Top 40 Music Books

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You often hear about "Top 40" music, but have you thought about "Top 40" music books? We asked some of our musicians and engineers to nominate their favorite books about music and musicians. Some titles are a bit eclectic, but here's the Top 40 List they came up with, in no particular order. They are designed to be downloaded and read instantly using any of the following devices:

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Why We Love Music - Dr John Powell

Why does music affect you so profoundly? It impacts the way you think, talk, feel, behave and even spend money. With his conversational style, humour, and endless knowledge, scientist and musician John Powell showcases fascinating studies - for ...

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Guitar Zero: The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age

On the eve of his fortieth birthday, a professor of no discernible musical talent learns to play the guitar and investigates how anyone of any age might master a new skill. Just about every human being knows how to listen ...

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Love Saves The Day: A History Of American Dance Music Culture - Tim Lawrence

Opening with David Mancuso's seminal "Love Saves the Day" Valentine's party, Tim Lawrence tells the definitive story of American dance music culture in the 1970s-from its subterranean roots in NoHo and Hell's Kitchen to its gaudy blossoming in mid ...

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Here She Comes Now – Women In Music Who Have Changed Our Lives - Jeff Gordinier and Marc Weingarten

Here She Comes Now brings together some of America's best music writers - such as Susan Choi, recipient of the inaugural PEN / W.G. Sebald award, Daniel Walters, whose credits include the screenplay for Heathers, and Alina Simon, whose no ...

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Really The Blues - Mezz Mezzrow

Mezz Mezzrow was a white Jewish boy who learnt how to play saxophone while he was in reformatory school. He was one of the first white musicians to dedicate himself to jazz (as a saxophonist, a manager for Louis Armstrong, owning his own record label ...

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Chronicles Volume 1 - Bob Dylan

Winner of the NOBEL PRIZE in Literature 2016. This is the first spellbinding volume of the three-volume memoir of one of the greatest musical legends of all time. In CHRONICLES Volume I, Bob Dylan takes us back to the early 1 ...

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Country: Living Legends & Dying Metaphors in America’s Biggest Music - Nick Tosches

Celebrating the dark origins of our most American music, Country reveals a wild shadowland of history that encompasses blackface minstrels and yodeling cowboys; honky-tonk hell and rockabilly heaven; medieval myth and musical miscegenatio ...

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Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King – Lloyd Bradley

The first major account of the history of reggae, black music journalist Lloyd Bradley describes its origins and development in Jamaica, from ska to rock-steady to dub and then to reggae itself, a local music which conquered the world. There are ...

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I’ll Never Write My Memoirs – Grace Jones

Born in 1948 into a family of ministers in Kingston, Jamaica, the statuesque and strikingly beautiful Grace Jones lived with her family in Syracuse, NY, before launching a career as a model in New York City. Gaining fame as the cover girl for such ...

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Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980 -1983 – Tim Lawrence

As the 1970s gave way to the 80s, New York's party scene entered a ferociously inventive period characterized by its creativity, intensity, and hybridity. Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor chronicles this tumultuous time, chartin ...

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But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz – Geoff Dyer

Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonius Monk creating his own private language on the piano. In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skilfully ...

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Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom - Nik Cohn

Nik Cohn began to write this book in the late 1960s with a simple purpose: to catch the feel, the pulse of Rock. Nobody had written a serious book on the subject before, and there were no reference books or research to refer to. The result is an ...

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The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics - Alan Aldridge

The Beatles: Illustrated Lyrics is the only major collection of illustrated The Beatles lyrics available. Originally published in 1969, this book has become a symbol of an era, a must-have for Beatles fans and a brilliant tribute to the band that ...

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Riders on the Storm - John Densmore

"This book is the real story."-Robby Krieger"[John] Densmore's is the first Doors biography that feels like it was written for the right reasons, and it is easily the most informed account of the Doors' brief but ...

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Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen

THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER. 'Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I've tried to do this.' -Bruce Springsteen, from ...

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Life - Keith Richards

Once-in-a-generation memoir of a rock legend - the No. 1 SUNDAY TIMES bestseller. With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics and the songs that roused the world, and over four decades he lived the original rock and roll ...

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All You Need to Know About the Music Business - Donald Passman

All You Need To Know About The Music Business - The new edition of 'the industry bible' (Los Angeles Times) by Donald S. Passman. No one understands the music business and the changes it has undergone in recent year ...

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Nico, Songs They Never Play On The Radio - James Webb Young

The story of Nico, former model, film actress, singer with the Velvet Underground and darling of Andy Warhol's factory.;In 1982 Nico was living in Manchester, alone and interested only in feeding her heroin habit. Local promoter Dr Demetrius saw a ...

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The Fallen: Life In and Out of Britain's Most Insane Group - Dave Simpson

Ever been thrown off the bus in the middle of a Swedish forest or asked to play at one of the UK's biggest music festivals with musicians you've just met who are covered in blood? If so you've probably been in The Fall. Dave Simpson made it his ...

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Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop - Bob Stanley

Modern pop began in 1952 when the first British chart was published and the first 7" singles were released. It ended (perhaps) in 1995 when Robson and Jerome reached the top of the charts with the first number one not to be available on vinyl ...

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Blues Legacies And Black Feminism: Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey, Bessie Smith And Billie Holiday - Angela Y. Davis

From one of this country's most important intellectuals comes a brilliant analysis of the blues tradition that examines the careers of three crucial black women blues singers through a feminist lens. Angela Davis provides the historical, social, a ...

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England's Dreaming - Jon Savage

Jon Savage's Ralph Gleason Award-winning England's Dreaming is the ultimate book on punk, its progenitors, the Sex Pistols, and their time: the late 1970s. Full of anedcote, insight, and exclusive interviews, it tells the sensational ...

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Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From The American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 - Michael Azerrad

This is the never-before-told story of the musical revolution that happened right under the nose of the Reagan Eighties-when a small but sprawling network of bands, labels, fanzines, radio stations, and other subversives reenergized American rock ...

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The KLF: Chaos, Magic And The Band Who Burned A Million Pounds - John Higgs

By far the best book this year, brilliant, discursive and wise' BEN GOLDACRE. The strange tale of the death, life and legacy of the hugely successful band. They were the bestselling singles band in the world. They had awards, credibility, commercial ...

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As Serious As Your Life: Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution, 1957-1977 - Val Wilmer

In this classic account of the new black music of the 1960s and 70s, celebrated photographer and jazz historian Val Wilmer tells the story of how a generation of revolutionary musicians established black music as the true vanguard of American cult ...

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The Saga Of Hawkwind - Carol Clerk

Hawkwind emerged in 1969 from Ladbroke Grove, the heartland of London's counterculture, to become a 'people's band' supported by bikers and hippies alike as they staged free gigs, benefits and protests and welcomed the involvement of any number of ...

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The Importance Of Music To Girls - Lavinia Greenlaw

The Importance of Music to Girls tells the story of the adventures that music leads us into - getting drunk, falling in love, cutting our hair, wanting to change the world - as well as the darker side of the adolescent years: loneliness, ...

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Meet Me In The Bathroom: Rebirth And Rock And Roll In New York City 2001-2011 - Lizzy Goodman

A SUNDAY TIMES, ROUGH TRADE, MOJO AND UNCUT BOOK OF THE YEARNew York, 2001. 9/11 plunges the US into a state of war and political volatility-and heralds the rebirth of the city's rock ...

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Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History Of The Hip Hop Generation - Jeff Chang

Hip-hop is now a global multi-billion pound industry. It has spawned superstars all across the world. There have been tie-in clothing lines, TV stations, film companies, cosmetics lines. It even has its own sports, its own art style, its own dialect ...

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I'm Not With The Band: A Writer's Life Lost In Music - Sylvia Patterson

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD 2016'Celebratory and elegiac' Guardian'A roller-coaster memoir' Sunday Times'Funny, anecdote-packed, ...

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Rip It Up And Start Again: The Story Of Postpunk 1978-84 - Simon Reynolds

A fantastic tribute to an amazingly creative musical period. An instant pop classic, worthy of a place on your shelves beside the handful of music books that really matter.' John McTernan, Scotland on SundayPunk revitalized ...

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Sounds Like London: 100 Years Of Black British music In The Capital - Lloyd Bradley

For as long as people have been migrating to London, so has their music. An essential link to home, music also has the power to shape communities in surprising ways. Black music has been part of London's landscape since the First World War, ...

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Hear Me Talkin'; To Ya: The Story Of Jazz By The Men Who Made It - ed. Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." - Charlie Parker"What is jazz? The rhythm - the feeling." - Coleman Hawkins"The best sound ...

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Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History Of Grunge - Mark Yarm

Grunge, also known as the 'Seattle sound', is the sludgy fusion of punk rock and heavy metal that emerged from the Pacific Northwest in the early part of the 1980s. But it was the unexpected, seemingly overnight success of Nirvana's single 'Smells ...

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Future Days: Krautrock And The Building Of Modern Germany - David Stubbs

West Germany following the Second World War was a country in shock: estranged from its recent history, and adrift from the rest of Europe. But this disorientating landscape proved fertile ground for a generation of musicians who, from the 1960s on ...

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Black Music - Amiri Baraka (as LeRoi Jones)

Jones has learned-and this has been very rare in jazz criticism-to write about music as an artist."-Nat Hentoff ksBlack Music is a book about the brilliant young jazz musicians of the early 1960s: John Coltrane, Theloni ...

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Perfecting Sound Forever: The Story Of Recorded Music - Greg Milner

From our CD collections to iPods bursting with MP3s to the hallowed vinyl of DJs, recordings are the most common way we experience music. Perfecting Sound Forever tells the story of recorded music, introducing us to the innovators, musicians and ...

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A History of Heavy Metal - Andrew O'Neill

'Absolutely hilarious' - Neil Gaiman 'One of the funniest musical commentators that you will ever read. loud and thoroughly engrossing' - Alan Moore 'A man on a righteous mission to persuade people to "lay down your souls to the gods ...

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Gender, Metal and the Media: Women Fans and the Gendered Experience of Music - Rosemary Lucy Hill

This book is a timely examination of the tension between being a rock music fan and being a woman. From the media representation of women rock fans as groupies to the widely held belief that hard rock and metal is masculine music, being a music ...

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Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music - Robert Walser

Dismissed by critics and academics, condemned by parents and politicians, and fervently embraced by legions of fans, heavy metal music continues to attract and embody cultural conflicts that are central to society. In Running with the Devil, Robert ...

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