World Book Day, established in 1995, honors scribes, illustrators, books and the fine art of reading. But any day can celebrate reading and the art of books, so whether you want to crack open a book on World Book Day, or pick up something to read any other day of the year, here are some music books we’re excited about.
Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements, the Last Rock ‘n’ Roll BandBy Bob Mehr
Memphis-based journalist Bob Mehr spent over a decade researching the sociology, history and every footprint The Replacements left behind to find out how this band of savants/misfits had it all, but let it all slip away in an orgy of incandescence and self-sabotage. Read a full review here.
The African Imagination in Music
By Kofi Agawu
Renowned music scholar Kofi Agawu explores the myriad repertories and traditions of Sub-Saharan African music. Examining in great detail the rhythms, melodies and harmonies that form everything from traditional to contemporary African music, Agawu’s in-depth analysis is paired with a companion website that includes samples of some of the music he dissects.
Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock
By Barney Hoskyns
An East Coast counterpart to his Hotel California, Barney Hoskyns’ book doesn’t focus on the infamous music festival, but rather on the oddball gang of characters that roamed Woodstock’s streets long before any amps were plugged in on the farm, which happens to be 60 miles from town. From Dylan’s self-imposed exile after his motorcycle accident to the larger-than-life Albert Grossman, Hoskyns’ interviews and personal experience as a Woodstock resident inform the book.
Slash: A History of the Legendary LA Punk Magazine: 1977-1980
By J.C. Gabel, Brian Roettinger, Kristine McKenna, John Doe
You may recall the label, Slash Records (home to X, L7, The Misfits and others), but maybe the legendary punk weekly mag that preceded — and inspired it — doesn’t ring a bell. Being that only 29 issues were printed, if you weren’t deeply connected to the scene or a denizen of the underbelly of L.A. at the time, it’s not surprising if the mag didn’t hit your radar. But now is your chance to catch up with Slash’s undeniable punk attitude, best encapsulated in the debut issue’s editorial which stated: “Enough is enough, partner! About time we squeezed the pus out and sent the filthy rich old farts of rock’n’roll to retirement homes in Florida where they belong.”
Ramones at 40
By Martin Popoff
If “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” is still in your heavy rotation, this coffee table book will serve as an apt reminder of why it’s so important to maintain a little punk ‘tude — at any age. Filled with photos, interviews and feature articles, the book follows the punk inventors from their early days at CBGB’s all the way to their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The Music Library: Revised and Expanded Edition
By Jonny Trunk, Damon Murray, Stephen Sorrell and Jerry Dammers
A follow-up to the first edition of 2005’s now out-of-print The Music Library, the 2016 edition unearths even more library music — music made specifically for advertisements, production houses, film, television or radio — and presents the eye candy retro artwork of the era that housed these hidden musical gems. A definite must-have for art loving music heads.
Motor City Underground: Leni Sinclair Photographs 1963-1973
Edited by Cary Loren, Lorraine Wild; interview by Kristine McKenna
If every picture tells a story, then Leni Sinclair’s photos documenting the diverse art, music and politics of Detroit in the late ‘60s will give you an accurate visual history of what it was like to catch a young MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges at the Grande Ballroom or rub shoulders with anti-war protestors and members of the Black Panthers.
Serious T’ings Gonna Happen: Three Decades of Jamaican Dance Hall Posters
By Maxine Walters, J.C. Gabel, Vivien Goldman
Jamaican film director and television producer Maxine Walters’ personal collection is what spearheads this project, which documents more than 200 posters and signs from the early ‘80s to the present day. The vivid, eye-popping colors and images chronicle reggae music’s evolution into Jamaican dance hall, and as a bonus the book also comes with a compilation of original dance hall tracks curated by Mikie Bennett and Rory of Stone Love.