From Vaughan to vinyl: New books about music

Check out this variety of newly catalogued books on popular music. They include Vinyl Freak, which offers a fascinating read about love for vinyl, and two intriguing books on the year of 1967; Detroit 67 and 1967: a complete rock music history of the summer of love.

Syndetics book coverVinyl freak : love letters to a dying medium / John Corbett.
“From scouring flea markets and eBay to maxing out their credit cards, record collectors will do just about anything to score a long-sought-after album. In Vinyl Freak , music writer, curator, and collector John Corbett burrows deep inside the record fiend’s mind, documenting and reflecting on his decades-long love affair with vinyl. Discussing more than 200 rare and out-of-print LPs, Vinyl Freak is composed in part of Corbett’s long-running DownBeat magazine column of the same name, which was devoted to records that had not appeared on CD.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe show that never ends : the rise and fall of prog rock / David Weigel.
The Show That Never Ends is the definitive story of the extraordinary rise and fall of progressive (“prog”) rock. Epitomized by such classic, chart-topping bands as Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and Emerson Lake & Palmer, along with such successors as Rush, Marillion, Asia, Styx, and Porcupine Tree, prog sold hundreds of millions of records. It brought into the mainstream concept albums, spaced-out cover art, crazy time signatures, multitrack recording, and stagecraft so bombastic it was spoofed in the classic movie This Is Spinal Tap.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBillie Holiday at Sugar Hill / Jerry Dantzic, Grayson Dantzic ; a reflection by Zadie Smith.
“In 1957, New York photojournalist Jerry Dantzic spent time with the iconic singer Billie Holiday during a week-long run of performances at the Newark, New Jersey, nightclub Sugar Hill. The resulting images offer a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of Billie with her family, friends, and her pet chihuahua, Pepe; playing with her godchild (son of her autobiography’s coauthor, William Dufty); washing dishes at the Duftys’ home; walking the streets of Newark; in her hotel room; waiting backstage or having a drink in front of the stage; and performing.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQueen of bebop : the musical lives of Sarah Vaughan / Elaine M. Hayes.
Queen of Bebop brilliantly chronicles the life of jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the twentieth century and a pioneer of women’s and civil rights. Equal parts biography, criticism, and good old-fashioned American success story, Queen of Bebop is the definitive biography of a hugely influential artist. This absorbing and sensitive treatment of a singular personality updates and corrects the historical record on Vaughan and elevates her status as a jazz great.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRoots, radicals and rockers : how skiffle changed the world / Billy Bragg.
“Against a backdrop of Cold War politics, rock and roll riots and a newly assertive working-class youth, Billy Bragg charts – for the first time in depth – the history, impact and legacy of Britain’s original pop movement. It’s a story of jazz pilgrims and blues blowers, Teddy Boys and beatnik girls, coffee-bar bohemians and refugees from the McCarthyite witch-hunts, who between them sparked a revolution that shaped pop culture as we have come to know it.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDetroit 67 : the year that changed soul / Stuart Cosgrove.
Detroit 67 is the story of Motor City in the year that changed everything. Twelve chapters take you on a turbulent year-long journey through the drama and chaos that ripped through the city in 1967 and tore it apart in personal, political and interracial disputes. It is the story of Motown, the break-up of The Supremes and the damaging disputes at the heart of the most successful African-American music label ever.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1967 : a complete rock music history of the summer of love / Harvey Kubernik.
“During late spring 1967, tens of thousands of young people began streaming into San Francisco, kicking off a counterculture revolution and cultural explosion that was the Summer of Love. Now, on the 50th anniversary of that revolutionary event, acclaimed journalist and pop culture historian Harvey Kubernik takes us on an insider’s look at the happenings in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and beyond–in the months leading up to, during, and after that seminal summer–through the lens of rock music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLiner notes : on parents & children, exes & excess, death & decay, & a few of my other favorite things / Loudon Wainwright III.
“Loudon Wainwright III, the son of esteemed Life magazine columnist Loudon Wainwright, Jr., is the patriarch of one of America’s great musical families. He is the former husband of Kate McGarrigle and Suzzy Roche, and father of Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche, and Lexie Kelly Wainwright. With a career spanning more than four decades, Wainwright has established himself as one of the most enduring singer-songwriters who emerged from the late 1960s. Wainwright writes poignantly about being a son–a status that dominates many of his songs–but also about being a parent, a brother, and a grandfather. A funny and insightful meditation on family, inspiration, and art, Liner Notes will thrill fans, readers, and anyone who appreciates the intersection of music and life.” (Syndetics summary)

Rock out with these new books about music!

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on popular music, including the long-awaited biographies of Roger Waters and Jimmy Webb. Also featured is The origins of cool in postwar America, a unique study of the history of ‘cool’, which provides a fascinating read.

Syndetics book coverThe decibel diaries : a journey through rock in 50 concerts / Carter Alan.
“Sometimes a rock concert is more than just an event. Every so often a band’s performance becomes a musical milestone, a cultural watershed, a political statement, and a personal apotheosis. On any given night a rock concert can tell the truth about who we are, where we are, and what’s going on in music and life right now. In The Decibel Diaries, Carter Alan, longtime DJ and music director at WZLX in Boston, chronicles a lifetime in rock with a tour through fifty concerts. Taken together, The Decibel Diaries is a visceral and visionary portrait of nearly fifty years of rock ‘n’ roll.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRoger Waters : the man behind The Wall / Dave Thompson.
Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall is the first full biography of the author of The Dark Side of the Moon , Wish You Were Here , and, of course, The Wall . It traces his life from war-torn suburbia to the multitude of wars he has fought since then with his bandmates, with his audience, and most of all with himself. Packed with insight and exclusive interviews with friends and associates, Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall dismantles the wall brick by brick, revealing the man who built it in all his glory.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe most beautiful : my life with Prince / Mayte Garcia.
“At the one-year anniversary of his death, legendary musician Prince’s first wife shares a uniquely intimate, candid, and revelatory look inside the personal and professional life of one of the world’s most beloved icons. No one else can tell this story or can provide a deeper, more nuanced portrait of Prince–both the famously private man and the pioneering, beloved artist–than Mayte, his partner during some of the most pivotal personal and professional years of his career. The Most Beautiful is a book that will be returned to for decades, as Prince’s music lives on with generations to come.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cake and the rain / Jimmy Webb.
“Jimmy Webb’s words have been sung to his music by a rich and deep roster of pop artists, including Glen Campbell, Art Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Donna Summer and Linda Ronstadt. He’s the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration, and his chart-topping career has, so far, lasted fifty years, most recently with a Kanye West rap hit and a new classical nocturne. Now, in his first memoir, Webb delivers a snapshot of his life from 1955 to 1970, from simple and sere Oklahoma to fast and fantastical Los Angeles, from the crucible of his family to the top of his longed-for profession.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOtis Redding : an unfinished life / Jonathan Gould.
“The long-awaited, definitive biography of The King of Soul, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Redding’s iconic performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. In Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life, Jonathan Gould finally does justice to Redding’s incomparable musical artistry, drawing on exhaustive research, the cooperation of the Redding family, and previously unavailable sources of information to present the first comprehensive portrait of the singer’s background, his upbringing, and his professional career.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTalking guitar : conversations with musicians who shaped twentieth-century American music / Jas Obrecht.
“In this lively collection of interviews, storied music writer Jas Obrecht presents a celebration of the world’s most popular instrument as seen through the words, lives, and artistry of some of its most beloved players. Readers will read–and hear–accounts of the first guitarists on record, pioneering bluesmen, gospel greats, jazz innovators, country pickers, rocking rebels, psychedelic shape-shifters, singer-songwriters, and other movers and shakers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGrown-up anger : the connected mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet massacre of 1913 / Daniel Wolff.
“A tour de force of storytelling years in the making: a dual biography of two of the greatest songwriters, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, that is also a murder mystery and a history of labor relations and socialism, big business and greed in twentieth-century America–woven together in one epic saga that holds meaning for all working Americans today. In this magnificent cultural study, Wolff braids three disparate strands–Calumet, Guthrie, and Dylan–together to create a devastating revisionist history of twentieth-century America.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe poetry of pop / Adam Bradley.
“Encompassing a century of recorded music, this pathbreaking book reveals the poetic artistry of popular songs. Pop songs are music first. They also comprise the most widely disseminated poetic expression of our time. Adam Bradley traces the song lyric across musical genres from early twentieth-century Delta blues to mid-century rock ‘n’ roll to today’s hits. Bradley shows that pop music is a poetry that must be heard more than read, uncovering the rhythms, rhymes, and metaphors expressed in the singing voice and this book illustrates how words and music come together to produce compelling poetry, often where we least expect it.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMeet me in the bathroom : rebirth and rock and roll in New York City, 2001-2011 / Lizzy Goodman.
Meet Me in the Bathroom charts the transformation of the New York music scene in the first decade of the 2000s, the bands behind it–including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend–and the cultural forces that shaped it, from the Internet to a booming real estate market that forced artists out of the Lower East Side to Williamsburg. Journalist Lizzy Goodman offers a fascinating portrait of a time and a place that gave birth to a new era in modern rock-and-roll.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe origins of cool in postwar America / Joel Dinerstein.
“Cool. It was a new word and a new way to be , and in a single generation, it became the supreme compliment of American culture. The Origins of Cool in Postwar America uncovers the hidden history of this concept and its new set of codes that came to define a global attitude and style. As Joel Dinerstein reveals in this dynamic book, cool began as a stylish defiance of racism, a challenge to suppressed sexuality, a philosophy of individual rebellion, and a youthful search for social change. Dinerstein reveals that they came together to create something completely new–and that something is cool .” (Syndetics summary)

10 new books on Popular Music

A wide range of books from the history of the iconic magazine Rolling Stone to the study of film music to the biography of Tony Bennett have been added to our catalogue. From Cradle to Stage highlights the mothers of rock stars and makes for an intriguing read. Check them out!

Syndetics book cover50 years of Rolling stone / introduction by Jann S. Wenner ; edited by Jodi Peckman and Joe Levy ; design director, Joseph Hutchinson.
“For the past fifty years, Rolling Stone has been a leading voice in journalism, cultural criticism, and–above all–music. This landmark book documents the magazine’s rise to prominence as the voice of rock and roll and a leading showcase for era-defining photography. From the 1960s to the present day, the book offers a decade-by-decade exploration of American music and history. This book is an irresistible and essential keepsake of the magazine that has defined American music for generations of readers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new analog : listening and reconnecting in a digital world / Damon Krukowski.
“Having made his name in the late 1980s as a founding member of the indie band Galaxie 500, Damon Krukowski has watched cultural life lurch from analog to digital. And as an artist who has weathered the transition, he has challenging, urgent questions for both creators and consumers about what we have thrown away in the shift to a digital society: Are our new streaming services undermining our ability to incubate new talent? Krukowski gives us a brilliant meditation and guide to keeping our heads amid the digital flux, and for plugging in without tuning out.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExperiencing film music : a listener’s companion / Kenneth LaFave.
“Of all the elements that combine to make movies, music sometimes seems the forgotten stepchild. Yet it is an integral part of the cinematic experience. Minimized as mere “background music,” film scores enrich visuals with emotional mood and intensity, underscoring directors’ intentions, enhancing audiences’ reactions, driving the narrative forward, and sometimes even subverting all three. In Experiencing Film Music: A Listener’s Companion, Kenneth LaFave guides the reader through the history, ideas, personalities, and visions that have shaped the music we hear on the big screen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrom cradle to stage : stories from the mothers who rocked and raised rock stars / Virginia Hanlon Grohl.
“While the Grohl family had always been musical, Virginia never expected her son to become a musician, let alone a rock star. But when she saw him perform in front of thousands of screaming fans for the first time, she knew that rock stardom was meant to be for her son. Virginia decided to seek out other rock star mothers to ask these questions, and so began a two-year odyssey in which she interviewed such women as Verna Griffin, Dr. Dre’s mother; Marianne Stipe, Michael Stipe of REM’s mother etc. With exclusive family photographs and a foreword by Dave Grohl, From Cradle to Stage will appeal to mothers and rock fans everywhere.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rise, the fall, and the rise / Brix Smith Start.
The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise is the extraordinary story, in her own words, of Brix Smith Start. Best known for her work in The Fall at the time when they were perhaps the most powerful and influential anti-authoritarian postpunk band in the world, Brix spent ten years in the band before a violent disintegration led to her exit and the end of her marriage with Mark E Smith. But Brix’s story is much more than rock ‘n’ roll highs and lows in one of the most radically dysfunctional bands around. Too bizarre, extreme and unlikely to exist in the pages of fiction, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise could only exist in the pages of a memoir.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJust getting started / Tony Bennett with Scott Simon.
“At ninety, musician and singer Tony Bennett is as vibrant and productive as ever. In addition to his prodigious musical output, including albums, concerts, and personal appearances, this beloved and enduring artist has written his next book. In 2012’s Life Is a Gift, Tony reflected on the lessons he has learned over the years. Now, in Just Getting Started, he pays homage to the remarkable people who inspired those lessons.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShirley Bassey : diamonds are forever : a celebration of my 50 years as her greatest fan / Mary Long.
“Dame Shirley Bassey has become one of the most prestigious singers of her time. Her work has inspired and influenced many, and will no doubt continue to do so for generations to come. Diamonds Are Forever is the fascinating story of Shirley Bassey told from the perspective of one her greatest fans. Mary Long first met Bassey in 1963 and since then has encountered her hundreds of times, thus developing a unique insight into the life of one of our most iconic singers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDon’t you leave me here : my life / Wilko Johnson.
They told me the cancer was incurable and terminal. I felt absolutely calm… I felt free. Free from the future and the past.
In 2013, Dr Feelgood founder, Blockheads member and musical legend Wilko Johnson was diagnosed with terminal cancer. With ten months to live, he decided to accept his imminent death and went on the road. His calm, philosophical response made him even more beloved and admired. And then the strangest thing happened: he didn’t die. Don’t You Leave Me Here is the story of his life in music, his life with cancer, and his life now – in the future he never thought he would see.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSubstance : inside New Order / Peter Hook.
“In this final installment of his internationally bestselling three-part memoir, British rocker Peter Hook focuses on the 1980s New Wave and Dance Punk scene and the rise of one of the most influential bands of the Second British Invasion: New Order. 1980. Resurrected from the ashes of Joy Division after the suicide of its lead singer, Ian Curtis, New Order would become one most critically acclaimed and important bands of the decade and beyond.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInfinite Tuesday : an autobiographical riff / Michael Nesmith.
“Michael Nesmith’s eclectic, electric life spans his star-making role on The Monkees, his invention of the music video, and his critical contributions to movies, comedy, and the world of virtual reality. Above all, his is a seeker’s story, a pilgrimage in search of a set of principles to live by. This funny, thoughtful, self-aware book is a window onto an unexpected life, inflected at every turn by the surprising candor and absurdist humor of an American original.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Popular Music

Some fascinating studies have been added to our book collection on popular music. They include You Say You Want a Revolution? which is an intriguing study about the counter-culture of late 60s, How to Make It in the New Music Business, and Bad Singer which deals with the science of tone deafness. Also, check out these popular biographies of Adele and Jimmy Page.

Syndetics book coverYou say you want a revolution? : records and rebels, 1966-1970 / edited by Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh.
“The late 1960s were a period of great turbulence and rapid social and political change. You Say You Want a Revolution? examines that moment when youth culture drove an optimistic idealism, motivating people to come together and question established power structures across every area of society. It shows how many of the issues that dominate contemporary discourse environmentalism, globalization, individualism or mass-communication – have roots that can be traced back to the 1960s. Half a century later, we can reassess the genesis of these movements and explore whether the revolutions they started can be considered complete, ongoing or interrupted.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe music of the future / Robert Barry.
The Music of the Future is not a book of predictions or speculations about how to save the music business or the bleeding edge of technologies. Rather, it is more like a history of failures, mapping 200 years of attempts by composers, performers and critics to imagine a future for music. Encompassing utopian dream cities, temporal dislocations and projects for the emancipation of all sounds, The Music of the Future is finally a sort of call to arms for everyone engaged in music: to fail again, fail better.” (Adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverA Grammy salute to music legends : all-star artists pay tribute to their musical heroes / edited by David Konjoyan ; foreword by Jimmy Jam.
“Each year, The Recording Academy (the organization behind the Grammy Awards) honors a handful of musical giants through its Special Merit Awards, and each year the music-making community are invited to write heartfelt tributes to the honorees. Sometimes the relationship is obvious (Quincy Jones honoring Michael Jackson), and sometimes the influence is more indirect (Queen’s Brian May paying tribute to Doris Day or Patti Smith writing on Jefferson Airplane). This captivating book gathers nearly 20 years worth of these sometimes touching, sometimes humorous, always inspiring essays.” (amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverAnatomy of a song : the oral history of 45 iconic hits that changed rock, R & B and pop / Marc Myers.
“Believing that every great song has a fascinating backstory, Myers brings to life five decades of music through oral histories of forty-five transformative songs woven from interviews with the artists who created them. From “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” by Lloyd Price to “Losing my religion” by R.E.M., leading artists reveal the emotions, inspirations, and techniques behind their influential works. The result is a love letter to the songs that have defined generations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to make it in the new music business : practical tips on building a loyal following and making a living as a musician / Ari Herstand.
“In the last decade, no industry has been through as much upheaval and turmoil as the music industry. It is a democratic, “DIY” business and any guide to success in these new waters must be told by someone who has survived them. Ari Herstand’s How to Make It in the New Music Business is not only a brilliantly compiled tutorial on how to accomplish specific tasks routing a tour, negotiating contracts, getting paid for streamed plays or licensing music but also a manifesto, encouraging musicians to pave their own path.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverBad singer : the surprising science of tone deafness and how we hear music / Tim Falconer.
“In the tradition of Daniel Levitin’s This Is Your Brain on Music and Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia, Bad Singer follows the delightful journey of Tim Falconer as he tries to overcome tone deafness–and along the way discovers what we’re really hearing when we listen to music. A work of scientific discovery, musicology, and personal odyssey, Bad Singer is a fascinating, insightful, and highly entertaining account from an award-winning journalist and author.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverJazz : a beginner’s guide / Stuart Nicholson.
Jazz: a beginner’s guide is a lively and highly accessible introduction to a global musical phenomenon. Award-winning music journalist and author Stuart Nicholson takes the reader on an entertaining journey from jazz’s early stirrings in America’s south through to the present day, when almost every country in the world has its own vibrant jazz scene. Along the way we meet a host of jazz heroes past and present, from Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Miles Davis, to Keith Jarrett and Kamasi Washington. Each chapter is accompanied by a playlist designed to provide a stimulating and enjoyable entry point to what has been described as the most exciting art form of all.” (Page 4 of cover)

Syndetics book coverAdele / Sean Smith.
“Adele touches the hearts of millions of people who love her for her music and share the real and honest emotion she brings to each and every song. In a cynical age, she is a phenomenon.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo quarter : the three lives of Jimmy Page / Martin Power.
“A genuine musical legend, Jimmy Page was the mastermind behind Led Zeppelin, among the most successful bands in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. As their leader, producer, principal songwriter and guitarist, Page not only shaped the sound of seventies hard rock but also created a musical and artistic legacy that stands him proudly to this day. Researched through numerous interviews with colleagues and friends from the sixties to the present day, No Quarter also casts light on one of rock’s most mysterious figures, delving into Jimmy’s interests in alternative religions and philosophies and his life after the Led Zeppelin bubble burst, and telling the full story of a man many believe to be “the greatest guitarist in the greatest rock band in history.” (Adapted from dust jacket)

Syndetics book coverAmy : a life through the lens / Darren and Elliott Bloom with Matt Trollope.
“Photographers Darren and Elliott Bloom had a remarkably close working relationship with Amy Winehouse. Their photos appeared in the recent acclaimed documentary Amy and now they have opened up their archive for this lavish photo book.” (Syndetics summary)

Aussie rock – New Books on Popular Music

New books on popular music feature some Aussie stuff; intriguing inside stories of Midnight Oil and The Go-Betweens, and Dig: Australian rock and pop music, 1960-85 would be the perfect accompaniment to them. As always, fantastic biographies, this time about legends such as Brian Wilson, Phil Collins and Johnny Marr, have been added. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverDig : Australian rock and pop music, 1960-85 / David Nichols ; foreword by Dave Graney.
“A comprehensive and highly readable history of the first quarter-century of Australian rock and pop music, Dig appeals to everyone with more than a passing interest in rock ‘n’ roll. Those whose knowledge of Australian rock and pop does not extend far beyond the Easybeats, AC/DC, Little River Band and Nick Cave can discover a wealth of music beyond those star names; while even those familiar with the work of the Missing Links, Pip Proud, Radio Birdman and the Moodists learn much about the scenes and connections that produced these bands and dozens of others.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMidnight Oil : the power and the passion / Michael Lawrence.
“Midnight Oil are one of the most ‘Australian’ rock bands this country has produced. Born from the Australian pub rock scene that gave us AC/DC, Cold Chisel and INXS, the Oils were able to break out of that scene without compromising themselves in any way. Indeed, their breakthrough overseas record was the most Australian album they made. But it wasn’t just the subject matter that made them fiercely Australian; it was their stubborn independence, and their refusal to play the rock’n’roll game and respect its rules and masters.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGrant & I : inside and outside the Go-Betweens / Robert Forster.
Grant & I is the story of the friendship and collaboration of Grant McLennan and Robert Forster, who gave Australia The Go-Betweens. At its heart is a privileged insight into a prolific artistic collaboration that lasted three decades, and an extraordinary friendship that rode out the band’s break-up to remain strong until Grant’s premature death in 2006. Unconventional in lineup and look, noted for near misses and near hits, always a beat to one side of the mainstream – the band’s unusual beginnings were followed by twists that often confounded its members as well as fans and record companies.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI am Brian Wilson : a memoir / Brian Wilson ; with Ben Greenman.
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 who finally completed Smile, the legendary unfinished Beach Boys record that had become synonymous with both his genius and its destabilization. Today Brian Wilson is older, calmer, and filled with perspective and forgiveness.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCured : the tale of two imaginary boys / Lol Tolhurst.
“A deeply rebellious, sensitive, tough, and often surprisingly “normal” young man, Robert Smith was from the start destined for stardom, a fearless non-conformist and provocateur who soon found his own musical language through which to express his considerable and unique talent. Intensely lyrical and evocative, gripping and unforgettable, Cured is the definitive story of a singular band whose legacy endures many decades hence, told from the point of view of a participant and eyewitness who was there when it happened-and even before it all began.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSet the boy free : the autobiography / Johnny Marr.
“An artist who helped define a period in popular culture, Johnny Marr tells his story in a memoir as vivid and arresting as his music. The Smiths, the band with the signature sound he cofounded, remains one of the most beloved bands ever, and have a profound influence on a number of acts that followed–from the Stone Roses, Suede, Blur, and Radiohead to Oasis, The Libertines, and Arctic Monkeys. Rising above and beyond the personal struggles and bitter feuds, Marr delivers the story of his music and his band, sharing the real insights of a man who has made music his life, and finally giving fans what they’ve truly been waiting for.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNot dead yet : the memoir / Phil Collins.
Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’s candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but has never lost his touch at crafting songs from the heart that touch listeners around the globe. This is Phil Collins as you’ve always known him, but also as you’ve never heard him before.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZayn.
“After five years of massive success with One Direction, ZAYN launched his career as a solo artist with Mind of Mine, becoming one of the most successful artists in the world. Never-before-released photos give readers insight to ZAYN, no-holds-barred. Gorgeously designed with hundreds of full-color photographs and Zayn’s notes, drawings, song lyrics, and personal stories, the book captures Zayn’s most private moments and his candid feelings on fame, success, music, and life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFortunate son : my life, my music / John Fogerty with Jimmy McDonough.
“Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of the most important and beloved bands in the history of rock, and John Fogerty wrote, sang, and produced their instantly recognizable classics: “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Born on the Bayou,” and more. Now he reveals how he brought CCR to number one in the world, eclipsing even the Beatles in 1969. By the next year, though, Creedence was falling apart; their amazing, enduring success exploded and faded in just a few short years. Fortunate Son takes readers from Fogerty’s Northern California roots, through Creedence’s success and the retreat from music and public life, to his hard-won revival as a solo artist who finally found love.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou’re making me hate you : a cantankerous look at the common misconception that humans have any common sense left / Corey Taylor.
“Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor’s third book is a searingly hilarious trawl through the endless backwaters of human stupidity. Funny, profane, blasphemous, and above all right on target, You’re Making Me Hate You is pure Corey Taylor unleashed, exposing the underbelly of human depravity in all its ragged glory.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLoose canon : the extraordinary songs of Clive James & Pete Atkin / Ian Shircore.
“For the last fifty years, Clive James has been writing remarkable songs – witty, moving, sometimes satirical, often thrillingly poetic – with his musical partner, Pete Atkin. They’ve written more than two hundred together, releasing the first album of their work in 1970 and the last in 2015. Stephen Fry is a huge fan, as his dazzling foreword to this book proves. And Clive himself believes these songs are the best things he’s ever done. Loose Canon explores the sparkling lyrics and brilliantly memorable tunes that have won Clive and Pete a fanatical cult following but still managed to remain the British music industry’s best kept secret.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAltamont : the Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the inside story of rock’s darkest day / Joel Selvin.
“Celebrated rock journalist Joel Selvin tells the definitive story of the Rolling Stones’ infamous Altamont concert in San Francisco, the disastrous historic event that marked the end of the idealistic 1960s. The product of twenty years of exhaustive research and dozens of interviews with many key players, including medical staff, Hells Angels members, the stage crew, and the musicians who were there, and featuring sixteen pages of color photos, Altamont is the ultimate account of the final event in rock’s formative and most turbulent decade.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove for sale : pop music in America / David Hajdu.
“In Love for Sale, David Hajdu–one of the most respected critics and music historians of our time–draws on a lifetime of listening, playing, and writing about music to show how pop has done much more than peddle fantasies of love and sex to teenagers. From vaudeville singer Eva Tanguay, the “I Don’t Care Girl” who upended Victorian conceptions of feminine propriety to become one of the biggest stars of her day to the scandal of Blondie playing disco at CBGB, Hajdu presents an incisive and idiosyncratic history of a form that has repeatedly upset social and cultural expectations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeatles gear : all the Fab Four’s instruments from stage to studio–the ultimate edition / Andy Babiuk.
“This ultimate guide to all the gear used by the Beatles details exactly which guitars, drums, amplifiers, and keyboards the Fab Four embraced throughout their brief but revolutionary career. John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s moves from cheap early instruments to the pick of 1960s technology are carefully and entertainingly documented in an easy-to-read narrative, fully illustrated with many previously unseen photographs, a cache of rare memorabilia, and a unique collection of specially photographed instruments used by the Beatles. This landmark book is perfect for the fan absorbed by music rather than hairstyles, and for any reader with an abiding interest in the 1960s.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Books on popular music

A lot of intriguing books on popular music have been added to our collection. They include Total Records, which is the wonderful art book about album covers, and Uproot : travels in twenty-first-century music and digital culture. Fantastic biographies about Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog give you a great summer reading selection. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverTotal records : photography and the art of the album cover / edited by Antoine de Beaupré, Serge Vincendet, Sam Stourdzé.
“The history of photography is teeming with portraits of musicians made iconic by their album covers: Thelonious Monk by W. Eugene Smith, Miles Davis by Irving Penn, Grace Jones by Jean-Paul Goude, Laurie Anderson by Robert Mapplethorpe. The history of album cover art also includes collaborations between prominent figures, such as Mick Rock and David Bowie, Annie Leibovitz and John Lennon, Lee Friedlander and John Coltrane, Nobuyoshi Araki and Bjork, Anton Corbijn and U2, and Robert Frank with the Rolling Stones–not to mention Francis Wolff’s legendary work with Blue Note, the record label he cofounded.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashion + music : fashion creatives shaping pop culture / Katie Baron.
“As twin agents of creative expression fashion and music have long shared a powerful mutual attraction: from the Sex Pistols to Madonna, Kylie Minogue to Lady Gaga, fashion has consistently amplified our understanding of the band (and in many cases the brand) – fuelling the fantasy, giving context to the sound and adding depth to artists’ wider agendas. From pop videos to editorial shoots, via the evolution of some of the industry’s most significant and era-defining pairings/collaborations this book will focus on the power of fashion as a make-or-break tool within the music industry’s creative process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of songwriting / Andrew West.
“How do you turn songwriting talent into a professional career? This essential guide tackles that question, alongside many others, taking songwriters through all the developmental phases and commercial experiences along the way in order to inspire and encourage the reader to find their own voice and write successfully within their chosen genre. Collating the best-available expertise with fresh ideas about the industry, Andrew West equips the reader with what every productive songwriter needs to know. Armed with this knowledge, the songwriter is able to engage creatively and financially to make the most of their potential.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI can sing, but where is my voice? : a modern singer’s guide / Ricci Carr.
“Wondering how you can get to sing that song you always wanted to without running out of breath, and sing it all in tune? Need to sing at your best friend’s wedding or maybe in a school production? Perhaps you want to sing with a band. Start a professional career or maybe you are a grandparent who just wants to know that every time you sing to your grandchildren you are singing those family songs in tune. With this book finally there is a guide for the student who wants to know how to sing well. This guide will help you to identify what it is you need to know and gives you the tools to apply the skills required. Advice that works given time and genuine input from you – the singer.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUproot : travels in twenty-first-century music and digital culture / Jace Clayton [aka DJ Rupture].
“In 2001 Jace Clayton was an unknown DJ who recorded a three-turntable, sixty-minute mix and put it online to share with friends. Within weeks, Gold Teeth Thief became an international calling card, whisking Clayton away to play a nightclub in Zagreb, a gallery in Osaka, a former brothel in Sao Paolo, and the American Museum of Natural History. Just as the music world made its fitful, uncertain transition from analog to digital, Clayton found himself on the front lines of creative upheavals of art production in the twenty-first century globalized world. Uproot is a guided tour of this newly-opened cultural space. With humor, insight, and expertise, Clayton offers an unparalleled understanding of music in the digital age.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorn to run / Bruce Springsteen.
“In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs. He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. 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.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrince : purple reign / Mick Wall.
“Prince was an icon. A man who defined an era of music and changed the shape of popular culture forever. There is no doubt that he was one of the most talented and influential artists of all time, and also one of the most mysterious. On April 21, 2016 the world lost its Prince. This book will open a door to Prince’s world like never before – from his traumatic childhood and demonic pursuit of music as a means of escape, to his rise to super stardom, professional rivalries and marriages shrouded in tragedy, internationally bestselling music writer Mick Wall explores the historical, cultural and personal backdrop that gave rise to an artist the likes of which the world has never seen – and never will again.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHero : David Bowie / Lesley-Ann Jones.
HERO: DAVID BOWIE is an intelligent exploration of the man behind the myths and the makeup told from the very beginning. Respected music journalist and biographer Lesley-Ann Jones knew David Jones from the days before fame, when he was a young musician starting out, frustrated by an industry that wouldn’t give him a break and determined to succeed. Here she traces the epic journey of the boy from Bromley born into a troubled background to his place as one of the greatest stars in rock history. Drawing on this new material and meticulous research, This is Bowie as you’ve never seen him before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA tribute to Keith Moon : (there is no substitute) / compiled by Ian Snowball & the estate of Keith Moon.
“With an introduction by Pete Townshend, There Is No Substitute is a tribute to The Whos late drummer Keith Moon, compiled by Ian Snowball with the authorisation the Keith Moon Estate and Keiths daughter Amanda de Wolf. The book includes a collection of seen and unseen photographs and contributions from friends and fans of Keith – a diverse cross section of drummers, musicians, fans, writers and people that knew him. The book concentrates on Keiths influence as a drummer and musician and the impact he has had on rocknroll, and all reflect the deep affection that his madcap genius inspired in everyone with whom he came into contact.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAgnetha Fältskog : the girl with the golden hair / Daniel Ward.
“Her iconic blonde looks, stunning voice and songs of loneliness and melancholy have endeared her to millions, yet Agnetha Fältskog remains an enigmatic and distant figure. From her success as a teenage singer and songwriter in Sweden in the late 1960’s to her years of global superstardom with pop giants ABBA and beyond, Agnetha has fascinated generations of fans. Agnetha Fältskog–The Girl With The Golden Hair is the first full-length biography dedicated to the life and career of the one of the most beloved and successful performers in music history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGood vibrations : my life as a Beach Boy / Mike Love with James S. Hirsch.
“As a founding member of The Beach Boys, Mike Love has spent an extraordinary fifty-five years, and counting, as the group’s lead singer and one of its principal lyricists. The Beach Boys, from their California roots to their international fame, are a unique American story — one of overnight success and age-defying longevity; of musical genius and reckless self-destruction; of spirituality, betrayal, and forgiveness — and Love is the only band member to be part of it each and every step. A husband, a father, and an avid environmentalist, Love has written a book that is as rich and layered as the Beach Boy harmonies themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlue Man world / creative director and head writer, Laura Camien ; editor, Becky Koh, Black Dog & Leventhal ; contributing writers, Chris Wink [and fifteen others].
“The first-ever Blue Man Group book, published on the occasion of their 25th anniversary. As entertaining and hilarious as the show itself, Blue Man World reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the Blue Men, but couldn’t get them to tell you. Blue Man Group is a global entertainment company best known for the award-winning Blue Man Group show. A dynamic combination of music, comedy, and technology, the show appeals to a broad ranges of age groups and cultural backgrounds. It is continually refreshed with new music, stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Popular Music

New books on popular music offer fascinating memoirs including Roger Shepherd, founder of Flying Nun records, and Sylvia Patterson, who has interviewed rock stars over the past three decades. Also check out the intriguing studies of jazz in 30-second Jazz.

Syndetics book coverIn love with these times : my life with Flying Nun Records / Roger Shepherd.
“A personal memoir by the founder of the Flying Nun record label based originally in Christchurch, describing the development of the label and the artists and bands associated with it.” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverPorcelain : a memoir / Moby.
“In 1989, while hoping to make it as a DJ in New York, Moby squatted in an abandoned factory in Connecticut. In 1991, he had a surprise hit record, Go, in the U.K. Moby lovingly recreates a dystopian Manhattan dominated by AIDS, drugs, and gang violence and vividly describes the rave scene with its glow sticks, Vicks VapoRub, and smiley faces, not to mention the Ecstasy, ketamine, and heroin. The nineties conclude with Moby, a bald, has-been musician, dating strippers, missing his mother’s funeral, and having sex on a dance floor surrounded by drag queens dressed as Stevie Nicks. This engrossing memoir is an often unflattering, self-loathing peek at the period before Moby’s breakthrough album, Play, launched him into superstardom.” (adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverI’m not with the band : a writer’s life lost in music / Sylvia Patterson.
“This is a three-decade survivor’s tale …a scenic search for elusive human happiness through music, magazines, silly jokes, stupid shoes, useless blokes, hopeless homes, booze, drugs, love, loss, A&E, death, disillusion and hope – while trying to make Prince laugh, startle Beyonce, cheer Eminem up, annoy Madonna, drink with Shaun Ryder and finish off Westlife forever (with varying degrees of success). From the 80s to the present day, I’m Not with the Band is a funny, barmy, utterly gripping chronicle of the last thirty years in music and beyond. It is also the story of one woman’s wayward search for love, peace and a wonderful life. And whether, or not, she found them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaul McCartney : the biography / Philip Norman.
“The first biography written with McCartney’s approval and with access to family members and friends closest to him. Covers Paul McCartney’s life from his boyhood and the death of his mother – the formation of the Beatles – the creative relationship between Paul and John Lennon resulting in so many of their hit songs – the Band’s success and the resulting fame – the breakup of the Beatles and it’s impact on Paul and his relationship with the other three Beatles – Linda and the formation of Wings – his life with Linda and his family – Linda’s death – through to his romance with Heather Mills and their well publicised divorce.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Cavern club : rise of the Beatles and Merseybeat / Spencer Leigh ; foreword by Paul McCartney.
“The Cavern saw the birth of the Beatles and Merseybeat, and more. Respected author, music journalist and Merseybeat historian Spencer Leigh tells the Cavern’s history by talking to the owners, hundreds of musicians who played at the club, the backroom staff and fans. Spenser paints a vivid picture of the Cavern from its days as a jazz club through the Beatles years to the present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYour favorite band is killing me : what pop music rivalries reveal about the meaning of life / Steven Hyden.
“For those who have argued late into the night with their friends about why one band is better than another, this title will grab them from the minute music critic Hyden starts with Oasis vs. Blur. He covers 19 rivalries going all the way back to the obvious Beatles/Rolling Stones, but the majority of the chapters examine bands that have been prominent during the past quarter century. The author uses the rivalries as a jumping-off point to talk about not only the musicians, but also the meaning of the conflicts, skillfully applying the arguments to a discussion of his own experience. This is a wide-ranging, hilarious, and smart look at both expected and surprising matches mixed with autobiography.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book cover30-second jazz : the 50 crucial concepts, styles and performers, each explained in half a minute / editor, Dave Gelly ; contibutors, Charles Alexander, Kevin LeGendre, Chirs Parker, Brian Priestly, Tony Russell ; illustrator, Steve Rawlings.
“Jazz can be difficult for the novice, but 30-Second Jazz proves the ideal companion for the newcomer to the subject, taking readers from the African-American roots of jazz all the way to today’s global mix of musicians and styles. Along the way, it looks at the shape, style and instruments of jazz, at key personalities and recordings in the jazz canon – and at what might be expected next from this most diverse and lively of musical forms.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to listen to jazz / Ted Gioia.
“Pianist, author (The History of Jazz; The Jazz Standards), music columnist (The Daily Beast), and educator (formerly music, Stanford Univ.) Gioia has written a concise guide to jazz appreciation. Unlike some books of this type, the focus of this work is on relatively easy-to-discern distinctions between the jazz styles and leading performers. The author provides minimal biographical information on the musicians, preferring to concentrate on the music than on the personal details of his subjects’ lives. The result is a fresh, clearly written, and infinitely usable book that should put the jazz novice on track.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverKill ’em and leave : searching for James Brown and the American soul / James McBride.
“McBride, mainly known for his bestselling 1995 memoir, The Color of Water, returns to nonfiction with an investigation into the life, times, and death of James Brown, the “hardest-working man in show business.” Though the soul singer’s musical legacy is ingrained in the collective American unconscious, many details about Brown’s personal life and the lives he touched along the way remain obscure. McBride reveals them while seeking to correct misconceptions perpetuated by the recent film Get On Up. The power of McBride’s subject matter shines through in this solid work of journalism.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverNever a dull moment : 1971, the year that rock exploded / David Hepworth.
“David Hepworth, an ardent music fan and well regarded critic, was twenty-one in ’71, the same age as many of the legendary artists who arrived on the scene. Taking us on a tour of the major moments, the events and songs of this remarkable year, he shows how musicians came together to form the perfect storm of rock and roll greatness, starting a musical era that would last longer than anyone predicted. Those who joined bands to escape things that lasted found themselves in a new age, its colossal start being part of the genre’s staying power.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGetcha rocks off : sex & excess, bust-ups & binges, life & death on the rock ‘n’ roll road / Mick Wall.
“Hanging out with rock stars, trying to steal their chicks, or throwing up over their guitars after launching into the hospitality a little too enthusiastically, Mick Wall spent much of the 1980s sprawled in limos and five-star hotels with the biggest rock bands in the world, including Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Motorhead and more. It is the kind of book you need to put on your leather jacket to read, open that bottle of Jack and reach for the Charlie. And let the good times roll …” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sun & the moon & the Rolling Stones / Rich Cohen.
“For Cohen, a cocreator of the HBO series Vinyl, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone, and author (Tough Jews; The Fish That Ate the Whale), the Rolling Stones have been a profound influence. The author worshipped the band in his youth, met and wrote about them as a journalist, and formed relationships with group members many fans would covet. Here Cohen interweaves his personal experiences with a history of the Stones. This group biography offers glimpses into the band’s development-playing in small blues clubs, breaking big in England and the rest of the world, etc.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverLife on tour with Bowie : a genius remembered / Sean Mayes.
“”When David sat down later, he tucked one leg up under him and I noticed that the sole of his shoe was as clean as the day he’d bought it. OK, maybe the shoes were new, but it struck me that he hardly ever sets foot in the street. It’s all hotel, limousines, sterilized airports – the life I was about to lead. I shivered, feeling poised at the top of a rollercoaster about to sweep across the world.” In 1978, Sean Mayes toured the world with David Bowie. Travelling first class and performing each night with one of the world’s greatest rock stars at the height of his fame was an amazing experience – fortunately, Sean had the foresight to document it. Here, for the first time in complete book form, Sean’s tour diary is presented.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe age of Bowie : how David Bowie made a world of difference / Paul Morley.
“Respected arts commentator and author Paul Morley, an artistic adviser to the curators of the highly successful retrospective exhibition ‘David Bowie is’ for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, constructs a definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, influenced others, invented the future, and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley captures the greatest moments from across Bowie’s life and career and offers a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy.” (adapted from dust jacket)

New Books on Popular Music

New books on popular music offer some fascinating studies, including Here She Comes Now (women in the pop music world), Every Song Ever (listening habits in the digital era) and Your Song Changed My Life (songs that have inspired listeners’ lives). The Eurovision Song Contest tells all about this phenomenal event and is fun to read.

Syndetics book coverHere she comes now : women in music who have changed our lives / edited by 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 novel Note to Self was described as ‘hilarious’ by Amanda Palmer – to explore incredible women in popular music. Often wryly amusing – even occasionally heart-rending – and covering artists from Dolly Parton and Nina Simone to Bjork, Taylor Swift and Riot Grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna, this is a feisty celebration of the transformative power of musicians who have truly rocked our world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEvery song ever : twenty ways to listen in an age of musical plenty / Ben Ratliff.
“What is listening in the digital era? Today, new technologies make it possible for us to roam instantly and experimentally across musical languages and generations, from Detroit techno to jam bands to baroque opera–or to drive deeper into the set of tastes that we already have. Either way, we can listen to nearly anything, at any time. In Every Song Ever, the veteran New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff reimagines the very idea of music appreciation for our times. It is a definitive field guide to our radically altered musical habitat.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe underground is massive : how electronic dance music conquered America / Michaelangelo Matos.
“Rooted in American techno/house and ’90s rave culture, electronic dance music has evolved into the biggest moneymaker on the concert circuit. The Underground Is Massive charts for the first time the birth and rise of this last great outlaw musical subculture. Full of unique insights, lively details, entertaining stories, dozens of photos, and unforgettable misfits and stars — from early break-in parties to Skrillex and Daft Punk — The Underground Is Massive captures this fascinating trend in American pop culture history, a grassroots movement that would help define the future of music and the modern tech world we live in.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEngland’s hidden reverse : a secret history of the esoteric underground : Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound / David Keenan.
“Based on several years’ worth of exclusive interviews and unprecedented access to all three bands’ personal archives, this is the first, definitive, biography of Coil, Current 93 and Nurse With Wound. Together, the bands represent the real English underground in all its sexual, cultural and artistic variety. A shadowy scene whose work accents peculiarities of Englishness through the links and affinities they’ve forged with earlier generations of outsiders. The three groups have maintained a symbiotic, yet uneasy relationship with the mainstream of pop culture.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1966 : the year the decade exploded / Jon Savage.
“The pop world accelerated and broke through the sound barrier in 1966. In America, in London, in Amsterdam, in Paris, revolutionary ideas slow-cooking since the late ’50s reached boiling point. A unique chemistry of ideas, substances, freedom of expression and dialogue across pop cultural continents created a landscape of immense and eventually shattering creativity. After 1966 nothing in the pop world would ever be the same. Jon Savage’s 1966 is a monument to the year that shaped the pop future of the balance of the century.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe secret life of the American musical : how Broadway shows are built / Jack Viertel.
“For almost thirty years, Jack Viertel has been a major figure in the Broadway theater world–he’s helped create shows like Hairspray, Angels in America, and Into the Woods; served as dramaturg of the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; and is currently senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters, which host such shows as The Book of Mormon and Jersey Boys. The book draws on a range of examples–from Carousel to Wicked , The Music Man to The Book of Mormon –and personal encounters to paint a picture of how Broadway musicals are made, from opening numbers to finales.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Eurovision Song Contest : the official celebration / John Kennedy O’Connor.
“A nostalgic and resplendent official celebration of the Eurovision Song Contest. The fun and the feuds, the high points, the dismal lows, the scandals, the most outrageous outfits, the innovators, and the copy cats, this glorious book captures the singular flavor of Eurovision, charting its journey from the first competition in 1956–just seven entrants, broadcast from a tiny venue in Switzerland with a studio audience of 200–to the international extravaganza watched by millions of viewers that it has become today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGoodnight and good riddance : how 35 years of John Peel helped to shape modern Britain / David Cavanagh.
“How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain is a social history, a diary of a nation’s changing culture — a man who can legitimately be called the most influential figure in post-war British popular music. Without the support of John Peel, it’s unlikely that innumerable artists — from David Bowie to Dizzee Rascal, Jethro Tull to Joy Division — would have received national radio exposure. But Peel’s influence goes much deeper than this. Just like a Peel show, Good Night and Good Riddance is warm, informative and insightful, and wears its enthusiasm proudly.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaybe I’m doing it wrong : the life & music of Randy Newman / David & Caroline Stafford.
“Rich with biographical notes and key background facts, Maybe I’m Doing It Wrong explores the more unlikely topics and characters to be found in Randall Stuart Newman’s inimitable songs. Though he once wrote catchy pop songs covered by Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones and Joe Cocker, it was his own albums that introduced the world to a haunting musical sensibility inclined to veer between irony and romanticism, self-deprecating humour and joyous celebration.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHamilton : the revolution : being the complete libretto of the Broadway musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the new America / by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.
“Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation. It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don’t throw away their shot.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYour song changed my life : from Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, thirty-five beloved artists on their journey and the music that inspired it / Bob Boilen.
“From the beloved host and creator of NPR’s All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts comes an essential oral history of modern music, told in the voices of iconic and up-and-coming musicians, including Dave Grohl, Jimmy Page, Michael Stipe, Carrie Brownstein, Smokey Robinson, and Jeff Tweedy, among others–published in association with NPR Music. Is there a unforgettable song that changed your life? NPR’s renowned music authority Bob Boilen posed this question to some of today’s best-loved musical legends and rising stars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComplicated game : inside the songs of XTC / Andy Partridge and Todd Bernhardt.
“Complicated Game offers unique insight into the work of XTC founder Andy Partridge, one of Britain’s most original and influential songwriters. It is also an unprecedentedly revealing and instructive guide to how songs and records are made. This fascinating book also includes pages from Partridge’s songwriting notebooks and reproductions of his original artwork designs; a guided tour of his hometown of Swindon; and a foreword by Steven Wilson, the guitarist, songwriter, and record producer best known as the founder and leader of Porcupine Tree.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDelta lady : a memoir / Rita Coolidge ; with Michael Walker.
“The two-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter bares her heart and soul in this intimate memoir, a story of music, stardom, love, family, heritage, and resilience. She inspired songs–Leon Russell wrote “A Song for You” and “Delta Lady” for her. She co-wrote songs–“Superstar” and the piano coda to “Layla,” uncredited. She sang backup for Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and Stills, before finding fame as a solo artist with such hits as “We’re All Alone”. Following her story from Lafayette, Tennessee to becoming one of the most sought after rock vocalists in LA in the 1970s, Delta Lady chronicles Rita Coolidge’s fascinating journey throughout the ’60s-’70s pop/rock universe.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLives of the poets (with guitars) : thirteen outsiders who changed modern music / Ray Robertson.
Lives of the Poets (with Guitars) picks up where Samuel Johnson left off nearly 250 years ago, collecting biographical and critical portraits of 13 of rock & roll, blues, folk, and alt-country’s most inimitable artists. These often irreverent essays offer a riotous, toe-tapping and original take on how each musician shaped their genre, while looking into their tumultuous lives.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Popular Music

Another exciting line-up for new books on popular music includes the fantastic biography of Nina Simone and The Faces. A Freewheelin’ Time tells intriguing backstory about the folk movement in the 60s and Woodstock which contains marvellous photographs by Baron Wolman is simply unmissable. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverWhat happened, Miss Simone? : a biography / Alan Light.
“Inspired by the Academy Award-nominated Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? , an intimate and vivid look at the legendary life of Nina Simone, the classically trained pianist who evolved into a chart-topping chanteuse and committed civil rights activist. From music journalist and former Spin and Vibe editor-in-chief Alan Light comes a biography of incandescent soul singer and Black Power icon Nina Simone, one of the most influential, provocative, and least understood artists of our time. Harnessing the singular voice of Miss Simone herself and incorporating candid reflections from those who knew her best, including her only daughter, Light brings us face to face with a legend, examining the very public persona and very private struggles of one of our greatest artists.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCobain on Cobain : interviews and encounters / edited by Nick Soulsby.
Cobain on Cobain places the reader at the key moments of Kurt Cobain’s roller-coaster career, telling the tale of Nirvana entirely through his words and those of his bandmates. Each interview is another knot in a thread running from just after the recording of their first album, Bleach, to the band’s collapse on the European tour of 1994 and Cobain’s subsequent suicide. Including many interviews that have never before seen print, Cobain on Cobain will long remain the definitive source for anyone searching for Kurt Cobain’s version of his own story.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHad me a real good time : Faces : before, during and after / Andy Neill.
“Forty years ago one of the world’s best-loved rock ‘n’ roll bands, The Faces, formed from the ashes of The Small Faces and the Jeff Beck Group, featuring a charismatic, raspy-voiced frontman in Rod Stewart alongside Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones. They offered a welcome antidote to the more serious excesses of the early seventies, being as devoted to the mayhem as they were to the music. This is their story…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEdith Piaf : find me a new way to die : the untold story / David Bret.
“Published to mark the centenary of Edith Piaf’s birth, this biography contains new and shocking revelations about Piaf, drawn from exclusive interviews with those who knew her best–friends, lovers, colleagues, and songwriters. This new book will mean a significant revision to the Piaf myth.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA freewheelin’ time : a memoir of Greenwich Village in the sixties / Suze Rotolo.
“Suze Rotolo reflects on her experiences in Greenwich Village during the 1960s, focusing on the growing popularity of folk music in the area and her relationship with Bob Dylan.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSoul serenade : rhythm, blues & coming of age through vinyl : a memoir / Rashod Ollison.
“A coming-of-age memoir about a young boy in rural Arkansas who searches for himself and his distant father through soul music. Growing up in rural Arkansas, young Rashod Ollison turned to music to make sense of his life. The dysfunction, sadness, and steely resilience of his family and neighbors was reflected in the R&B songs that played on 45s in smoky rooms. Steeped in the sounds, the smells, the salty language of rural Arkansas in the 1980s, Soul Serenade is an original and captivating coming-of-age story set to an original beat.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBritish black gospel : the foundations of this vibrant UK sound / Steve Alexander Smith ; foreward by Noel Robinson.
“From the roots and pioneers to today’s young talent, the story of a spiritual hunger expressed in fine music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEyes wide open : true tales of a Wishbone Ash warrior / Andy Powell with Colin Harper.
“In 1969, Andy Powell was one of four founding members of progressive rock pioneers Wishbone Ash. Forty-five years later, with no sabbaticals, he is still a member of Wishbone Ash. And he has seen a lot of interesting things along the way. Honest, unpretentious, and often wryly amusing, it draws on half a century of mingling with the great and the good–not to mention the occasional nutcase. It’s a book that will appeal strongly to fans of Wishbone Ash but also to anybody with even a passing interest in classic rock of the 70s and beyond.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCalvin Harris : the $100 million DJ : the unauthorised biography / Douglas Wight.
“He’s worth $100 million, is the richest DJ in the world and has worked with all of the top names in pop. But just who is Calvin Harris?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWoodstock / photographs by Baron Wolman ; with Michael Lang ; foreword by Carlos Santana ; edited by Dagon James.
“Baron Wolman’s evocative and stunning photographs of Woodstock are published here for the first time. Wolman captured the atmosphere of Woodstock like no other photographer. More interested in the crowd than the performers, his photographs are hugely evocative and offer an insight into this legendary event that is rarely seen. Wolman writes, ‘everything was totally different, the behaviour was new and unexpected.’ With interview with Woodstock creator, Michael Lang, and a foreword by musician Carlos Santana, this exceptional volume is not to be missed.” (Syndetics summary)

All About Superstars – New books on Popular Music

Our selection of new books on popular music is all about superstars. It includes Sir Paul McCartney, Tom Jones and the jazz legend Herbie Hancock, and gives you incredible insight into their musical achievements as well as their even more intriguing personal lives. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverConversations with McCartney / Paul du Noyer.
“In June 1989, Paul Du Noyer was contacted by Paul McCartney’s office in London and asked to interview the star as they had met once before and enjoyed a good rapport. In the years that followed, Paul Du Noyer continued to meet, interview and work for Paul McCartney on a regular basis, producing magazine articles, tour programmes, album liner notes, press materials and website editorial. It’s likely that Du Noyer has spent more hours in formal, recorded conversation with McCartney than any other writer. Conversations with McCartney is the culmination of Du Noyer’s long association with McCartney and his music. It draws from their interview sessions across 35 years, coupling McCartney’s own, candid thoughts with his observations and analysis.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKate : inside the rainbow / John Carder Bush.
Kate is a collection of beautiful images from throughout Kate Bush’s career. It includes outtakes from classic album shoots and never-before-seen photographs from The Dreaming and Hounds of Love sessions, and rare candid studio shots and behind-the-scenes stills from video sets. These stunning images will be accompanied by two new essays by John Carder Bush: “From Cathy to Kate”, describing in vibrant detail their shared childhood and the early, whirlwind days of Kate’s career, and “Chasing the Shot”, which vividly evokes John’s experience of photographing his sister. Each of these images forms part of a golden thread that shoots through the visual tapestry of Kate’s remarkable career.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJohnny Marr : the Smiths & the art of gun-slinging / Richard Carman.
“1) This is the world’s first and only biography of Johnny Marr. 2) This year sees the 20th anniversary of the seminal Smiths album, The Queen Is Dead, which will guarantee a high profile for all Smith-s related books and artists. 3) Similar books on Morrissey are proven strong sellers and The Smiths’ fanbase remains fanatical. 4) This title will also appeal to fans of the artists Marr has collaborated with as well as music fans in general.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverHerbie Hancock : possibilities / Herbie Hancock with Lisa Dickey.
“This brilliant memoir looks at musician and composer Hancock, whose life and career spans some seven decades. It reveals the method behind this remarkable jazz performer, from his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work with the Miles Davis Quintet and his later career forming his own band and providing music for films such as Harlem Nights and ‘Round Midnight. Hancock relates anecdotes about his musical influences, his happy marriage, and how Buddhism inspired his music. This book’s message is that people can turn any adversity or struggle into something of value.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverMarianne Faithfull : a life on record / editors, Marianne Faithfull & François Ravard ; introduction, Salman Rushdie ; essays, Will Self & Terry Southern ; creative direction, Marc Ascoli.
“A tribute to the life and work of one of the great musical icons of the twentieth century, reflected through the lenses of the world’s greatest photographers. Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the release in 1964 of her ground-breaking debut single As Tears Go By, this is the definitive book on Faithfull, one of the most beloved singers of the twentieth century.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverOver the top and back / Tom Jones.
“Jones tells of his life and his work as a singer and puts it all in the context of the importance of family. Sure, there are the name checks, including his encounters and relationships with Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Engelbert Humperdinck, Stevie Wonder, and Sting, to name a few, but this book is really all about Jones: what he experienced and felt on the way to superstardom in the 1960s, on through the subsequent waxing and waning of his popularity. The honesty and openness with which Jones shares his life and career make it a must-read.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe universal tone : bringing my story to light / Carlos Santana with Ashley Kahn and Hal Miller.
“An intimate account by the rock music artist traces his hardscrabble youth in Mexico and early days as a promising guitarist through his influential collaborations with fellow Latin stars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSam Phillips : the man who invented rock ‘n’ roll / Peter Guralnick.
“The author emphasizes Phillips’s contributions to rock and roll’s 1950s emergence in the racially charged South and his personal and professional relationships with not only the many famous singers and musicians who benefited commercially and artistically from his vision, encouragement, and technical skills but also the obscure rockabilly, blues, country, and pop artists who were given an opportunity to express themselves on vinyl. Drawing primarily from new interviews with Sun musicians, family members, and even a few former girlfriends, Guralnick presents a well-told, well-rounded biography of an innovative and influential pop culture pioneer with an unorthodox and oftentimes rocky personal life.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverLee Brilleaux : rock ‘n’ roll gentleman : the adventures of Dr Feelgood’s iconic frontman / Zoë Howe.
“Lee Brilleaux, the uniquely charismatic star of proto-punk R&B reprobates Dr Feelgood, was one of rock’n’roll’s greatest frontmen. But he was also one of its greatest gentlemen – a class act with heart, fire, wanderlust, and a wild streak. Exploding out of Canvey Island in the early 1970s – an age of glam rock, post-hippy folk and pop androgyny – the Feelgoods, with Lee Brilleaux and Wilko Johnson at the helm, charged into London, grabbed the pub rock scene by the throat and sparked a revolutionary new era, proving that you didn’t have to be middle class, wearing the ‘right clothes’ or living in the ‘right place’ to succeed.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSinatra : the chairman / James Kaplan.
“The great singer-actor contains multitudes in this vast, engrossing biography of Frank Sinatra’s mature years. Completing his bestselling Frank: The Voice, Kaplan follows the 17-year span from Sinatra’s Oscar-winning role in 1954’s From Here to Eternity to his (first) retirement in 1971, a period when he was a commanding Hollywood star. Kaplan delves with gusto into Sinatra’s seething contradictions: swagger and insecurity; sensitivity and callousness; deep loneliness amid a perpetual throng of cronies; an omnivorous sexual appetite that encompassed polar opposites Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow; lordly generosity combined with tyrannical control and a violent compulsion to push people around.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)