New books on popular music!

Memory Songs book cover

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on popular music. They include the unique studies of 60s music (You know what you could be : tuning into the 1960s) and the 90s (Memory songs : a personal journey into the music that shaped the 90s), as well as the two insightful books about Peter Gabriel.

Syndetics book coverYou know what you could be : tuning into the 1960s / Mike Heron & Andrew Greig.
“This singular book offers two harmonising memoirs of music making in the 1960s. Mike Heron for the first time writes vividly of his formative years in dour, Presbyterian Edinburgh. Armed with a love of Buddy Holly, Fats Domino and Hungarian folk music, he plays in school cloakrooms, graduates to rock, discovers the joy of a folk audience, starts writing songs, wishes he was a Beatnik all while training as a reluctant accountant. These entwined stories will delight anyone who has loved the Incredible String Band; and their differing portraits of that hopeful, erratic and stubborn stumble towards the life that is ours will strike a chord with everyone.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemory songs : a personal journey into the music that shaped the ’90s / James Cook.
“This is the story of a music-obsessed boy’s journey from his bedroom in Hitchin to the heart of nineties London just as Britpop is about to explode. More than a memoir, Memory Songs stands as a testament to music’s power over the imagination, the way it punctuates our past and shapes our future. Woven through with meditations on the artists who defined the UK’s last legendary scene, it delivers a passionate analysis of the music that shaped a crucial moment in British cultural history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA spy in the house of loud : New York songs and stories / Chris Stamey.
A Spy in the House of Loud vividly captures the energy that drove the music scene as arena rock gave way to punk and other new streams of electric music. Stamey tells engrossing backstories about creating in the recording studio, describing both the inspiration and the harmonic decisions behind many of his compositions, as well as providing insights into other people’s music and the process of songwriting. Photos, mixer-channel and track assignment notes, and other inside-the-studio materials illustrate the stories.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover3 kings : Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay Z, and hip-hop’s multibillion-dollar rise / Zack O’Malley Greenburg.
“Tracing the careers of hip-hop’s three most dynamic stars, this deeply reported history brilliantly examines the entrepreneurial genius of the first musician tycoons: Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z. These men are the modern embodiment of the American Dream, but their stories as great thinkers and entrepreneurs have yet to be told in full. Based on a decade of reporting, and interviews with more than 100 sources, 3 Kings tells the fascinating story of the rise and rise of the three most influential musicians in America.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHip hop raised me / by DJ Semtex ; foreword, Chuck D.
Hip Hop Raised Me is the definitive volume on the essence, experience, and energy that is hip hop, and its massive and enduring impact over the last forty years. It’s packed with contact sheets, outtakes, and glory shots of artists, collectives, and fans from iconic photographers including Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant, Eddie Otchere, Normski, Janette Beckman, Chi Modu, Nabil Elderkin, and Mark Humphrey, as well as photographs of hip-hop ephemera and vinyl courtesy of specialist collectors.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll gates open : the story of Can / Rob Young & Irmin Schmidt.
All Gates Open presents the definitive story of arguably the most influential and revered avant-garde band of the late twentieth century: CAN. It consists of two books.In Book One, Rob Young gives us the full biography of a band that emerged at the vanguard of what would come to be called the Krautrock scene in late sixties Cologne. Book Two, Can Kiosk, has been assembled by Irmin Schmidt, founding member and guiding spirit of the band, as a ‘collage – a technique long associated with CAN’s approach to recording. CAN were unique, and their legacy is articulated in two books in this volume with the depth, rigour, originality, and intensity associated with the band itself. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSiren song : my life in music / Seymour Stein with Gareth Murphy.
“Seymour Stein is America’s greatest record man. Not only has he signed and nurtured more important artists than anyone alive, over sixty years in the game, but he’s still the hippest label head, travelling the globe in search of the next big thing. Since the late fifties, Stein’s been wherever it’s happening: Billboard, Tin Pan Alley, The British Invasion, CBGB, Studio 54, Danceteria, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the CD crash. Along that winding path, Stein discovered and broke out a skyline full of stars: Madonna, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Madonna, The Smiths, The Cure, Ice-T, Lou Reed, Seal, and many others. Seymour Stein is a legend. Sung from the heart, Siren Song will etch his story in stone.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWithout frontiers : the life and music of Peter Gabriel / Daryl Easlea.
“Peter Gabriel rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis. After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career. The book details his time as lead singer of Genesis from its inception until he went out on his own in 1975 as a singer-songwriter, soundtrack composer, and innovator in music videos and digital music recording and distribution. It examines how he became well known as an anti-Apartheid activist for his efforts to bring different styles of international music to the attention of the West by establishing the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPeter Gabriel : global citizen / Paul Hegarty.
Peter Gabriel offers nuanced and trenchant insight into this enigmatic, questing musician and his works, into an artist whose constant traveling–through identities, influences, and media–defines him as one of modern culture’s truly global citizens. At the heart of Paul Hegarty’s analysis is the idea of locatedness: what it means to be in a specific place at a given time, and to reflect on that time and the changes which inevitably occur.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThis thing called life : Prince, race, sex, religion, and music / Joseph Vogel.
“What were Prince’s politics? What did he believe about God? And did he really forsake the subject- sex- that once made him the most subversive superstar of the Reagan era? In this illuminating, thematic biography, Joseph Vogel explores the issues that made PRince one of the late 20th century’s most unique, controversial, and fascinating artists.” (book jacket)

Classic and contemporary: New books on Popular Music

Paul Simon book cover

A variety of fascinating titles have been added to our collection of books on popular music. They include Twilight of the gods: a journey to the end of classic rock which is one of Newsweek’s 50 Best Books of 2018 (so far) and the finally available Paul Simon’s biography. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverTwilight of the gods : a journey to the end of classic rock / Steven Hyden.
“Since the late 1960s, a legendary cadre of artists–including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Black Sabbath, and the Who–has revolutionized popular culture and the sounds of our lives. In this mix of personal memoir, criticism, and journalism, Hyden stands witness as classic rock reaches the precipice. Traveling to the eclectic places where geriatric rockers are still making music, he talks to the artists and fans who have aged with them, explores the ways that classic rock has changed the culture, investigates the rise and fall of classic rock radio, and turns to live bootlegs, tell-all rock biographies, and even the liner notes of rock’s greatest masterpieces to tell the story of what this music meant, and how it will be remembered, for fans like himself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaul Simon : the life / Robert Hilburn.
“A publishing event from music legend Paul Simon: an intimate, candid, and definitive biography written with Simon’s full participation–but without his editorial control–by acclaimed biographer and music writer Robert Hilburn. For more than fifty years, Paul Simon has spoken to us in songs about alienation, doubt, resilience, and empathy in ways that have established him as one of the most beloved artists in American pop music history. But Simon is a deeply private person who has resisted speaking to us outside of his music. Finally, Simon has opened up–for more than one hundred hours of interviews–to Hilburn and the result is a landmark book that will take its place as the defining biography of one of America’s greatest artists.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDylan on Dylan : interviews and encounters / edited by Jeff Burger.
“In a 1969 conversation with Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, Bob Dylan proclaimed, “I don’t give interviews.” But in truth, he has spoken at length with print publications large and small and with broadcast media around the world, given numerous press conferences, and even answered listeners’ questions on call-in radio shows. Dylan can be as evasive and abstruse as he is witty; he can also be cranky and sarcastic. But in the right moments, he offers candid, revealing commentary about his groundbreaking music and creative process. These engrossing provide glimpses into the mind of one of the most important performers and songwriters of the last hundred years.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGudinski : the godfather of Australian rock ‘n’ roll / Stuart Coupe.
“Often referred to as ‘the father of the Australian music industry’, he has nurtured the careers of many artists – Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, Skyhooks, Split Enz, Yothu Yindi, to name just a few. A self-made multi-millionaire, Gudinski is the Australian equivalent of Richard Branson or David Geffen, but who is this tough, inspired, flamboyant and impassioned businessman who has shaped Australian popular culture? Where did he come from, and how has he stayed relevant for so long in an industry notorious for its fickleness? Rock journalist Stuart Coupe delves into Gudinski’s life to find the answers – and in doing so gives us a backstage pass to forty years of Australian rock.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInner City Pressure: The Story Of Grime [hardback]
“The definitive history of the most innovative, thrilling and controversial music of the 21st Century – grime. As Britain celebrates the new millennium, something fluorescent and futuristic is stirring in the crumbling council estates of inner city London. Making beats on stolen software, spitting lyrics on tower block rooftops and beaming out signals from pirate radio aerials, a group of teenagers raised on UK garage, American hip-hop and Jamaican reggae stumble upon a dazzling new genre. Here, for the first time, is the full story of grime.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemphis rent party : the blues, rock & soul in music’s hometown / Robert Gordon.
“The fabled city of Memphis has been essential to American music–home of the blues, the birthplace of rock and roll, a soul music capital. We know the greatest hits, but celebrated author Robert Gordon takes us to the people and places history has yet to record. A Memphis native, he whiles away time in a crumbling duplex with blues legend Furry Lewis, stays up late with barrelhouse piano player Mose Vinson, and sips homemade whiskey at Junior Kimbrough’s churning house parties. A passionate listener, he hears modern times deep in the grooves of old records by Lead Belly and Robert Johnson.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhil Gernhard : record man / Bill DeYoung.
“In 1960, ‘Stay’ reached number one on the charts. The song was impossible to get out of your head: Stay–aaah–just a little bit longer. The innocuously catchy R&B song was produced by Phil Gernhard for South Carolina doo-wop group Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. At just 19 years old and with no formal training, Gernhard was a go-getting, red-headed kid eager to break into the music business. ‘Stay’ was just the beginning of a career that would span nearly fifty years’ worth of chart-topping songs. Phil Gernhard, Record Man is the story of a self-made music mogul who dropped out of law school to open a tiny office and studio in Florida and went on to produce hits that would rock the airwaves and resonate throughout the country.” (Syndetics summary)

Yacht and roll: New books on Popular Music

The Yacht Rock Book

Check out some of these newly catalogued books on popular music including David Bowie Made Me Gay, the first book to document the history of LGBT music and musicians, and the intriguing The Yacht Rock Book. A lot of rock fans contributed their photos and stories to Smithsonian and made a fantastic book Smithsonian rock and roll: live and unseen.

Syndetics book coverSmithsonian rock and roll : live and unseen / Bill Bentley.
“In December 2015, the Smithsonian called on rock and roll lovers around the world to collect photos and stories of their favorite moments in music. Fans dug through attics, basements, closets, shoeboxes, digital cameras, and photo albums to post great rock shots to rockandroll.si.edu. From Woodstock to the Whisky a Go Go, and all the rockin’ places in between, fans overwhelmingly responded with their favorite rock and roll moments. Iconic artists ranging from the Who to Nirvana to Chuck Berry to the Jimi Hendrix and many more are celebrated here.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCoal black mornings / Brett Anderson.
“Brett Anderson came from a world impossibly distant from rock star success, and in Coal Black Mornings he traces the journey that took him from a childhood as ‘a snotty, sniffy, slightly maudlin sort of boy raised on Salad Cream and milky tea and cheap meat’ to becoming founder and lead singer of Suede. Coal Black Mornings is profoundly moving, funny and intense – a book which stands alongside the most emotionally truthful of personal stories.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDavid Bowie made me gay : 100 years of LGBT music / Darryl W. Bullock.
“LGBT musicians have shaped the development of music over the last century, with a sexually progressive soundtrack in the background of the gay community’s struggle for acceptance. With the advent of recording technology, LGBT messages were for the first time brought to the forefront of popular music. David Bowie Made Me Gay is the first book to cover the breadth of history of recorded music by and for the LGBT community and how those records influenced the evolution of the music we listen to today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAstral weeks : a secret history of 1968 / Ryan H. Walsh.
“Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend, a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. In his first book, acclaimed rock musician and journalist Ryan H. Walsh unearths the album’s fascinating backstory – along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed it: Boston 1968.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemphis 68 : the tragedy of southern soul / Stuart Cosgrove.
“In the 1950s and 1960s, Memphis, Tennessee, was the launch pad of musical pioneers such as Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Al Green and Isaac Hayes, and by 1968 was a city synonymous with soul music. The book opens with the death of the city’s most famous recording artist, Otis Redding, who died in a plane crash in the nal days of 1967, and then follows the fortunes of Redding’s label, Stax/Volt Records, as its fortunes fall and rise again. But, as the tense year unfolds, the city dominates world headlines for the worst of reasons: the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe yacht rock book : the oral history of the soft, smooth sounds of the 70s, and 80s / by Greg Prato.
“Just what is ‘yacht rock,’ you ask? Perhaps the easiest description is music that would not sound out of place being played while carousing aboard a yacht back in the good old days. But these songs were also some of the top pop gems of the 1970s and ’80s. And while some associate yacht rock’s biggest songs with one-hit wonder artists, several of rock’s most renowned artists fall under this category, too – including Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, The Doobie Brothers, Toto, and more. This is the definitive story of the yacht rock’s creation, rise, chart-smashing success, fall, and stunning rebirth.” (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. Experiencing Film Music: A Listener’s Companion opens the ears of film-goers to the nuance behind movie music, laying out in simple, non-technical language how composers and directors map what we hear to what we see–and, not uncommonly, back again.” (Syndetics summary)

The life of a song: New books on popular music

Check out this wide range of intriguing books on popular music. They include The Life of Songs which is the fascinating backstories of hit songs, the rare study about ‘post-rock’, and the insightful biography of Joni Mitchell.

Syndetics book coverA brief history of album covers / Jason Draper ; foreword by Paul Du Noyer.
“Cover art can be an influential factor in a record’s success, and some designs are so memorable that they go down in design and music history – who doesn’t instantly recognize the covers for the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon? Now celebrate some of the greatest covers of the last 50 years alongside entertaining and informative text, in this great little book that will make an ideal gift for any music aficionado or art and design enthusiast.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe life of a Song : the fascinating stories behind 50 of the world’s best-loved Songs / edited by David Cheal and Jan Dalley.
“Each 600-word piece gives a mini-biography of a single song, from its earliest form (often a spiritual, or a jazz number), through the various covers and changes, often morphing from one genre to another, always focusing on the ‘biography’ of the song itself while including the many famous artists who have performed or recorded it. The selection covers a wide spectrum of the songs we all know and love – rock, pop, folk, jazz and more. Each piece is pithy, sparkily written, knowledgeable, entertaining, full of anecdotes and surprises. They combine deep musical knowledge with the vivid background of the performers and musicians, and of course the often intriguing social and political background against which the songs were created.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new electronic guitarist : new technologies and techniques for the modern guitar player / Marty Cutler.
“In The New Electronic Guitarist, Marty Cutler puts more than thirty years of expertise at your fingertips, explaining the nature and history of guitar synthesis before walking you through all the tools you need to find your sound. This unprecedented, pragmatically subjective book contains everything you need to know while scouting and adapting today’s finest products and technologies to your favorite guitar. From the Beatles to Prince, from Hendrix to EVH, all the greats have obsessively managed and altered every element that influences their tone. Why restrict your creative potential? Boldly take your twentieth century rig into the twenty-first with The New Electronic Guitarist !” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReckless daughter : a portrait of Joni Mitchell / David Yaffe.
“Joni Mitchell may be the most influential female recording artist and composer of the late twentieth century. In Reckless Daughter , the music critic David Yaffe tells the remarkable, heart-wrenching story of how the blond girl with the guitar became a superstar of folk music in the 1960s, a key figure in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1970s, and the songwriter who spoke resonantly to, and for, audiences across the country. Reckless Daughter is the story of an artist and an era that have left an indelible mark on American music.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaximum volume : the life of Beatles producer George Martin, the early years, 1926-1966 / Kenneth Womack.
Maximum Volume offers a glimpse into the mind, the music, and the man behind the sound of the Beatles. Martin s working-class childhood, his education, and his musical influences at London s Guildhall School of Music and Drama profoundly shaped his early career in the BBC s Classical Music department and as head of the EMI Group s Parlophone Records. These musical influences would become the fount out of which flowed the genius behind his seven years producing the Beatles incredible body of work, including such albums as Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSo much things to say : the oral history of Bob Marley / text and photographs by Roger Steffens ; introduction by Linton Kwesi Johnson.
“Roger Steffens is one of the world’s leading Bob Marley experts. He toured with the Wailers in the 1970s and was closely acquainted with Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and the rest of the band members. Over several decades he has interviewed more than seventy-five friends, business managers, relatives and confidants–many speaking publicly for the first time. Forty years in the making, So Much Things to Say weaves this rich testimony into a definitive telling of the life of the reggae king–the full, inside account of how a boy from the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, became a cultural icon and inspiration to millions around the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPop stars in my pantry : a memoir of pop mags and clubbing in the 1980s / Paul Simper.
“Author, columnist and TV writer Paul Simper had a front-row seat at one of pop stardom’s most exciting shows: the 1980s. His memoir, Pop Stars in My Pantry, is an account of a wide-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears lad from Wiltshire landing in London just as the capital’s club scene went into orbit. As a pop writer and fellow clubber, he had unique access to the artists who would become the biggest pop acts of the decade.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFearless : the making of post-rock / Jeanette Leech.
“In 1994, the music critic Simon Reynolds coined a new term: post-rock. It was an attempt to give a narrative to music that used the tools of rock but did something utterly different with it, broadening its scope by fusing elements of punk, dub, electronic music, minimalism, and more into something wholly new. Drawing on dozens of new interviews and packed full of stories never before told, Fearless explores how the strands of post-rock entwined, frayed, and created one of the most diverse bodies of music ever to huddle under one name.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMeet me in the bathroom : rebirth and rock and roll in New York City, 2001-2011 / Lizzy Goodman.
“In this fascinating and vibrant oral history, acclaimed journalist Lizzy Goodman charts New York’s explosive musical transformation in the early 2000s. Drawing on over 200 original interviews, Goodman follows the meteoric rise of the artists that revolutionised the cultural landscape and made Brooklyn the hipster capital of cool–including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend. Meet Me in the Bathroom is the definitive account of an iconic era in rock-and-roll.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUncommon people : the rise and fall of the rock stars / David Hepworth.
“In Uncommon People, David Hepworth zeroes in on defining moments and turning points in the lives of forty rock stars from 1955 to 1995, taking us on a journey to burst a hundred myths and create a hundred more.” (Syndetics summary)

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)