6 Best Books About Music


Interested in learning more about different styles of music? Maybe you’re just curious about what life on the road for a musician is really like. Whatever the reason, indulge your passion for music with one of these interesting reads about the world of music. Some are more well-known than others, but all are worth checking out if you’re intrigued by the idea of a life in music.


How Music Works, David Byrne

David Byrne has spent a lifetime creating and thinking about music. This book is more than just stories about the Talking Heads. It delves deep into the hows and whys of music, including the influence of things like time, place, culture, and technology on how music is performed, recorded, and listened to.


Songbook, Nick Hornby

A collection of essays by novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity) about the impact of particular songs on his life. Any music lover can relate to Hornby’s stories about the power of music, and how certain songs become forever associated with a particular moment in your life. How many times have you listened to “Thunder Road”…Hornby thinks he’s listened to it about 1,500 times.


England’s Dreaming, Jon Savage

There are lots of books about the history of punk rock, but the classic England’s Dreaming, published in 1991, is a true must-read for fans of the genre. It explores the beginnings of punk, particularly the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols and their notorious promoter Malcom McLaren. If you’re interested in the cultural and historical roots of punk in England, this book is for you.


Just Kids, Patti Smith

The legendary Patti Smith’s intimate and personal account of her early years in the gritty downtown New York music scene of the 1970s. Patti lived in the famous Chelsea Hotel with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Her description of their unique friendship as they struggled to survive and create art in their early 20s is unforgettable.


Life, Keith Richards

If you think you already know all about Keith Richards, reading his memoir just might surprise you. It’s a fascinating look into a complicated life, and more than just a recap of what it’s like to be a superstar and live a wild rock and roll lifestyle. Richards talks about his humble beginnings and early discovery of the power of music. You’ll also learn a lot about his musical influences, particularly classic American blues.


Wonderland Avenue, Danny Sugarman

Truth is stranger than fiction in Danny Sugarman’s memoir of his life in the wild LA music scene of the late 60s and early 70s. Sugarman grew up in Beverly Hills and got his first job at 12 opening fan mail for the Doors. He ended up becoming a publicist for the band (and a close friend of Jim Morrison), all while indulging in the excesses of sex, drugs, and rock and roll…and barely surviving to tell about it.