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Rock & Roll Books

Have a rock & roll summer with a rock memoir, history, or novel!

July 19, 2022

Being Elvis by Ray Connolly

Being Elvis
A Lonely Life

Ray Connolly

Elvis Presley is a giant figure in American popular culture, a man whose talent and fame were matched only by his later excesses and tragic end. A godlike entity in the history of rock and roll, this twentieth-century icon with a dazzling voice blended gospel and traditionally black rhythm and blues with country to create a completely new kind of music and new way of expressing male sexuality, which simply blew the doors off a staid and repressed 1950s America. Being ElvisJuxtaposing the music, the songs, and the incendiary live concerts with a personal life that would later careen wildly out of control, Connolly demonstrates that Elvis’s amphetamine use began as early as his touring days of hysteria in the late 1950s, and that the financial needs that drove him in the beginning would return to plague him at the very end.

Set The Night On Fire by Robby Krieger

Set The Night On Fire
Living, Dying, And Playing Guitar With The Doors

Robby Krieger

Few bands are as shrouded in the murky haze of rock mythology as The Doors, and parsing fact from fiction has been a virtually impossible task. But now, after fifty years, The Doors’ notoriously quiet guitarist is finally breaking his silence to set the record straight. Through a series of vignettes, Robby Krieger takes readers back to where it all happened: the pawn shop where he bought his first guitar; the jail cell he was tossed into after a teenage drug bust; his parents’ living room where his first songwriting sessions with Jim Morrison took place; the empty bars and backyard parties where The Doors played their first awkward gigs; the studios where their iconic songs were recorded; and the many concert venues that erupted into historic riots.

Unrequited Infatuations by Steve Van Zandt

Unrequited Infatuations
Odyssey Of A Rock And Roll Consigliere(A Cautionary Tale)

Steve Van Zandt

A member of the E Street Band, a political songwriter and performer, a hardcore activist and actor on the Sopranos chronicles the twists and turns of his surprising life in this one-of-a-kind memoir that doubles as an epic tale of self-discovery.

The First 21 by Nikki Sixx

The First 21
How I Became Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx

The rock-and-roll icon shares his inspirational journey from irrepressible Idaho farmboy to the man who formed Mötley Crüe, proving that you can overcome anything and achieve all of your goals, if only you put your mind to it.Born Franklin Carlton Feranna, Sixx was abandoned by his father and partly raised by his mother, a woman who was ahead of her time but deeply troubled. He lived with other family before being on his own. There were dead-end jobs, and hustling to survive. At night Frank honed his craft, joining Sister, a band formed by fellow hard-rock veteran Blackie Lawless, and formed a group of his own: London, the precursor of Mötley Crüe. He changed his name, and held to his dream of being in a group that combined punk, glam, and hard rock into the biggest, most theatrical and irresistible package the world had ever seen.

Serving The Servant by Danny Goldberg

Serving The Servant
Remembering Kurt Cobain

Danny Goldberg

In early 1991, top music manager Danny Goldberg agreed to take on Nirvana, a critically acclaimed new band from the underground music scene in Seattle. He had no idea that the band’s leader, Kurt Cobain, would become a pop-culture icon with a legacy arguably at the level of that of John Lennon, Michael Jackson, or Elvis Presley. Danny worked with Kurt from 1990 to 1994–the last four years of his life, the events of which resonated around the world. He witnessed the stratospheric success of Nevermind, which turned Nirvana into the most successful rock band in the world and made ‘punk’ and ‘grunge’ household terms; Kurt’s meeting and marriage to the brilliant but mercurial Courtney Love and how their relationship became a lightning rod for critics; the birth of their daughter, Frances Bean; and, finally, Kurt’s public struggles with addiction, which ended in a devastating suicide that would alter the course of rock history.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young by David Browne

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
The Wild, Definitive Saga Of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup

David Browne

Even in the larger-than-life world of rock and roll, it was hard to imagine four more different men. David Crosby, the opinionated hippie guru. Stephen Stills, the perpetually driven musician. Graham Nash, the tactful pop craftsman. Neil Young, the creatively restless loner. But together, few groups were as in sync with their times as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Starting with the original trio’s landmark 1969 debut album, the group embodied much about its era: communal musicmaking, protest songs that took on the establishment and Richard Nixon, and liberal attitudes toward partners and lifestyles. Their songs became the soundtrack of a generation. But their story would rarely be as harmonious as their legendary and influential vocal blend.

The Birth Of Loud by Ian S Port

The Birth Of Loud
Leo Fender, Les Paul, And The Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ian S Port

A riveting saga in the history of rock ‘n’ roll: the decades-long rivalry between the two men who innovated the electric guitar’s amplified sound–Leo Fender and Les Paul–and their intense competition to convince rock stars like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton to play the instruments they built.

Janis by Holly George-Warren

Janis
Her Life And Music

Holly George-Warren

This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down–but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away–even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco. Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due.

Acid For The Children by Flea

Acid For The Children
A Memoir

Flea

Through hilarious anecdotes, poetical meditations, and occasional flights of fantasy, Flea deftly chronicles the experiences that forged him as an artist, a musician, and a young man. His dreamy, jazz-inflected prose makes the Los Angeles of the 1970s and 80s come to gritty, glorious life, including the potential for fun, danger, mayhem, or inspiration that lurked around every corner. It is here that young Flea, looking to escape a turbulent home, found family in a community of musicians, artists, and junkies who also lived on the fringe. He spent most of his time partying and committing petty crimes. But it was in music where he found a higher meaning, a place to channel his frustration, loneliness, and love. This left him open to the life-changing moment when he and his best friends, soul brothers, and partners-in-mischief came up with the idea to start their own band, which became the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Siren Song by Seymour Stein

Siren Song
My Life In Music

Seymour Stein

Seymour Stein is America’s greatest living record man. Not only has he signed and nurtured more important artists than anyone alive, now sixty years in the game, he’s still the hippest label head, travelling the globe in search of the next big thing. Brimming with hilarious scenes and character portraits, Siren Song’s wider narrative is about modernity in motion, and the slow acceptance of diversity in America – thanks largely to daring pop music. Including both the high and low points in his life, Siren Song touches on everything from his discovery of Madonna to his wife Linda Stein’s violent death. Ask anyone in the music business, Seymour Stein is a legend. Sung from the heart, Siren Song will etch his story in stone.

Paul Simon by Robert Hilburn

Paul Simon
The Life

Robert Hilburn

An intimate, candid portrait of the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and first songwriter recipient of the Gershwin Prize, written with rare input by Simon himself, discusses his creative process, his marriages, his decision to leave Simon and Garfunkel, and the challenges and sacrifices of living life at an ultimate level of music artistry.

Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen

Born To Run

Bruce Springsteen

Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs. He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized. Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir.

Stevie Nicks by Zoe Howe

Stevie Nicks
Visions, Dreams & Rumours

Zoe Howe

Lyrical visionary, enduring style icon, and one indispensable fifth of post-Peter Green megaband Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks is one of the most recognizable figures in rock ‘n’ roll history–very much Fleetwood Mac’s “Queen Bee,” as Mick Fleetwood himself described her. With gold and quadruple platinum solo albums under her beaded belt, Stevie Nicks has enjoyed the ultimate in rock ‘n’ roll success as a recording artist–but this charmed life has come as a result of hard graft, self-belief, and a devotion to creativity above all; hers has been a journey of intense highs and lows. This new biography, a celebration of the Stevie Nicks phenomenon, takes us on her journey from peripatetic Midwest childhood to her explosion onto the music scene as chiffon-swathed rock goddess, right up to present day.

Girl In A Band by Kim Gordon

Girl In A Band

Kim Gordon

A founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story–a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence and as one of the first women of rock and roll.

Rocks by Joe Perry

Rocks
My Life In And Out Of Aerosmith

Joe Perry

Rocks is an unusually searching memoir of a life that spans from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel’several times. It is a study of endurance and brotherhood, with Perry providing remarkable candor about Tyler, as well as new insights into their powerful but troubled relationship. It is an insider’s portrait of the rock and roll family, featuring everyone from Jimmy Page to Alice Cooper, Bette Midler to Chuck Berry, John Belushi to Al Hirschfeld. It takes us behind the scenes at unbelievable moments such as Joe and Steven’s appearance in the movie of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (they act out the murders of Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees).Full of humor, insight, and brutal honesty about life in and out of one of the biggest bands in the world, Rocks is the ultimate rock-and-roll epic.

27 by Howard Sounes

27
A History Of The 27 Club Through The Lives Of Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, And Amy Winehouse

Howard Sounes

When singer Amy Winehouse was found dead at her London home in 2011, the press inducted her into what Kurt Cobain’s mother named the 27 Club, the extraordinary roll call of iconic stars who died at the same young age. The Big Six are Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison of the Doors, Kurt Cobain and, now, Amy Winehouse. All were talented. All were dissipated. All were 27. Journalists write about ‘the curse of the 27 Club’ as if there is a supernatural reason for this series of deaths. Others invoke astrology, numerology, and conspiracy theories to explain what has become a modern mystery. In this haunting book, author Howard Sounes conducts the definitive forensic investigation into the lives and deaths of the six most iconic members of the Club, plus another forty-four music industry figures who died at 27, to discover what, apart from coincidence, this phenomenon signifies.

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl
A Memoir

Carrie Brownstein

The guitarist and vocalist of feminist punk trio Sleater-Kinney presents a candid and deeply personal assessment of life in the rock-and-roll industry that reveals her struggles with rock’s double standards and her codevelopment of the comedy “Portlandia.”

Never A Dull Moment by David Hepworth

Never A Dull Moment
1971 The Year That Rock Exploded

David Hepworth

David Hepworth, an ardent music fan and well regarded critic, was twenty-one in ’71, the same age as many of the legendary artists who arrived on the scene. Taking us on a tour of the major moments, the events and songs of this remarkable year, he shows how musicians came together to form the perfect storm of rock and roll greatness, starting a musical era that would last longer than anyone predicted. Those who joined bands to escape things that lasted found themselves in a new age, its colossal start being part of the genre’s staying power.

Beeswing by Richard Thompson

Beeswing
Losing My Way And Finding My Voice, 1967-1975

Richard Thompson

A revealing look at the early years of Richard Thompson, one of the world’s most influential guitarists and songwriters, following the formation of his band Fairport Convention, his revival of British folk traditions, and his journey through Sufism-all before the age of 26.

Rock And Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond

Rock And Roll Will Save Your Life
A Book By And For The Fanatics Among Us (With Bitchin’ Soundtrack)

Steve Almond

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life traces Almond’s passion for “rawk” from his earliest (and most wretched) rock criticism to his eventual discovery of a music-crazed soul mate and their subsequent production of two little superfans. Along the way, Almond reflects on the delusional power of songs, the awkward mating habits of drooling fanatics, and why Depression Songs actually make us feel so much better.

Twilight Of The Gods by Steven Hyden

Twilight Of The Gods
A Journey To The End Of Classic Rock

Steven Hyden

In this mix of personal memoir, criticism, and journalism, Hyden stands witness as classic rock reaches the precipice. Traveling to the eclectic places where geriatric rockers are still making music, he talks to the artists and fans who have aged with them, explores the ways that classic rock has changed the culture, investigates the rise and fall of classic rock radio, and turns to live bootlegs, tell-all rock biographies, and even the liner notes of rock’s greatest masterpieces to tell the story of what this music meant, and how it will be remembered, for fans like himself. Celebrating his love of this incredible music that has taken him from adolescence to fatherhood, he ponders two essential questions: Is it time to give up on his childhood heroes, or can this music teach him about growing old with his hopes and dreams intact? And what can we all learn from rock gods and their music’are they ephemeral or eternal?

The Storyteller by David Grohl

The Storyteller
Tales Of Life And Music

David Grohl

The legendary American musician, singer, songwriter and documentary filmmaker offers a collection of stories, written by his own hand, that focus on the memories of his life, from his childhood to today.Grohl offers an honest portrait of an extraordinary life made up of ordinary moments. From his deep connection to his hometown of Springfield, Virginia, to the awe he still feels about raising his daughters, he tells stories from his soul. Packed with reflections on touring with Scream, joining Nirvana and watching it all crumble, creating Foo Fighters when his life was at a crossroads, and now crisscrossing the world as a family man, Grohl introduces himself to us as a gifted, engaging writer with a clear-eyed perspective on fame.

The Last Days Of John Lennon by James Patterson

The Last Days Of John Lennon

James Patterson

John Lennon was one of the world’s most influential people. Mark David Chapman was one of the most invisible. By the end of 1980, the Beatles had been broken up for a decade — a decade John Lennon had spent in search of his true identity: singer, songwriter, activist, burn out. “It’s the perfect time to be coming back,” he declared. Except that Lennon was a marked man. As early as the Beatles’ controversial 1966 American tour, the band had feared for their safety. “You might as well put a target on me,” Lennon said, and the Nixon administration complied by opening an FBI file. If only the agents hadn’t been so intently focused on the star himself, they might have detected Mark David Chapman’s powerful, ever-growing obsession with his onetime idol.

Led Zeppelin by Bob Spitz

Led Zeppelin
The Biography

Bob Spitz

Rock star. Whatever that term means to you, chances are it owes a debt to Led Zeppelin. No one before or since has lived the dream quite like Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. In Led Zeppelin, Bob Spitz takes their full measure, separating the myth from the reality with his trademark connoisseurship and storytelling flair. The music, however, is only part of the legend: Led Zeppelin is also the story of how the sixties became the seventies, of how playing clubs became playing stadiums, of how innocence became decadence. Led Zeppelin wasn’t the first rock band to let loose on the road, but as with everything else, they took it to an entirely new level. Not all the legends are true, but in Spitz’s careful accounting, what is true is astonishing and sometimes disturbing.

Wild Thing by Philip Norman

Wild Thing
The Short, Spellbinding Life Of Jimi Hendrix

Philip Norman

Her signature songs project a unique mixture of toughness and vulnerability that millions of men and women have related to. Now Hynde tells, with all the fearless candor, sharp humor and depth of feeling we’ve come to expect, exactly where she came from and what her crooked, winding path to stardom entailed. Few other rock stars have managed to combine her swagger, sexiness, stage presence, knack for putting words to music, gorgeous voice and just all-around kick-assedness into such a potent and alluring package.

Reckless by Chrissie Hynde

Reckless
My Life As A Pretender

Chrissie Hynde

The rock legend reflects on her life and career.Her signature songs project a unique mixture of toughness and vulnerability that millions of men and women have related to. Now Hynde tells, with all the fearless candor, sharp humor and depth of feeling we’ve come to expect, exactly where she came from and what her crooked, winding path to stardom entailed. Few other rock stars have managed to combine her swagger, sexiness, stage presence, knack for putting words to music, gorgeous voice and just all-around kick-assedness into such a potent and alluring package.

Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones

Mercury
An Intimate Biography Of Freddie Mercury

Lesley-Ann Jones

The lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury’s unmatched skills as a songwriter and his flamboyant showmanship made him a superstar and Queen a household name. But despite his worldwide fame, few people ever really glimpsed the man behind the glittering facade. Now, more than twenty years after his death, those closest to Mercury are finally opening up about this pivotal figure in rock ‘n roll. Based on more than a hundred interviews with key figures in his life, the author, a rock journalist offers the definitive account of one man’s legendary life in the spotlight and behind the scenes.

Thanks A Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite by Roger Daltrey

Thanks A Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite
My Story

Roger Daltrey

Born during the air bombing of London in 1944, Daltrey fought his way (literally) through school and poverty and began to assemble the band that would become The Who while working at a sheet metal factory in 1961. In Daltrey’s voice, the familiar stories–how they got into smashing up their kit, the infighting, Keith Moon’s antics–take on a new, intimate life. Also here is the creative journey through the unforgettable hits including My Generation, Substitute, Pinball Wizard, and the great albums, Who’s Next, Tommy, and Quadrophenia. Amidst all the music and mayhem, the drugs, the premature deaths, the ruined hotel rooms, Roger is our perfect narrator, remaining sober (relatively) and observant and determined to make The Who bigger and bigger. Not only his personal story, this is the definitive biography of The Who.

Rock & Roll in Fiction

Sister Stardust by Jane Green

Sister Stardust

Jane Green

In her first novel inspired by a true story, Jane Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty in this transporting story from a forgotten chapter of the Swinging ’60s. From afar Talitha’s life seemed perfect. In her twenties, and already a famous model and actress, she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh, with her husband Paul Getty, the famous oil heir. There she presided over a swirling ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a counterculture taking root across the world. When Claire arrives in London from her small town, she never expects to cross paths with a woman as magnetic as Talitha Getty. Yearning for the adventure and independence, she’s swept off to Marrakesh, where the two become kindred spirits. But beneath Talitha’s glamourous facade lurks a darkness few can understand. As their friendship blossoms and the two grow closer, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.

The Final Revival Of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton

The Final Revival Of Opal & Nev

Dawnie Walton

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job–despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies.