The best books to bring you close to rock and roll and its coolest, most talented creators

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a music fan–especially pop and rock and roll–since I was a toddler, thanks to my dysfunctional family upbringing that led me to spend the bulk of my time attached to my transistor radio! Not only did I listen to rock radio stations, but I also learned about musicians, including the Beatles, thanks to magazine articles and books once I started to read at an early age–I went to my local library daily and continued to do so all the way through my school years!


I wrote...

Confessions of a Rock N Roll Name Dropper: My Life Leading Up to John Lennon’s Last Interview

By Laurie Kaye,

Book cover of Confessions of a Rock N Roll Name Dropper: My Life Leading Up to John Lennon’s Last Interview

What is my book about?

This is my memoir–my rock radio-related early life and career wrapped around John Lennon’s final interview, which I co-conducted for RKO Radio at the Dakota in New York back on December 8, 1980, mere hours before he was shot and killed. I also wrote the incredibly well-received RKO special that aired a mere 6 days after John’s assassination: John Lennon–The Man, The Memory, as well as RKO Presents The Beatles/The Beatles From Liverpool to Legend.

I tell readers about being a teenage runaway thanks to my dysfunctional family upbringing, plus how sex and drugs and rock and roll sent me to Lennon’s last day on the planet and tons of other interviews I conducted–McCartney, Harrison, George Martin, The Ramones, etc.!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of In Your Mind: The Infinite Universe of Yoko Ono

Laurie Kaye Why did I love this book?

Very well written and informative about super talented, cool Yoko Ono, who many Beatles fans have blamed for years for their favorite band’s break up, but this book shows why that’s completely untrue!

Madeline Bocaro has been very interested in and has had personal encounters with Yoko for several years. She describes her heroine so very well that everyone will begin to appreciate her existence and what she contributed to John Lennon’s life, love, and career!

By Madeline Bocaro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Your Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Your Mind - The Infinite Universe of Yoko Ono
by Madeline Bocaro
 
The true story of the woman whom John Lennon loved.
 
This is the first extensive exploration of the artist's amazing life, struggles, art, activism, films and music in astounding detail. Yoko's life story goes way beyond what most people know. This is not only a biography - it is the ultimate reference guide to Ono's life and work.
 
It includes the love story of John and Yoko, and her relationship to the Beatles.
 
The book illuminates Ono's spiritual nature and her wisdom, her lonely childhood in Japan…


Book cover of I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie

Laurie Kaye Why did I love this book?

Pamela Des Barre's incredible history as rock and roll’s number one famous groupie helped her create her incredible memoir! Her extremely well-written book features many super cool personal stories about her involvement with several famous musicians/rockstars that nearly all of us women who are rock fans would have loved to have been in close, loving contact with ourselves! 

Pamela was definitely my biggest inspiration when it came to memoir writing. She digs my book as well, writing a complimentary comment that appears on its back cover!

By Pamela Des Barres,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked I'm with the Band as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pamela Des Barres was a regular on the Sunset Strip, where she knocked on rock stars' backstage doors and immersed herself in the drugs, danger, and ecstasy of the freewheeling 1960s. Over the next 10 years she had affairs with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon and Jim Morrison, among others. As a member of the GTO's, a girl group masterminded by Frank Zappa, she was in the thick of the most revolutionary renaissance in the history of modern popular music. Warm, witty, and sexy, this kiss-and-tell-all stands out as the perfect chronicle of one of rock 'n' roll's most…


Book cover of John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life

Laurie Kaye Why did I love this book?

Not only is Kenneth Womack an incredible writer, but also an extremely knowledgeable Beatles expert! Plus, he knew enough to approach me for an interview to include in this book of his since, of course, I co-conducted John Lennon’s last interview at the Dakota for RKO Radio on December 8, 1980, mere hours before he was shot and killed, so naturally it added important details when it came to Kenneth writing about the final day of John Lennon’s life! 

Kenneth Womack also inspired me to finally begin writing my book. When he read it before I got it published, he was so excited that he contributed an incredibly complimentary Foreward that appears in my paperback book and recorded it for my audiobook version!

By Kenneth Womack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked John Lennon 1980 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Lennon, 1980: The Final Days in the Life of Beatle John tells the story of the legendary musician's incredible last year. For Lennon, 1980 had begun as a ceaseless shopping spree in which he and wife Yoko Ono fell into the doldrums of purchasing blue-chip real estate and indulging their every whim. But for John, that pivotal year would climax in several moments of creative triumph as he rediscovered his artistic self in dramatic fashion, only to be cut down by an assassin's bullets on Monday, December 8th, 1980, in the prime of a new life that was only…


Book cover of Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings

Laurie Kaye Why did I love this book?

Just as I became a huge Yoko Ono fan when she began singing and recording with John Lennon, I discovered the new edition of her book, which features everything from poetry to artwork to incredibly creative instructions for art and life itself! 

Plus, the fact that Lennon wrote the introduction to this second edition was tremendously exciting, especially when I went to New York to interview them and brought my copy with me, which got them both so very thrilled they couldn’t wait to talk to me about it and autograph it for me! Their Grapefruit autographs appear in my book, too!

By Yoko Ono,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grapefruit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Back in print for the first time in nearly thirty years, here is Yoko Ono's whimsical, delightful, subversive, startling book of instructions for art and for life.

"Burn this book after you've read it." -- Yoko

"A dream you dream alone may be a dream, but a dream two people dream together is a reality."
"This is the greatest book I've ever burned." -- John


Book cover of Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You: A Memoir

Laurie Kaye Why did I love this book?

I’ve been a tremendous fan of Lucinda Williams since seeing her perform on nearly a weekly basis back at the Barndance at the Palomino in the late 80’s and early 90’s–she’s an incredibly talented singer and musician, and it turned out she’s a great memoir writer too, able to describe how she came up from traumatic childhood in the Deep South, to her years of being overlooked in the music industry, to her eventual successful country and pop music career which includes being a three-time Grammy winner!

By Lucinda Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Williams's memoir is as flinty, earthy and plain-spoken as her songs' New York Times
'The often hilarious, occasionally harrowing Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You is a bracingly candid chronicle of a sui generis character plotting a ramshackle but ultimately triumphant trajectory' Wall Street Journal
'An engaging read and beautifully written' MOJO

The beloved and iconic singer-songwriter and three-time Grammy winner opens up about her traumatic childhood in the Deep South, her years of being overlooked in the music industry, and the stories that inspired her enduring songs.

Lucinda Williams's rise to fame was anything but easy. Raised…


You might also like...

The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

By Kathryn Betts Adams,

Book cover of The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

Kathryn Betts Adams Author Of The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I was first a clinical social worker and then a social work professor with research focus on older adults. Over the past few years, as I have been writing my own memoir about caring for my parents, I’ve been drawn to memoirs and first-person stories of aging, illness, and death. The best memoirs on these topics describe the emotional transformation in the writer as they process their loss of control, loss of their own or a loved one’s health, and their fear, pain, and suffering. In sharing these stories, we help others empathize with what we’ve gone through and help others be better prepared for similar events in their own lives.

Kathryn's book list on Memoirs illness aging death moving vivid prose

What is my book about?

The Pianist's Only Daughter is a frank, humorous, and heartbreaking exploration of aging in an aging expert's own family.

Social worker and gerontologist Kathryn Betts Adams spent decades negotiating evolving family dynamics with her colorful and talented parents: her mother, an English scholar and poet, and her father, a pianist and music professor. Their vivid emotional lives, marital instability, and eventual divorce provided the backdrop for her 1960s and ‘70s Midwestern youth.

Nearly thirty years after they divorce, Adams' newly single father flies in to woo his ex-wife, now retired and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Their daughter watches in disbelief…

The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

By Kathryn Betts Adams,

What is this book about?

Grounded in insights about mental health, health and aging, The Pianist’s Only Daughter: A Memoir presents a frank and loving exploration of aging in an aging expert's own family.

Social worker and gerontologist Kathryn Betts Adams spent decades negotiating evolving family dynamics with her colorful and talented parents: her English scholar and poet mother and her pianist father. Their vivid emotional lives, marital instability, and eventual divorce provided the backdrop for her 1960s and ‘70s Midwestern youth.

Nearly thirty years after they divorce, Adams' father finds himself single and flies in to woo his ex-wife, now retired and diagnosed with…


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