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Best Music Books

Dive into the rhythm of words with the most recommended music books across the web, harmonizing the lives of artists, history of genres, and the power of sound.

Recommendations from 45 articles, Harry Styles, Emma Watson, Russell Brand and 42 others.
95 books on the list
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How Music Works book cover
How Music Works
David Byrne - 2012-09-12 (first published in 2014)
Goodreads Rating
Explore the world of music with David Byrne's comprehensive guide, updated with a new chapter on digital curation. Drawing on his extensive career and collaborations with Talking Heads and Brian Eno, Byrne delves into the key influences that shape music, from acoustics to social and technological factors. Discover the power of music to shape our experiences and learn more about how songs, symphonies, and rhythms inspire us all. With every chapter, Byrne reveals exciting new insights into the liberating qualities of music.
This Is Your Brain on Music book cover
This Is Your Brain on Music
The Science of a Human Obsession
Daniel J. Levitin - 2006-08-03
Goodreads Rating
Explore the fascinating connection between music and the human brain with this groundbreaking and engaging book. Delve into the new discoveries in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology that shed light on why music has such a powerful effect on our emotions. Uncover the mysteries behind how musical preferences are formed, how the brain responds to music, and why musical pleasure is unlike any other kind. This book takes a deep dive into our obsession with music, examining cultural and scientific perspectives, and even studying patients who cannot make sense of music. Discover the unique role music plays in our lives through this informative and enlightening read.
Lou Reed book cover
Lou Reed
The King of New York
Will Hermes - 2023-10-03
Goodreads Rating
In "Lou The King of New York," Will Hermes has crafted the ultimate biography of rock legend Lou Reed. Drawing on the New York Public Library's extensive Reed archive, Hermes delves into the complex partnerships, poetic genius, and artistic ambition that defined Reed's life and work. From his influential role in bridging pop and avant-garde music to his pioneering exploration of nonbinary sexuality and gender identity, Reed's impact on American culture is undeniable. Discover the captivating story of a man who left an indelible mark on music and society.
The Rest Is Noise book cover
The Rest Is Noise
Listening to the Twentieth Century
Alex Ross - 2007-10-16
Goodreads Rating
Discover the fascinating and often obscure world of 20th-century classical music in this insightful book. From its influence on jazz and avant-garde sounds in Hollywood to its impact on rock, pop, and dance music, this book explores the remarkable array of maverick personalities who defied the classical past and resisted the will of dictators. The narrative takes readers on a journey through Vienna, Paris, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, and downtown New York in the sixties and seventies, chronicling experiments, revolutions, and dramatic new technologies. All told, this book provides a history of the 20th century through its music.
How To Make It in the New Music Business book cover
How To Make It in the New Music Business
Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician (Second Edition)
Ari Herstand - 2023-01-17
Goodreads Rating
The ultimate guide for musicians navigating the ever-changing music industry. This book has become widely adopted by music schools and is considered "the best how-to book of its kind" by industry professionals. Learn how to build a stable career by taking advantage of social media, mastering merchandising, and authentic fan connections. The second edition includes updated online trends and inspiring success stories on Spotify and Instagram. A must-have for any musician hoping to make it on their own terms.
Major Labels book cover
Major Labels
A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres
Kelefa Sanneh - 2021-10-05
Goodreads Rating
Explore the entire history of popular music over the past fifty years through the big genres that have defined and dominated it: rock, R&B, country, punk, hip-hop, dance music, and pop. Kelefa Sanneh, one of the essential voices of our time on music and culture, distills a career's worth of knowledge into a brilliant and omnivorous reckoning with popular music. Major Labels explores music as an art form, cultural and economic force, and tool that we use to build our identities. Sanneh debunks cherished myths, reappraises beloved heroes, and upends familiar ideas of musical greatness, arguing that sometimes, the best popular music isn't transcendent. This is a book about the music everyone loves, the music everyone hates, and the decades-long argument over which is which.
Just Kids book cover
Just Kids
Patti Smith - 2010-01-19
Goodreads Rating
This book takes you on a journey through the captivating story of two young artists who made a pact to take care of each other during the hungry years of late sixties and seventies New York City. It is a love story, an elegy, a historical snapshot, and a tribute to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions, and their ascent to fame. Written by Patti Smith, an influential artist herself, it serves as a salute to the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics, all colliding and exploding in this unforgettable milieu.
Please Kill Me book cover
Please Kill Me
The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
Legs McNeil - 2006-04-13 (first published in 1996)
Goodreads Rating
Discover the raw, unfiltered history of punk through the voices of its most infamous pioneers. Iggy Pop, Joey Ramone, and other punk icons share their stories in the first-ever oral history of this explosive movement. From its beginnings in the New York City art scene to its peak as a cultural revolution, this definitive account of punk is a must-read for music lovers and history buffs alike.
Recommended by
Eric AlperSeth Mandel
Our Band Could Be Your Life book cover
Our Band Could Be Your Life
Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991
Michael Azerrad - 2002-07-02 (first published in 2001)
Goodreads Rating
Relive the punk rock revolution that reenergized American rock with this sweeping chronicle of music, politics, drugs, fear, loathing, and faith. Discover the never-before-told stories of bands, labels, fanzines, radio stations, and other subversives who created deeply personal, often brilliant, always challenging, and immensely influential music. Profiles include Mission of Burma, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, Minor Threat, and more. Recognized as an indie rock classic in its own right, Our Band Could Be Your Life is a must-read for any music lover.
Behind the Seams book cover
Behind the Seams
My Life in Rhinestones
Dolly Parton - 2023-10-17
Goodreads Rating
Discover the captivating world of fashion and style with Behind the My Life in Rhinestones. Iconic superstar Dolly Parton takes you on an intimate journey, sharing personal stories and showcasing 450 stunning photographs, including exclusive images from her private costume archive. Delve into the fascinating history behind Dolly's unique sense of fashion, from her humble beginnings sewing clothes from feed sacks to her dazzling looks that have captivated audiences worldwide. Explore her most unforgettable outfits, from sky-high heels to eye-catching stage clothes, all accompanied by behind-the-scenes anecdotes from her legendary career. With a delightful blend of candor, humor, and lots of rhinestones, this book is a shining tribute to an iconic musician and an essential guide to embracing your own beauty and confidence.
Get More Fans by Jesse Cannon
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman
The Dirt by Tommy Lee
Rememberings by Sinéad O'Connor
Start Your Music Business by Audrey K. Chisholm Esq.
The Music Business Advice Book by Bobby Owsinski
Artist Management for the Music Business by Paul Allen
Hammer of the Gods by Stephen Davis
But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? by Laura Flam, Emily Sieu Liebowitz
The Lyrics by Paul McCartney
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Dilla Time by Dan Charnas
Nina Simone's Gum by Warren Ellis
All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman
Shine Bright by Danyel Smith
Divided Soul by David Ritz
The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones by Stanley Booth
Music Money and Success 8th Edition by Jeff Brabec
Chronicles by Bob Dylan
Music Is History by Questlove
Listen to This by Alex Ross
The Song Machine by John Seabrook
Sonic Life by Thurston Moore
The Creative ACT by Rick Rubin
Good Booty by Ann Powers
Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You by Lucinda Williams
A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib
How Music Got Free by Stephen Witt
Sellout by Dan Ozzi
Last Train to Memphis by Peter Guralnick
Revolution in the Head by Ian MacDonald
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
England's Dreaming, Revised Edition by Jon Savage
Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison
Hit Men by Fredric Dannen
Every Good Boy Does Fine by Jeremy Denk
Beeswing by Richard Thompson
Music Theory for Guitarists by Tom Kolb
Fundamentals of Musical Composition by Arnold Schoenberg
Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine
Fear Stalks the Land! by Thom Yorke, Stanley Donwood
Diary of a Rock 'n' Roll Star by Ian Hunter
Music Marketing for the DIY Musician by Bobby Borg
Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy by Robert Jourdain
Work Hard Playlist Hard by Mike Warner
All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman
Great Pop Things by Colin B Morton
Decoding Despacito by Leila Cobo
Life by Keith Richards
Love Is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
Music Theory For Dummies by Michael Pilhofer
I Know a Shy Fellow by Barbara S. Garriel
The Show That Never Ends by David Weigel
Spotify Teardown by Maria Eriksson
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Faith, Hope and Carnage by Nick Cave, Seán O'Hagan
Can't Stop Won't Stop by Jeff Chang
Streaming, Sharing, Stealing by Michael D. Smith
My Name is Barbra by Barbra Streisand
Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs
Moonage Daydream by David Bowie, Mick Rock
Behind Bars by Elaine Gould
The Number Ones by Tom Breihan
It Was All a Dream by Justin Tinsley
Music Theory by Nicolas Carter
Wayward by Vashti Bunyan
To Anyone Who Ever Asks by Howard Fishman
Marr's Guitars by Johnny Marr
Her Country by Marissa R. Moss
The Motherlode by Clover Hope
World Within a Song by Jeff Tweedy
Rock She Wrote by Evelyn McDonnell
Choosing Death by Albert Mudrian, John Peel, Scott Carlson
Louder Than Hell by Jon Wiederhorn, Katherine Turman
Harmony & Voice Leading by Edward Aldwell, Carl Schachter, Allen Cadwallader
Fargo Rock City by Chuck Klosterman
Didn’t We Almost Have It All by Gerrick Kennedy
The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan
Most Dope by Paul Cantor
Violet's Music by Angela Johnson
1964 by Paul McCartney, Jill Lepore