Good books about music/pop stars etc

I’m about halfway through it and although it’s somewhat self indulgent; Patti musing about coffee, detective shows and cats is oddly compelling.

If the person doing the self-ingulging is as lovely and clever and poetic and right-on as Patti Smith, then I’ve absolutely no problem at all with self-indulgence.

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Let me know your thoughts once you get round to reading it, though I’ll be surprised to hear if you’re disappointed.

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Yeah, that’s the problem, a lot of old dance 12"s were just that - 12"s - and aren’t on Spotify.

Here’s the tracklisting for the CD that was attached, but it looks like a lot of it is what was easier to licence than true classics.

Some might be on Spotify, but I bet all the artists are, so you could listen to other stuff by them?

I’ll second the Carrie Brownstein book, great read.
I’ve also recently started the 33 1/3 series. Spiderland is fantastic, made me fall in love with the album all over again.
Started In An Aeroplane Over The Sea last night, not feeling it as much though.

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Ah, yes. I’d forgot about the MOE book - very good.

I got Morrissey’s book for Christmas a couple of years back but I read the first two or three pages and even that felt like a slog. Might give it another go if it’s actually good

Read the thread title and came in to recommend Peter Hook, it is brilliant exactly what I want from a musicians book. Quite enjoyed Johnny Marr’s as well to a lesser extent but like hook he doesn’t brush over the actual making if the music

Only really struggled through the section about the court case and boy, that truly was a slog to read.

Steve Hanley’s The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall is a cracking read. Several years since I read it, but I enjoyed reading Stuart Maconie’s Cider With Roadies too; and I’ll second Julian Cope’s Head On.

With full sincerity, Robbie Williams Feel by Chris Heath. Its a very candid, hilarious and dark insight into pop stardom and an unlikely superstar.


A couple of wonderful music books;

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop by Bob Stanley

A wonderfully entertaining, frequently really funny history of chart music, full of asides, anecdotes and brilliant one-liners, but also loads of insights.

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever by Will Hermes

Absolutely fascinating history of the music scene in New York in the mid-seventies covering the birth and early years of punk, disco and hip hop and also the vibrant and innovative jazz, Latin and modern classical scenes.

came to post this. it’s great, really funny and has similarly geeky insights about the records and touring. even though i’m a massive fan anyway, i do think The Fall are one of the most endlessly entertaining bands to read about, their whole world is so completely mad. The Fallen by Dave Simpson is also really good for that reason.

pretty much any Simon Reynolds book is good. Newest one felt a little too tainted by personal opinion in spots though and I felt he had a tough time selling the glam aspect beyond the 80s.

“Facing the Other Way” by Martin Aston is a good biography of 4AD records

“Nico: The End” by James Young (her keyboardist at the time) is like Spinal Tap for proto-punk.

not directly related to any artists, but these are good ones too:

“I Want My MTV” by Rob Tannenbaum & Craig Marks is a good oral history of MTV’s heyday that rightfully ends with the starts of The Real World.

“How Music Got Free” by Stephen Witt covers the rise of the mp3 and how it took over the record industry.

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Rip it Up by Simon Reynolds and James Young’s Nico book (called Songs They Never Play on the Radio when I read it, but maybe there are different editions with different names) are both really good.

The Spiderland one is so good. It was the first one I read.

Read the Sound of Silver one not too long ago and it was a little disappointing. Some of them can be hit or miss.

Please Kill Me by Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil

My favourites are:

But Beautiful - Geoff Dyer
A series of short story-like vignettes about black jazz musicians. I read it more as a fan of the author than the genre and it almost took my head off. Some of his very best writing - avoiding the humour that’s usually his trademark and focussing on dark, luminescent description. I’ve bought at least 15 copies for various people as I was so moved by it. Essential.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon
In this case I’m obsessed with the artist and thought the delivery of the book’s narrative was really interesting. Essentially, it’s written by various people around him - with each sharing perhaps a specific memory or anecdote and then put into chronological order. Felt like the best way to approach such a wild, multi-faceted (conflicted?) man. I tore through it. Essential if you’re interested in rock n roll biogs, Zevon, LA songwriters or people hell-bent on self-destruction who finally, sort of, come good in the end.

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Adding a further thumbs up to:

Bob Stanley’s Yeah Yeah Yeah - its breadth and detail is pretty amazing. Introduced me to a lot of great stuff.
James Young’s Nico book - really quite depressing but very funny amid that
Revolution in the Head - the essential Beatles book.
Tony Wilson’s autobiography - he’s massively up himself but some of his writing is surprisingly quite beautiful
Our band could be your life - despite liking very few of the bands, thought this was pretty inspiring and eye opening

I read them back to back and enjoyed Re-possessed every bit as much as Head On (which was a lot). I guess the only possible criticism I could possibly level at it is that some of the supporting characters from the first one have disappeared from the narrative by the time of the second book…