fairly probably essentially the most gargantuan enterprise within the historical past of music literature, Quantity Certainly one of Mark Lewisohn’s historical past of The Beatles is merely the primary a part of a trilogy, and ends earlier than Beatlemania.

All These Years Vol. 1 is stunningly researched and is mind-bogglingly detailed, its 960 pages train us a lot a couple of band we expect we already know every thing about. And for the terminally curious, there’s additionally an expanded model that tells the story over greater than 1700 pages. Staggering.

(Picture credit score: Bazillion Factors Publishing)

8. Homicide within the Entrance Row by Brian Lew & Harald Oimoen

San Francisco natives Brian Lew and Harald Oimoen have been two metal-obsessed geeks who simply occurred to seek out themselves on the epicentre of a world-changing musical revolution when a little bit band from Los Angeles referred to as Metallica moved to the Bay Space on February 12, 1983.

Largely a photograph guide, Homicide In The Entrance Row brilliantly captures the camaraderie, uncooked enthusiasm and reckless, violent vitality of the nascent thrash steel, from Metallica’s very first rehearsal with bassist Cliff Burton by to the discharge of Slayer’s peerless Reign In Blood album.

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9. Our Band Might Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad

The bible for anybody involved in DIY punk rock tradition, Our Band Might Be Your Life particulars the delivery and growth of the US underground rock scene within the Eighties, focussing upon biographies of 13 trail-blazing bands – Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, Mudhoney and Fugazi amongst them – who collectively mapped out a brand new terrain for rock music, pre-Nirvana.

With out these bands, and their stubbornly impartial, take-no-shit-from-anyone bullishness, Nirvana would have been simply one other native bar band.

(Picture credit score: Simon & Schuster UK)

10. White Line Fever by Lemmy

First printed in 2002 and re-printed a number of occasions since, Lemmy’s autobiography takes some beating. From his childhood in Wales, by his discovery of intercourse, medicine and rock’n’roll (not fairly in that order), and on to rock infamy, White Line Fever is rarely lower than entertaining.

Lemmy was a well-read and sharp-witted character and his guide is a hilarious and heat reminder of the person we misplaced. A vital learn.

(Picture credit score: Bazillion Factors)

11. Selecting Dying by Albert Mudrian

Subtitled The Inconceivable Historical past of Dying Metallic and Grindcore, Decibel journal Editor Mudrian’s textual content gives an incisive, in-depth evaluation of the rise of the acute steel underground, tracing a path from the again rooms of Birmingham pubs to the US enviornment circuit.

Enter from the likes of Napalm Dying, Cannibal Corpse, Entombed, Dying, At The Gates and extra lends authenticity, whereas a lot unintentional humour comes from the sheer joyful naivety of these concerned. Lords Of Chaos is extra sensationalist, however that is the neatest guide but written on underground steel.

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12. Fried And Justified by Mick Houghton

Veteran PR Mick Houghton’s disarmingly sincere and ego-free memoir of his time working with among the more difficult and off-piste acts of the 80s and 90s – Echo & The Bunnymen, Julian Cope, KLF – thrills in its perception and pragmatism.

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On the KLF’s infamous burning of £1 million, Houghton says: “I used to be by no means that shocked… in music-business phrases £1m is nothing… The Home Of Love blew £800,000 in lower than a 12 months.”

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13. I am going to Sleep Once I’m Lifeless: The Soiled Life And Instances Of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon

In demise as in life, Warren Zevon stays a cult determine. Luckily his ex-wife Crystal ensured that his legacy hasn’t been completely forgotten. I’ll Sleep Once I’m Lifeless is not any fawning hagiography; it is a blackly comedian oral historical past that depicts Zevon as equal elements genius and asshole.

Household, collaborators and celebrity associates (Stephen King, Bruce Springsteen) reward and crucify a person who lived life with a mixture of relish and spite. {That a} dying Zevon gave it his blessing says a lot in regards to the man.

(Picture credit score: Henry Holt & Firm)

14. 1971: By no means A Boring Second by David Hepworth

By no means one for group-think, Hepworth’s persuasive defence of his proposition that 1971 was rock’s best 12 months casts a broad cultural internet woven with acute and authentic pondering.

With monumental releases by Zeppelin, David Bowie, the Stones, Pink Floyd and extra that 12 months, it’s much less the postulation that issues, slightly his exhilarating evaluation bolstered by impeccable analysis and aptitude. The appendix itemizing 100 albums from 1971 is an professional witness in itself.

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15. Lexicon Satan: The Quick Instances and Brief Lifetime of Darby Crash and The Germs by Brendan Mullen

The story of doomed punk rock anti-hero Darby Crash and his heroically inept band The Germs (who featured future Foo Fighter Pat Smear), Lexicon Satan is a brilliantly sketched portrait of idealism, vitality, confusion and self-destruction within the LA punk scene of the late Nineteen Seventies.

By turns hilarious, terrifying and heart-breakingly unhappy, it’s a vivid, visceral learn, pulsing with the vitality and color of a misplaced Los Angeles. Remarkably, it options in not one, however two, Pink Scorching Chili Peppers movies (By The Approach and Universally Talking) as Anthony Kiedis’ guide of alternative.

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16. Life by Keith Richards

How Keith Richards remains to be alive is certainly one of science’s extra unfathomable mysteries.

And it needs to be stated that even after you’ve learn this completely partaking autobiography (assisted by journalist James Fox) and positioned it again on the bookshelf, you gained’t be any the wiser. Nonetheless, what you’ll have is an incisive view of the Rolling Stones’ guitarist’s world of riffs, rock, medicine, ladies, arrests and extra, from his childhood in Kent by to life within the twenty first century.

(Picture credit score: Abacus)

17. Espedair Avenue by Iain Banks

Late Scottish novelist Iain Banks’s fictional love letter to traditional rock, Espedair Avenue is a thinly veiled retelling of the Fleetwood Mac fable, from the angle of hulking bassist Daniel ‘Bizarre’ Weir, a personality impressed by ex-Marillion singer Fish.

Romantic rivalries, tragic mid-air deaths, suicide makes an attempt, triumphant comebacks… each rock’n’roll cliché is gleefully ramped as much as fever pitch, and it’s all the higher for it. It’s wonderful that they haven’t made it right into a film.

(Picture credit score: Simon & Schuster UK)

18. Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen

“The author has made one promise, to point out the reader his thoughts,” Bruce Springsteen writes in his autobiography. And in his trademark plain-spoken however poetic manner, he does simply that.

Whether or not detailing his uneasy relationship together with his father, the sexual perks of superstardom or his struggles with melancholy, Bruce is frank and humorous. In the end, you sense that he’s writing not solely to share his experiences but in addition to higher perceive them.

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