Good books about music

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I'm going to Delaware for spring break to look at colleges, and it's going to be pretty boring. I'm making a run to Best Buy and Barnes and Noble's tomorrow to get stuff, and I was wondering if anyone knew of good books about music. We're going for fun to read here, since I need something that doesn't take too long to get into. I've already read Never Mind the Pollacks (which was great), and my closest Barnes and Noble's has Our Band Could be Your Life and that uncensored oral history of punk book that was on the OC three weeks ago.

WillSommer, Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:18 (fifteen years ago) link

Perfect Sound Forever
The Music's All That Matters
What Rock Is All About
Lipstick Traces
Just Kill Me
Psychotic Reactions & Carburetor Dung
The Aesthetics of Rock

little ivan, Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:23 (fifteen years ago) link

Get the Lester Bangs books.

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:23 (fifteen years ago) link

and Please Kill Me: The Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Please Kill Me was on the OC?

Please kill me.

Oh well. Read it anyway. It's amazing. And Our Band Could Be Your Life. If you're interested in criticism, check out Psychotic Reactions and Carbeurator Dung or anything by Lester Bangs or one or two Greil Marcus books (The Basement Tapes). I'd stay away from Camden Joy, contrary to popular opinion.

I need something that doesn't take too long to get into

But you're going to college, man! Just buy Adorno's Essays on Music and accept that the next 4+ years of your life are going to be like that mwahahaha...

poortheatre (poortheatre), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:26 (fifteen years ago) link

Dave Marsh, The Heart of Rock & Soul (his 1,001 most important singles of the rock era, in bite-size nuggets)

Joseph McCombs (Joseph McCombs), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Love Saves the Day and Can't Stop Won't Stop by Tim Lawrence and Jeff Chang, respectively.

I also enjoyed Last Night a DJ Saved My Life and there's the ever-classic Generation Ecstasy.

deej., Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:49 (fifteen years ago) link

conflict of interest, but whatever:
Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner, Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music
featuring Eno, Cage, Stockhausen, Merzbow, Reynolds, lots of other luminaries, and some jerk named Sherburne

philip sherburne (philip sherburne), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:51 (fifteen years ago) link

Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll- Tosches
Faithfull: An Autobiography- Marianne Faithfull
Chronicles v.1- Dylan
Black Monk Time- Eddie Shaw
I, Tina- Tina Turner
Uptight: the VU story,
Transformer- Bockris
Planet Joe- Joe Cole

Elisa (Elisa), Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:09 (fifteen years ago) link

John Cage's Silence is a great book about music and other things.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:15 (fifteen years ago) link

All of the above, and Sidney Bechet's autobio (blanking on the title, but he only wrote one); Miles by Miles Davis; Rip It Up: The Black Experience in Rock 'N' Roll (Kandia Crazy Horse, ed.)

don, Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:17 (fifteen years ago) link

Also, Robert Palmer (not the singer)'s Deep Blues, Christgau's 70s Consumer Guide (yeah you can look up all the Consumer Guide entries at, 'cept maybe the *most* recent, which are at, but unless you just love typing in Subjects and hitting Enter and know exactly what to look for, the book is a lot more fun). Also most anything by Peter Guralnick (although I woouldn't start with the Elvis stuff)(if you want to get strung out ona good sick Elvis book, try Evis Aron Presley, by Alanna Nash with the Memphis Mafia) Most anything by Frith, Toop; Charles Keil' Uran Blues; Tom T. Hall's The Storyteller's Nashville (one of the funniest books I've read re musos, and good serious stuff too); Nelson Goerge's Seduced: The Life And Times Of A One Hit Wonder; Pamela Des Barres' I'm With The Band; Ruth Brown's Miss Rhythm (an epic!)

don, Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:41 (fifteen years ago) link

Ahh yeah Rap Attack by Toop. Does Greg Tate have any books out there worth picking up?

deej., Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Does Greg Tate have any books out there worth picking up?

I had never heard of Tate until I saw him speak not long ago. He is a BAD. ASS. Does he still write for The Voice? I feel like I never see him in there. Does he have a blog?

poortheatre (poortheatre), Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:56 (fifteen years ago) link

He definitely still writes for the voice, unbelievable writer too, sort of a marxist approach to hip-hop these days (as SFJ pointed out) which seems to distance him from discussing how the music moves him but which does raise significant points regarding hip-hop and the way it is being used both positively and negatively; I got sort of nuts at him during the "great tate debate" when he criticized people for celebrating the 30th anniversary of hip-hop and while I don't share his lack of enthusiasm/engagement with the current music, I do think he's absolutely right about what hip-hop's significance is (paraphrasing, renders African-Americans "all but invisible" in a cultural sense) and that unfortunately the advancement of African-American cultural capital has not resulted in economic justice or any kind of justice, really.

I'm mostly interested in reading a book of his since his prose is fairly magnificent.

deej., Thursday, 17 March 2005 06:23 (fifteen years ago) link

r. crumb draws the blues - r. crumb
country - nick tosches (his other books too of course, but this is my favorite)
rythm oil and the true adventures of the rolling stones by stanley booth
awopbopaloobop by nik cohn

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 17 March 2005 07:05 (fifteen years ago) link

Touching From A Distance
Bass Culture
Songs They Don't Play On The Radio
Revolution In The Head
Rotten: No Dogs, No Blacks , No Irish

wtin, Thursday, 17 March 2005 10:56 (fifteen years ago) link

"Wonderland Avenue" - Danny Sugerman - I can't stand The Doors but I loved this book. Also, "The Dirt", the Motley Crue book. Again, hate the band, but a cracking read.

bg, Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:25 (fifteen years ago) link

Tate's 1991 collection Flyboy in the Buttermilk is tremendous. His review/demolition of Bad ("I'm White! What's Wrong with Michael Jackson") is worth the price by itself, especially when he sez that the album's title "accurately describes its contents in standard English."

If you want a cracking funny read on hip-hop, though, pick up The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop by Peter Shapiro, which has just been updated and enlarged (it was a pocket-size the first time, now it's 8 x 10). Best line goes to the Bad Boy Records writeup, when he notes that Puff Daddy, having been responsible for 40% of all 1997's number ones, moved to the Hamptons "so he could live by the sea, just like his magic dragon namesake."

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:41 (fifteen years ago) link

actually, strike that "though," Toop can be funny and obviously so can Tate.

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:42 (fifteen years ago) link

Neil McCormick's "Killing Bono" was a quick, fun read.

John Fredland (jfredland), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:44 (fifteen years ago) link

"Wonderland Avenue" - Danny Sugerman - I can't stand The Doors but I loved this book. Also, "The Dirt", the Motley Crue book. Again, hate the band, but a cracking read.

Same here! (Of course there's also the Led Zep bio.)

nathalie barefoot in the head (stevie nixed), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:46 (fifteen years ago) link

ooh, haven't read that led zep one. I just remembered a book called "Lost in Music" by Giles Smith, which was a hoot.

bg, Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:54 (fifteen years ago) link

chuck berry's autobiog

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 17 March 2005 12:26 (fifteen years ago) link

George Jones, I Lived To Tell It All
Miles Davis, Miles: The Autobiography

Next week on "The O.C.": Seth and Ryan get into a fatal disagreement over "James Taylor: Marked For Death," while Summer meets a new hottie who shares her disgust of Nick Hornby.

Keith C (kcraw916), Thursday, 17 March 2005 14:06 (fifteen years ago) link

Nelson George's previously mentioned Seduced is said to roman-a-clef of sorts (Russell Simmons, on back cover of early edition, earnestly denies that one of the characters is based on him--that's his whole blurb). Some wicked bits about the early days of hip-hop, and the music biz overall. The sequel, Urban Romance, spotlights a minor Seduced charactor, who writes for Billboard and the Voice. Haven't read it yet, but it's next. Tate's Everything But The Burden, about whites biting black music, is another I've heard good stuff about.

don, Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:09 (fifteen years ago) link

For a good time, read:

Dino by Nick Tosches (about Dean Martin; as deep as Catch a Fire by Timothy White, as entertaining as that Motley Crue book)

Backbeat: Earl Palmer's Story, by Tony Scherman (oral history/autobiography of the New Orleans drummer; had me at "Louis Armstrong was a pimp"...)

We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk by Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen (better than Please Kill Me, kind of like L.A. punk itself)

Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:30 (fifteen years ago) link

Here's TSOL frontman Jack Grisham in We Got the Neutron Bomb, before he announced his run for governor against Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (and Gary Coleman, etc.):

I was torturing this guy in the garage of my mom's house in this nice suburban neighborhood with my whole family inside eating Easter dinner... and I'd got this guy tied up in the rafter with a rope around his legs and I'm beating him with a two-by-four. I said, "Hang on a minute," and put the two-by-four down and walked into the house and kissed my aunt and said like, "Oh hi, how you doing?" I grabbed a deviled egg, told them I'd be back in a minute, and I went back out, grabbed the two-by-four, and kept workin' on the guy. I finally had to get out of Vicious Circle 'cause of the violence. There were constant stabbings and beatings and people cruising by my house at night, shooting up the neighborhood....

I did something pretty bad to somebody and they retaliated with guns. It was a big deal, I had to split to Alaska for a while, they cut the lines on my car, blew up my car... fuck...I don't wanna say who they were, but they weren't punks... boy, they were pissed off.

Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:34 (fifteen years ago) link

'Long Time Gone' the David Crosby (auto)biog is definitely the best music book i have ever read. the way he led his life and some of the decisions he made are genuinely stupefying. equal parts genius and retard. extraordinary when set against the soundtrack of the music he was making.

i went on holiday with the Deborah Curtis book and the Nick Drake biography once. happy times, let me tell you.

Lee F# (fsharp), Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:53 (fifteen years ago) link

dino is so good that i've lent and lost TWO copies to (so-called) friends

if you ever find dave rimmer's "once upon a time in the east", abt berlin east and west b4 the fall of the wall, i utterly UTTERLY recommend it: tho it's only somewhat abt music - unlike his earlier (and also good) "like punk never happened"

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:53 (fifteen years ago) link

I've just got "Lost in the Grooves" by the editors of Scram (the same peeps who did "Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth"), a collection of reviews of culty, forgotten or neglected albums. Some very ILM choices in there: Jandek, Poster Children, Bridgette Fontaine etc. If only slsk was working properly...

Richard C (avoid80), Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:00 (fifteen years ago) link

I wrote a few entries for Lost In The Grooves (Boogie Down Productions, Schoolly D, Sonny Sharrock).

Joe Carducci's Rock and the Pop Narcotic is being reissued sometime this year.

pdf (Phil Freeman), Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:02 (fifteen years ago) link

and how could i forget, the funniest rock-related book ever: the life and times of little richard by charles white.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:19 (fifteen years ago) link

xpost the David Crosby book has sections with different versions side by side, like the Synoptic Gospels: the Word according to St. David, his friends and ex-friends. But certainly not Gospel in the I-swung-naked-on-the-chandelier-but-now-I've-found-the-LORDuh (so send your dollars to my new friends today). He's got his regrets, but still the somae ornery critter ("Don't do crack, and also watch out for the CIA/Colobian Cartels, man," is more the POV)

don, Friday, 18 March 2005 00:01 (fifteen years ago) link

Bass Culture
Sadly retitled in America as The History of Jamaica's music or something like that, but it's excellent. The only disappointing aspect about it is that Lloyd Bradley doesn't cover any On-U-Sound releases in the book or even take them into account.

Quit glaring at Ian Riese-Moraine! He's mentally fraught! (Eastern Mantra), Friday, 18 March 2005 00:23 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm just finishing this, I like it, but it could have used a little bit more demographic and geographic background info on Jamaica and Kingston in particular.

JoB (JoB), Friday, 18 March 2005 01:32 (fifteen years ago) link

Nick Kent's "The Dark Stuff"
"Alt-Rock-o-Rama" (great on car trips!)
Brian Eno's "More Dark than Shark"
Motley Crue's "The Dirt" (well, not about music, per se)

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Friday, 18 March 2005 01:54 (fifteen years ago) link

Blissed Out is still my favorite Simon Reynolds book. Jon Savage's England's Dreaming (see recent thread on him); Chuck Eddy's Stairway To Hell and Accidental Evolution; a couple of good anthologies: ROck She Wrote and Trouble Girls.

don, Friday, 18 March 2005 06:37 (fifteen years ago) link

that book "Hip: A History" isn't strictly about music but it's also very good. I think the author's name is John Leland.

Ashandeej, Friday, 18 March 2005 06:41 (fifteen years ago) link

Audio Culture (edited cox / warner) seconded, and limiting myself to the books next to my desk (library's in the hallway)

Electronic and Experimental Music by Thom Holmes
also; Wireless Imagination (d kahn / g whitehead)
Paul Griffiths - A Concise History of Avant-Garde Music
Paul Griffiths - Modern Music And Beyond
Curtis Roads
William Duckworth : Talking Music
Cage: Silence / A Year From Monday
Cage / Feldman: Conversations
James Tenney : Meta / Hodos
Karlheinz Stockhausen - Stockhausen on Music (Compiled by R Maconie)
Sound By Artists (ed. Dan Lander)
Chris Cutler - File Under Popular
Attali - Noise
Russolo - The Art of Noises (get a hold of a copy any way you can)
Trevor Wishart - On Sonic Art
Douglas Kahn - Noise Water Meat

milton parker (Jon L), Friday, 18 March 2005 07:13 (fifteen years ago) link

milton, has "modern music and beyond" been updated at all?: when i first read it (= in like 1977), i remember thinking "waddya mean beyond"!! it stops in 1968 with a sad thud!!

i think the attali book is lousy at book length—it's a good short polemic idea bulked out to a contradictory nonsense schema—and wireless imagination is patchy (which is a pity, cz it's a great idea for an essay collection)

mark s (mark s), Friday, 18 March 2005 09:11 (fifteen years ago) link

really good things I've read over the last few months were adorno's bk on mahler and morton feldman's 'give my regards to 8th street' essay comp.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Friday, 18 March 2005 09:55 (fifteen years ago) link

weird, I stopped reading Neutron Bomb halfway through--bored me for some reason, though the stories weren't in themselves boring. hmmm. (though it may be because I've never been all that into L.A. punk and like NYC punk way more.)

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 18 March 2005 10:27 (fifteen years ago) link

"Bass Culture" seconded - terminally readable, even if you don't much care about the stuff (which I do); as much of a cultural history as anything else. There's a certain integrity to his (not total, by any means, but pronounced) dismissal of Dancehall (and I do sometimes hear, say, Bounty Killer a bit differently now that I've read about the jamaican warlords and can't just pretend it's all fun "hey let's pretend we're Al Pacino" wackyness), but I do sorta wish he had just stopped when "his" age was over.

The Elvis Guralnick books - again, you don't have to care about the subject matter to enjoy them (personally, I was so-so on Elvis before readin' 'em, am now an unabashed fan), and the second one is one hell of a car wreck: the descent starts like twenty pages into it, and by the end of the book you can't even feel sorry for the guy anymore, you just wonder why he hasn't kicked the bucket already.

"Where Did Our Love Go?" by Nelson George has some nice anecdotes, and is probably the best book on Motown around, tho to be frank I didn't learn all that much from it.

"The Heart Of Rock & Soul" seconded, and throw in the "New Book Of Rock Lists" too, if only for the sheer joy of reading the sentence "Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum Lists..." over and over again (not that book of rock jokes, tho, that was awful.) And also "Fortunate Son: The Best Of Dave Marsh", great stuff on Elvis, Muddy Waters, latino rock, etc.

I remember reading Maryiln Manson's "The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell" in my early teens and being surprised by how good it was (I'd always loathed the guy's music.) Dunno if it holds up.

"Sweet Soul Music", hell yeah.

I've read the entirety of Christgau's consumer guide online, and there's some great, great stuff there. So the books are recommended, too.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Friday, 18 March 2005 11:12 (fifteen years ago) link

Brother Ray by Ray Charles with David Ritz is fantastic and amazingly blunt and candid.

shookout (shookout), Friday, 18 March 2005 11:14 (fifteen years ago) link

'Joe Carducci's Rock and the Pop Narcotic is being reissued sometime this year.'

yay I've been wanting to read that one for a while!

adding to my prev post here leroi jones 'blues people' which I just finished this morning: most gd bks on music accept that they aren't just abt notes and chords.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Friday, 18 March 2005 12:53 (fifteen years ago) link

i think the attali book is lousy at book length"

You mean it's not long enough? I loved the book. Should re-read it...

I also loved the Lexicon Devil (bio on Darby Crash) though it's certainly not essential...

nathalie barefoot in the head (stevie nixed), Friday, 18 March 2005 12:54 (fifteen years ago) link

All my obvious suggestions are covered here, so let me just say: even if you're a die-hard, passionate, blacked-out-yr-own-teeth Joe Strummer/Clash fan, AVOID AT ALL COSTS the pile of dung known as "Let Fury Have the Hour: the Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer." The superficial "analysis," the copious mistakes (London Calling wasn't recorded in New York, dumbshit!), the TYPOS (?!?)'s a massacree!

Jason Toon, Friday, 18 March 2005 16:41 (fifteen years ago) link

African Rhythm and African Sensibility by John Miller Chernoff

the ONLY thing wrong with JMC's line is that he somewhat slightly seems to accept the assumption that the social dimension—the "dance"—isn’t also always part of all music in the West (though he does this in the context of getting ppl to see/hear/look for the fuller sense of the meaning of music): taking his insights abt Africa (Ghana, to be more accurate) and applying them everywhere else is revelatory

Most of it is a charming telling of him learning African drumming in Ghana

mark s (mark s), Friday, 18 March 2005 18:23 (fifteen years ago) link

The only two lengthy reads on Led Zep - Stephen Davis' Hammer of the Gods and roadie Richard Cole's 'Stairway to Heaven,' are both pulpy and full of dirt and invented mythology. Not to say I don't recommend them though.

And I hope someone someday undertakes a lengthy Sabbath bio.

57 7th (calstars), Friday, 18 March 2005 19:01 (fifteen years ago) link

With musicians you gotta read the memoir AND the biography.

everything, Friday, 27 December 2019 23:31 (three months ago) link

He's written books (or at least they have the grain and aroma of his words and music and oh yeah voice), and materializes memorably in xpost Southwest Shuffle: Pioneers of Honky-Tonk, Western Swing, and Country Jazz (handsome trade pb w good pix, Routledge, 2003), by Rick Kienzle and Michael Streissguth's Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville, but you might start with daughter Susie Nelson's Heart Worn Memories, which, despite its title, has a lot of spark and rueful humor, often at her own expense (in the church where she's about to marry Mr. Wrong, Willie observes that there's probably a back door to the joint). No scandal-mongering, but she lifts the lid of the Nelson Tennessee family complex, and cogently contextualizes, distinguishes the path of her short-lived brother Billy. Also good stuff about music (Dad climbs into the tent on her teen bedroom floor, smokes a joint with her while they listen to Hendrix).

dow, Saturday, 28 December 2019 04:58 (three months ago) link

Anyone read Tricky's autobiography yet?

Maresn3st, Saturday, 28 December 2019 12:42 (three months ago) link

No want to get it though.
Was looking at it in foyles yesterday.
Saw they had the Debbie Harry and Flea memoirs at half rrp if anybody needs them.
Think I will see what Waterstones has at post xmas cut price later this afternoon.

Stevolende, Saturday, 28 December 2019 13:01 (three months ago) link

Oh yeah Foyles had signed copies of the Tricky.
My Defying Gravity is signed too which I hadn't noticed when I was looking at what I assume was the same copy on the shelf this time last week.

Stevolende, Saturday, 28 December 2019 13:04 (three months ago) link

Waterstones has the new prince book on half price as well as the 2 I mentioned from Foyles.

Stevolende, Saturday, 28 December 2019 18:36 (three months ago) link

Enjoyed the Jeff Tweedy book

rizzx, Saturday, 28 December 2019 19:09 (three months ago) link

I think Joe Nick Patoski’s book on Willie Nelson is supposed to be good.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 29 December 2019 00:38 (three months ago) link

Agree about the Tweedy book. He has a great way with a story.

I've waited years for a Todd Rundgren memoir, and it finally came out last year. The Individualist. He's also a good storyteller, very efficient with the written word, and it has plenty of the wry aphorisms you'd expect. But it has been poorly (i.e. not) edited, typos flying off the page everywhere. Looks like it came right out of his computer, first draft and autocorrected. (The Monkeys?!) Good read but frustrating as well.

henry s, Sunday, 29 December 2019 00:56 (three months ago) link

I just got reminded that there is a book on Italian Prog and has been for the last few years. ItalianProg by Augusto Croce.
There is a Look Inside feature on Amazon that looks good.
But that's all I've seen on it. I have also seen mention that the translation is a bit rough and clunky etc.
Anybody got it and had a better chance to look at it?

Stevolende, Friday, 10 January 2020 11:50 (two months ago) link

the translation is a bit rough and clunky etc.

no it's actually like that in the original. author was really keen to capture the essence of the music in writing

budo jeru, Friday, 10 January 2020 16:03 (two months ago) link

I'd also be interested in finding out how good the Vernon Joynson book on punk/postpone etc etc is.
Just got the one by him on Latin America and Canada at the time of psych and prog . Somehow missed hearing it was around though did get the one released a few months earlier which was initially an expansion on part of the same book. Covered Asia the antipodes and Africa.
Got the book slightly used for a pretty decent price.

Stevolende, Friday, 10 January 2020 16:55 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

So yeah this Mike Barnes book on 70s UK prog is pretty great.

the grateful dead can dance (anagram), Tuesday, 3 March 2020 12:28 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

Rob Sheffield's 50 best rock memoirs:

I've only read #1--my pronounced preference for biographies over autobiographies extends to music, baseball, everything.

clemenza, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 14:57 (one week ago) link

jeez, I've only read 5 of these, and I thought I played a pretty good rock memoir game.

henry s, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 15:06 (one week ago) link

I've read seven, and there's one or two others on that list I might want to read. Slash's book was one of the dullest things I've ever read; 400 pages of lorem ipsum would have been more diverting.

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 15:21 (one week ago) link

The Peter Hook blurb mentions the Bernard Sumner book, but not the recent one from Stephen Morris, which I found to be a decent read (also author seems like a genuinely good guy).

anatol_merklich, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 15:26 (one week ago) link

Good revive, I could use a good rock memoir right now

morrisp, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 16:49 (one week ago) link

Don't know why I picked Don Felder's Between Heaven and Hell for latest victim of my totally unfair Random Read Test, but it passed and I spent the day at the library going through the whole thing, which never happens. No regerts---detailed rave here:
A Good Day In Hell - The Official ILM Track-By-Track EAGLES Listening Thread

dow, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 18:00 (one week ago) link

dow, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 18:03 (one week ago) link

We might should have more cover art on this thread---or would it be distracting. irrelevant?

dow, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 18:04 (one week ago) link

Groupie memoirs are a booming industry, from Pamela Des Barres’ classic I’m With the Band to Pattie Boyd’s fab Wonderful Tonight. But the tiara goes to hair-metal video vixen Bobbie Brown, who contributed precisely zero to music history, yet became a star by shaking what mama gave her in Warrant and Great White clips.


budo jeru, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 19:40 (one week ago) link

The top 3 wouldn't load for me, if anyone can paste?

Dollarmite Is My Name (sic), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 20:28 (one week ago) link

Top 3 memoirs on Rolling Stone list? Is that what you mean?
Dylan, Springsteen, Patti Smith

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 20:44 (one week ago) link

I've only read the Patti Smith one. I'm not big on bios in general; prefer critical readings of an artist, which is while I'll probably read at least a dozen more 33 1/3's before I ever get to that copy of Chronicles, Volume 1 that I've had sitting, unread, on my shelf for years.

Maria Edgelord (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 20:54 (one week ago) link

Let me be the first to say that nothing about Chronicles, Volume is like a typical rock bio though.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 20:58 (one week ago) link

I haven't read it, but I just received John Corbett's Pick Up the Pieces: Excursions in Seventies Music today (one of the books I bought last week while trying to support one of my favorite indie bookstores). I've heard lots of good things about it.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 20:59 (one week ago) link

Chronicles is one of the weirdest books I've ever read. Gorgeous George, meticulous making-of chapter on one of those '80s albums vs. hardly a word (from what I remember) on '65/66...and I realize its perverseness is why people love it, and that there's a mountain of writing on '65/66 already.

clemenza, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 21:05 (one week ago) link

Top 3 memoirs on Rolling Stone list? Is that what you mean?

yes, ta - I got a SHOW MORE link after Questlove, that when clicked erased all the previous 47 and loaded comments instead (the first of which was raging that the list was invalid because there were books by rappers on it)

Dollarmite Is My Name (sic), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 21:37 (one week ago) link

Including audiobooks, I've read (or "read") 8 from the Rolling Stone list: 6 of the top 7, plus Kristin Hersh and Kim Gordon. (I'll get to you, Questlove.) Especially recommend seeking out Viv Albertine (print) and Patti Smith (audio).

punning display, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 22:08 (one week ago) link

I haven't read it, but I just received John Corbett's Pick Up the Pieces: Excursions in Seventies Music today (one of the books I bought last week while trying to support one of my favorite indie bookstores). I've heard lots of good things about it.

It's a good one. Corbett's one of my heroes. I interviewed him last year when it came out (warning: podcast - you will hear my speaking voice).

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 23:38 (one week ago) link

I note that David Lee Roth’s book makes the list, but Sammy Hagar‘s — which I have actually read, for some reason — does not.

morrisp, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 23:40 (one week ago) link

David Lee Roth's book is v good.

Dollarmite Is My Name (sic), Wednesday, 25 March 2020 02:29 (one week ago) link

There’s a great NewsRadio episode (“Chock”) in which Bill McNeal (Phil Hartman’s character) reads Crazy From the Heat... he keeps bringing it up, recounting anecdotes, etc.; then it turns out he has no idea who David Lee Roth is (“I think he was a singer before he turned to writing”).

morrisp, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 03:28 (one week ago) link

ha :)

Dollarmite Is My Name (sic), Wednesday, 25 March 2020 03:57 (one week ago) link

I can imagine someone reading only DLR’s book, I can imagine someone reading both DLR’s book and Sammy’s, I cannot imagine someone only reading Sammy’s

Master of Treacle, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 04:16 (one week ago) link

I'm not a big Dylan guy, but I read Chronicles and finished it feeling like it's pretty bad as like, A Dylan Biography. I enjoyed reading it, but it felt like I was missing a lot of knowledge that it assumed I had. What's the best Dylan bio out there?

triggercut, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 06:22 (one week ago) link

going into that sheffield list i was anticipating responding 'no rod stewart, no credibility' but there rod is, high up there, at that. his eloquence is so surprising you can't help but admire him

reggie (qualmsley), Wednesday, 25 March 2020 14:34 (one week ago) link

Dean Wareham's book is really good, he's v frank about Damon & Naomi but doesn't let himself off the hook.

Maresn3st, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 14:53 (one week ago) link

(xpost) The only one I know I've read for sure is Anthony Scaduto's, the first and most ancient--came out in the early '70s. I read it 40 years ago, so I don't remember a thing; I don't think it was all that well received, by Dylan especially. The most famous is Robert Shelton's, which was anticipated for years--it's his Times review on reproduced on the first album. I think I read that when it came out. But I'm not sure--I might have just skipped to the end, where he interviews Dylan. I think he does, anyway. My memory's terrible, as you can see.

clemenza, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 15:07 (one week ago) link

Kristin Hersh and Viv Albertine’s books are fantastic. I’d have included Playing the Bass With Three Left Hands by Will Carruthers. And its not technically a rock memoir, but Really the Blues by Mezz Mezzrow (especially since Dylan took bits and pieces of it for his own memoir).

JoeStork, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 16:48 (one week ago) link

i liked the kristin hersh book about vic chesnutt too (depressing obviously)

na (NA), Wednesday, 25 March 2020 16:51 (one week ago) link

Loved the Hersh autobiog (predictably). Have bought her Chesnutt one as well, but am stalling at diving in, possibly for reasons expressed by na there.

anatol_merklich, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 22:35 (one week ago) link

Dylan's Chronicles I is fantastic. It is not really an autobio though.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 22:38 (one week ago) link

I want to take a minute to Stan for a very obvious choice, one that most here will have probably already read, or at least been aware of - Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business. It's the most entertaining book on the pop-music business that I ever read, and I've read it 20-odd-some years ago. There are a million other books, most of which are mentioned in this treasure of a thread, but this book explains 70s-90s major label business more than any other book. 

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Wednesday, 25 March 2020 22:40 (one week ago) link

I read a book a few years back written by Jacob Slichter (drummer for Semisonic) on a recommendation by a friend, it's a great read and Jacob is a really engaging writer, it's the boom and bust tale of Semisonic (and a bit about Trip Shakespeare) but very good nonetheless.

Maresn3st, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 22:49 (one week ago) link

^ So You Wanna Be A Rockstar? It's a great one.

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Wednesday, 25 March 2020 22:53 (one week ago) link

Yep, that's the one!

Maresn3st, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 22:57 (one week ago) link

Y'all really made me just order a book by the drummer from Semisonic, and that's why I love this place.

triggercut, Thursday, 26 March 2020 01:31 (one week ago) link

My 2 fave rock memoirs are Crazy From the Heat and Chronicles Vol 1, maybe not in that order.

rawdogging the pandemic (hardcore dilettante), Thursday, 26 March 2020 01:57 (one week ago) link

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