Music books question

I re-read ‘Rip It Up and Start Again’ recently. It’s a fucking phenomenal piece of work. The research involved is so deep and the style of writing so accessible that the subject matter’s almost irrelevant. As it goes a lot of the bands are ones i like, but it could’ve been about any genre of music and still be as essential a read, i’d say.

I guess i’m looking for more music books like that - sort of deep, clearly well-written, chaptered books about periods or genres of music. When i’ve investigated lists of recommended music reading before they tend to be mainly wanky coffee table stuff, or ones about a sole band or artist.

Could anyone suggest any books which might be of interest?

Our Band Could Be Your Life has obvious parallels with Rip It Up for me. similar sort of thing.


I took out the library a copy of Simon Reynolds’ more recent book Retromania to do a bit of research on hauntology. The bits I’ve read are making me want to read the entire book, tbh. What I’ve read is rich.


yeah it’s very good, but i took a break from it near the end and haven’t managed to get back into it. really need to finish it, it’s been 2 years now…

Have you read Yeah Yeah Yeah by Bob Stanley? That’s pretty indispensable, I reckon.

Also, The Rest Is Noise is amazing on classical music, and I’m not remotely into classical music

Yes. Supposed to be great and one I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life was good IIRC. Obviously heavily skewed towards doof-doof music. But good nonetheless.

[quote=“badcustard, post:5, topic:9156”]
The Rest Is Noise is amazing on classical music, and I’m not remotely into classical music[/quote]
^ This.

As well as being an interesting historical overview, the guy has a phenomenal way of writing about the music itself which makes you want to stop what you’re doing and immediately listen to it.

Anything by Julian Cope!

The Copendium has an odd swipe at political correctness in the foreword, but beyond that it’s essential. His passion for music is infectious, his style is energising, and he has exquisite taste.

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‘England’s Dreaming’ by Jon Savage is pretty much definitive on UK punk and the era surrounding it.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, A history of a hip hop generation - Jeff Chang. It’s great, really comprehensive and very readable.

If you like King Creosote, Beta Band and the Fence Collective etc. then Vic Galloway’s “Songs in the Key of Fife” is a fantastic read. Even if you’re not that bothered about the acts covered, it’s still a fantastic read.

I’m a huge fan of that scene and I had no idea this book existed. Thanking YOU.

Happy to be of service! Vic Galloway’s show on Radio Scotland every Monday is excellent listening too. Available on iPlayer if you don’t live in Scotland.

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yeah retromania is really good, i dont read an awful lot coz ive got lazy with it but i loved that.