New Books on Popular Music

Learn about the lives and careers of Jack Grisham, Buddy Guy, Tupac Shakur, and more in the new music biographies this month. We also have new items on making it in the music business and the real life stories behind some famous songs.

Syndetics book coverThe boy in the song : the real stories behind 50 classic pop songs / Michael Heatley & Frank Hopkinson.
“The Boy in the Song is a follow up to 2010’s The Girl in the Song. It features the real-life stories that inspired some classic pop songs about the male of the species. While the first book was filled with songs about unrequited love, the follow-up is more varied, with songs written from a number of emotions. There are songs motivated by love and hate, there are tributes and there are biographical tales. Each song is featured on two, four or six pages with a small biography of the artist along with the story of how and why the song was written, and, most intriguingly, what happened after the song became a hit.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverHoller if you hear me : searching for Tupac Shakur / Michael Eric Dyson.
“Tupac Shakur enjoys a lively posthumous career that threatens to eclipse what he did before death, and it is only appropriate that so-called hip-hop intellectual Dyson should plumb the depths of Shakur’s cultural significance and how it relates to young blacks today. A hip-hop giant, actor, and poet, Shakur was as legitimate a spokesman for his people as any pop star ever is.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)

Syndetics book coverThe big gig : big-picture thinking for success / by Zoro ; with Amy Hammond Hagberg.
“The Big Gig is much more than just an intriguing and comprehensive insider’s guide to breaking into the music industry as an independent musician. Compelling and thought-provoking, it is an excellent resource for leadership training, networking techniques, and personal development. The Big Gig is the first book that describes the inner workings of the highly competitive music industry as seen through the eyes of a world-renowned and highly successful musician. The Big Gig provides a template for success by covering the vocational, personal, and spiritual aspects of a musician’s life.” – (adapted Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverAn American demon : a memoir / by Jack Grisham.An American Demon: A Memoir
“In this disturbingly profane yet strangely mesmerizing memoir, punk musician and political activist Grisham describes a troubled childhood and adolescence on the streets of Long Beach, California. Curiously, Grisham refers to himself as a demon, thereby intentionally distancing himself and perhaps readers, too, from the rest of humanity. Readers interested in punk music will be fascinated by Grisham’s tale, but be forewarned, it is not for the faint-hearted.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)

Syndetics book coverWho is that man? : in search of the real Bob Dylan / David Dalton.
“Dalton (Living with the Dead: Twenty Years on the Bus with Garcia and the Grateful Dead) is the latest in a series of eminent rock critics (Robert Shelton, Paul Williams, Clinton Heylin, Michael Gray, Greil Marcus, et al.) to take on the enigmatic Bob Dylan. Dalton’s book is a blend of biography and music appreciation. He deftly traces the familiar contours of Dylan’s career and his many shape-shifting personas. The liveliest portion of the book deals with the creative and audacious peak of Dylan’s career in the mid-1960s. Dalton’s insights will be of interest to both die-hard fans and anyone who wants a good introduction to Dylan’s life and art.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverA perfect haze : the illustrated history of the Monterey International Pop Festival / Harvey Kubernik and Kenneth Kubernik ; foreword by Lou Adler ; afterword by Michelle Phillips.
“The sights and sounds of one of the most famous music festivals in history come to life in this extraordinary compilation of photography, memorabilia, and firsthand accounts from the Summer of Love’s biggest event.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhen I left home : my story / Buddy Guy with David Ritz.
“On September 25, 1957, Buddy Guy climbed on a train in Hammond, La., with a few clothes in his suitcase, a reel-to-reel tape of a song he had cut, and his Les Paul Gibson guitar, and headed North. As mesmerizing a storyteller as a guitarist, Guy, writing with Ritz, regales readers with tales of growing up picking cotton in rural Alabama, of seeing his first guitar and standing transfixed in front of Lightning Slim for several hours just memorizing the movements of Slim’s hands, of his father’s friend buying his first guitar for him, and of his endless efforts to play the blues as he had heard and seen Slim and others play. Guy’s memoir is a joyous celebration of the blues, one of our greatest musical treasures.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

Syndetics book coverThe very best of Adele for ukulele / [edited by Adrian Hopkins].
“14 of Adele’s best known songs arranged for Ukulele drawn from both of her massively successful albums 19 and 21 . This exclusive songbook includes chord symbols ukulele chord boxes and complete lyrics for each song. Includes: Chasing Pavements * Crazy for You * He Won’t Go * Lovesong * Many Shades of Black * Rolling in the Deep * Set Fire to the Rain *Â Someone like You * and more.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverHeavy metal : from hard rock to extreme metal / [text by Kory Grow ; foreword by Slayer’s Kerry King].
“With its loud, aggressive rhythms; slashing guitar solos, and often-disturbing themes, metal is mesmerizing: it cuts to the bone and takes rock right to the edge. Heavy Metal takes readers on an in-depth musical journey through this testosterone-fueled style, including its origins, development, and subgenres, such as thrash, doom, death, and gothic metal. With exclusive pictures and commentary, it analyzes such groundbreaking bands as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer through their sounds, lyrics, themes, and trend-setting actions.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverWill Oldham on Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy / edited by Alan Licht.
“A collection of conversations between Licht and Will Oldham, aka musician Bonnie Prince Billy, about his 2 personas and his life in music and film. Presenting conversations with longtime friend and associate, the author probes his highly individualistic approach to music making and the music industry, one that cherishes notions of intimacy, community, mystery, and spontaneity.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy cross to bear / Gregg Allman with Alan Light.
“Back in 1971, the Allman Brothers Band lost Duane Allman-by any standards one of rock’s greatest guitarists-to a motorcycle accident, and a year to the day later, Berry Oakley, the band’s bassist, died the same way. In his memoir, the rambling and rambunctious Gregg Allman lays bare his soul, carrying us back to his childhood with his older brother, Duane, their days at military school, the first time he picked up a guitar and started making music, the first songs he wrote, his love for Duane, his voracious appetite for drugs and sex, and his countless sexual conquests, his broken relationships and his addictions, and his deep love for music.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)