1. Peter Hook – Substance: Inside New Order
Peter Hook has written a no-holds-barred, comprehensive account of the band’s entire history, packed with outrageous anecdotes and including every set list and tour itinerary and interspersed with ‘geek facts’ of every piece of electronic equipment used to forge the sound that changed the direction of popular music.
2. Tim Lawrence – Life and Death On The New York Dancefloor 1980 – 1983
Interviewing DJs, party hosts, producers, musicians, artists, and dancers, Tim Lawrence illustrates how the relatively discreet post-disco, post-punk, and hip hop scenes became marked by their level of plurality, interaction, and convergence. Read more on Tim’s website here.
3. Matt Thorne – Prince
Matt Thorne’s Prince, through years of research and interviews with ex-Revolution members such as Wendy and Lisa, is an account of a pop maverick whose experiments with rock, funk, techno and jazz revolutionised pop. With reference to every song, released and unreleased, over 35 years of recording, Prince will stand for years to come as the go-to book on the Great Man.
4. Simon Reynolds – Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-First Century
Shock and Awe offers a fresh, in-depth look at the glam and glitter phenomenon, placing it the wider Seventies context of social upheaval and political disillusion. It explores how artists like Lou Reed, New York Dolls, and Queen broke with the hippie generation, celebrating illusion and artifice over truth and authenticity. A must for any music fan.
5. Stephen Witt – How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy
How Music Got Free is a riveting story of obsession, music, crime, and money, featuring visionaries and criminals, moguls and tech-savvy teenagers. It’s about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, a revolutionary invention and an illegal website four times the size of the iTunes Music Store.
6. Jon Savage – 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded
Jon Savage’s 1966 is a monument to the year that shaped the pop future of the balance of the century. Exploring canonical artists like The Beatles, The Byrds, Velvet Underground, The Who and The Kinks, 1966 also goes much deeper into the social and cultural heart of the decade through unique archival primary sources.
7. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.
8. Elvis Costello – Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink
This memoir, written with the same inimitable touch as his lyrics, and including dozens of images from his personal archive, offers his unique view of his unlikely and sometimes comical rise to international success, with diversions through the previously undocumented emotional foundations of some of his best known songs and the hits of tomorrow.
9. Johnny Marr – Set The Boy Free
From roaming the streets of Manchester to constantly pushing musical boundaries as the most loved guitarist Britain has ever produced, Johnny Marr’s memoir is the true history of music – told by one of its very own legends.
10. Brian Wilson – I Am Brian Wilson
I Am Brian Wilson reveals as never before the man who fought his way back to stability and creative relevance, who became a mesmerizing live artist, who forced himself to reckon with his own complex legacy and completedSmile, the legendary unfinished Beach Boys record that had become synonymous with both his genius and its destabilization. An amazing read.