Best music-related books

Jorge Adorno/Reuters

“I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution,’’ Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum For those who came of age during the glory days of the music video era - from the early ’80s to the early ’90s - this oral history, woven together by music journalists Marks and Tannenbaum, evokes nostalgia and illuminates some interesting behind the scenes action at the then-burgeoning music network.

“Aerosmith: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Boston Bad Boys,’’ Richard Bienstock Four hundred photos, concert posters, ticket stubs, and backstage passes tell the wild story of the beloved Boston rockers in living color, from the 1970s to the present. Pictured: Steven Tyler.

“It’s So Easy: and Other Lies,’’ Duff McKagan Most rock star bios are tedious laundry lists of half-remembered drug-booze-and-sex-fueled vignettes. Guns N’ Roses bassist McKagan offers a few of those and some insider info on Axl and the boys, but he also takes a more thoughtful route in detailing his life and his work toward sobriety.


“No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage’s 4’33,’’ Kyle Gann A smart and pellucid introduction, not only to a single avant-garde masterwork but to Cage’s broader creative world.

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“You Only Rock Once: My Life in Music,’’ Jerry Blavat From teenage dancer on “American Bandstand’’ to influential Philadelphia DJ, nightclub owner - and friend to Sammy Davis and Frank Sinatra - and pioneer of the “oldies’’ format, Blavat (known as “The Geator With the Heater; the Boss with the hot sauce’’) offers a look at the early rock scene and his part in it.

“The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ’n’ Roll,’’ Preston Lauterbach Nominally, music journalist Lauterbach tells the tale of the spider-web of joints across the nation that served as sometimes grueling education for many black artists before and during the rock era. But ultimately this is a cultural history that explores music, race, and more in a narrative that is smart, touching, and funny.

“The Natural Mystics: Marley, Tosh, and Wailer,’’ Colin Grant Chronicling their formative years in Kingston through their rise to global fame as the Wailers, Grant looks at the entwined stories of three of Jamaica’s musical pioneers: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer.

“See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody,’’ Bob Mould Part memoir, party elegy for his old destructive ways of living, Mould’s book looks at his journey from his rural upbringing to cult fame leading the band Hüsker Dü and beyond. Along the way, he addresses, with startling honesty, his struggle with addiction and learning to embrace his sexuality.


“Four Strong Winds,’’ John Einarson Ian & Sylvia, one of the great duos that emerged at the dawn of the folk movement in the late 1950s, finally get their due. Working with personal anecdotes from Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson, Einarson traces their early years in Toronto’s coffeehouses to the disintegration of their union, both on and off stage.

“The Greatest Music Stories Never Told,’’ Rick Beyer Dipping into jazz, rock, classical, folk, and hip-hop, this compact book brims with fascinating stories about music and pop culture, from the invention of the theremin to the origins of karaoke.