100 books like Comfortably Numb

By Mark Blake,

Here are 100 books that Comfortably Numb fans have personally recommended if you like Comfortably Numb. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Tune In

Spencer Leigh Author Of Little Richard: Send Me Some Lovin'

From my list on the Beatles.

Who am I?

We all know Little Richard’s great hits like "Long Tall, Sally", "Tutti Frutti" and "Good Golly Miss Molly" and Little Richard’s life was as wild as his records. It’s excess all areas as Spencer Leigh tells the story of Little Richard in Send Me Some Lovin. It is a biography of someone who transformed popular music. Spencer Leigh was born in 1945 and hearing Little Richard for the first time in 1956 changed his life. He is a world expert on the Beatles and he has written a series of music-based biographies – Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel – all of which are full of facts and opinions.

Spencer's book list on the Beatles

Spencer Leigh Why did Spencer love this book?

The Beatles in forensic detail up to the first Parlophone single, "Love Me Do".

Mark has interviewed almost everyone who mattered and he knows what to ask them and how to shape a book. I suggest you seek out the two-volume version running to 1,600 pages.

The Beatles are treated with as much reverence as Picasso and Shakespeare, and deservedly so.

By Mark Lewisohn,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Tune In as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in paperback, Tune In is the New York Times bestseller by the world’s leading Beatles authority – the first volume in a groundbreaking trilogy about the band that revolutionized music.
 
The Beatles have been in our lives for half a century and surely always will be. Still, somehow, their music excites, their influence resonates, their fame sustains. New generations find and love them, and while many other great artists come and go, the Beatles are beyond eclipse.
 
So . . . who really were these people, and just how did it all happen?
 
'The Beatles story' is everywhere. Told…


Book cover of Who I Am: A Memoir

Julian David Stone Author Of No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer

From my list on rock and roll and rock and roll stars.

Who am I?

Julian David Stone is an author, screenwriter, photographer, and filmmaker. He shot dozens of the 1980s greatest acts by sneaking his photography equipment into concerts such as Prince, U2, the Police, David Bowie, R.E.M., the Ramones, Elvis Costello, the Talking Heads, the Grateful Dead, Joan Jett, and many, many more. Other work include screenplays for Disney, Paramount, Sony, and MGM. He is also the writer and director of the hit cult comedy feature film, Follow the Bitch, which has played to packed houses all around the country and received numerous awards.

Julian's book list on rock and roll and rock and roll stars

Julian David Stone Why did Julian love this book?

I found this to be one fo the best of the never-evening parade of rockstar autobiographies. Townshend is very honest about his complex personality and his shortcomings, and reading this, you can easily trace how this informed so much of The Who’s amazing music — and the stories of all the craziness of the early days of The Who are a blast, to boot.

By Pete Townshend,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Raw and unsparing...as intimate and as painful as a therapy session, while chronicling the history of the band as it took shape in the Mod scene in 1960s London and became the very embodiment of adolescent rebellion and loud, anarchic rock ‘n’ roll.”   — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

One of rock music's most intelligent and literary performers, Pete Townshend—guitarist, songwriter, editor—tells his closest-held stories about the origins of the preeminent twentieth-century band The Who, his own career as an artist and performer, and his restless life in and out of the public eye in this candid autobiography, Who I…


Book cover of The Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely New Reviews: Every Essential Album, Every Essential Artist

Julian David Stone Author Of No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer

From my list on rock and roll and rock and roll stars.

Who am I?

Julian David Stone is an author, screenwriter, photographer, and filmmaker. He shot dozens of the 1980s greatest acts by sneaking his photography equipment into concerts such as Prince, U2, the Police, David Bowie, R.E.M., the Ramones, Elvis Costello, the Talking Heads, the Grateful Dead, Joan Jett, and many, many more. Other work include screenplays for Disney, Paramount, Sony, and MGM. He is also the writer and director of the hit cult comedy feature film, Follow the Bitch, which has played to packed houses all around the country and received numerous awards.

Julian's book list on rock and roll and rock and roll stars

Julian David Stone Why did Julian love this book?

The Bible as far as I am concerned. As I was becoming a rock and roll fantastic in the early 80s, this was my go to source whenever encountering a new act that I hadn’t heard of. I would look up the new act, get an overview of their career and then dive in. It was always fun to see how they reviewed each album, using a scale of 1 to 5 stars. I bought every edition of this book (and will continue to do so, if they keep publishing them) and it was also interesting, and great feature of these books, that in each subsequent edition they would revisit their reviews and often change them, along with their star ratings.

By Rolling Stone Magazine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rolling Stone Album Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A completely revised edition of the bestselling guide to popular recordings--featuring 2,500 entries and more than 12,500 album reviews. The definitive guide for the `90s.


Book cover of Annie Leibovitz: Photographs

Julian David Stone Author Of No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer

From my list on rock and roll and rock and roll stars.

Who am I?

Julian David Stone is an author, screenwriter, photographer, and filmmaker. He shot dozens of the 1980s greatest acts by sneaking his photography equipment into concerts such as Prince, U2, the Police, David Bowie, R.E.M., the Ramones, Elvis Costello, the Talking Heads, the Grateful Dead, Joan Jett, and many, many more. Other work include screenplays for Disney, Paramount, Sony, and MGM. He is also the writer and director of the hit cult comedy feature film, Follow the Bitch, which has played to packed houses all around the country and received numerous awards.

Julian's book list on rock and roll and rock and roll stars

Julian David Stone Why did Julian love this book?

As a teenager and aspiring Rock and Roll Photographer, I poured through this book over and over again. Annie Leibowitz's work is always stunning, but this period in particular is my favorite. Her use of color and the clean, crisp, powerful images were exactly what I wanted to do with my own work. And it didn’t hurt that most of this work was for Rolling Stone Magazine!

By Annie Leibovitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brings together a collection of seventy photographs--including portraits of musicians, actors, writers, and other celebrated personalities of American popular culture--taken by the chief photographer for "Rolling Stone" magazine over the past fifteen years


Book cover of Just around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination

Nicholas Tochka Author Of Rocking in the Free World: Popular Music and the Politics of Freedom in Postwar America

From my list on making you rethink everything about rock ’n’ roll.

Who am I?

Hi, my name is Nick, and I’m a recovering rockist. I’ve collected records and vintage gear; I’ve owned Ray Coleman biographies. I’ve played in garage bands that did terrible punk-rock covers of songs like Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” I even used to subscribe to Rolling Stone magazine. And most embarrassingly, I believed in the power of rock – to effect political change, to free people’s bodies and minds. But if once I was a true believer, today I’ve become a rock ’n’ roll skeptic. And I hope that this list might help you rethink everything you thought you knew about rock, too.

Nicholas' book list on making you rethink everything about rock ’n’ roll

Nicholas Tochka Why did Nicholas love this book?

Some time in the 1960s, rock ’n’ roll became rock, and rock became white. That moment forms the core of Jack Hamilton’s exploration of the fraught racial politics of this music in the United States.

Putting different artists into dialogue – such as Dylan and Cooke, or Janis and Aretha – allows Hamilton to excavate the original complexity of genre labels that, over the fifty years since, have too often effaced the original, more complicated story about race, music, and American society. 

By Jack Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

By the time Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, the idea of a black man playing lead guitar in a rock band seemed exotic. Yet a mere ten years earlier, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley had stood among the most influential rock and roll performers. Why did rock and roll become "white"? Just around Midnight reveals the interplay of popular music and racial thought that was responsible for this shift within the music industry and in the minds of fans.

Rooted in rhythm-and-blues pioneered by black musicians, 1950s rock and roll was racially inclusive and attracted listeners and performers across the…


Book cover of The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds

Geoff Turner Author Of Archie's Mirror

From my list on magic, heroes, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Who am I?

As a writer of children’s books, I’ve always been fascinated – not merely by the narrative, characters, and plot that form a story – but how ideas themselves spring to life and cross-pollinate to form some kind of creative endeavor, whether that’s a song, a poem, a book or anything else that provokes an emotional response. Rather than shying away from the question: "Where do you get your ideas?" I like to embrace it and search for answers myself. These books all set contexts through which the nature of imagination and ideas are explored alongside the tales they tell, and they remain an influence on the ideas I have, and the words I write.

Geoff's book list on magic, heroes, and rock ‘n’ roll

Geoff Turner Why did Geoff love this book?

What on earth would possess you to burn a million quid? And if you’re going to, why travel to the small Scottish island of Jura to do it? Was this some ill-conceived publicity stunt, a cry for help, or a ceremony born of chaos and magic? John Higgs takes the reader on a deep dive into the fractured psyche of a couple of musicians that were briefly the most successful singles band in the world, and attempts to unravel the reasons behind what many people felt was either a self-absorbed, utterly insane, or obsessively destructive act. Along the way we dip into the philosophy of Discordianism, the influence of Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! trilogy and the significance of darkly magical rabbits, as we’re provided with enough clues to draw our own conclusions. 

By John Higgs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The best non-fiction book I've ever read. It's magical. Stunning' Dan Schreiber, No Such Thing As a Fish

'A pop biography for people who don't read pop biographies' Dorian Lynskey, Guardian

'Brilliant, discursive and wise' Ben Goldacre

'Utterly irresistible and totally brilliant' The Quietus

'A thing of endlessly fascinating, utterly demented genius' Alexis Petridis

THE STRANGE TALE OF THE DEATH, LIFE AND LEGACY OF THE HUGELY SUCCESSFUL BAND.

They were the bestselling singles band in the world. They had awards, credibility, commercial success and creative freedom. Then they deleted their records, erased themselves from musical history and burnt their last…


Book cover of What Does This Button Do?: An Autobiography

Brent Abell Author Of Death Inc.

From my list on heavy metal that are on my shelf.

Who am I?

Brent Abell resides in Southern Indiana with his wife and Drake the Puggle. Brent enjoys anything horror-related. In his writing career, he’s had stories featured in over 30 publications from multiple presses. His books Southern Devils, Southern Devils: Reconstruction of the Dead, In Memoriam, The Calling, Phoenix Protocol, Dying Days: Death Sentence, Dying Days: Zealot, Death Inc., and Wicked Tales for Wicked People are available now. He is also a co-author of the horror-comedy Hellmouth series. Currently, he is working on a multitude of projects. You can hang out with him on his website for some rum, beer, and a good cigar.

Brent's book list on heavy metal that are on my shelf

Brent Abell Why did Brent love this book?

I am a huge Iron Maiden fan, like a devoted acolyte fan. Over the years, I’ve seen them multiple times, bought a closet full of concert shirts, and collected their beers/Funko Pops/album deluxe versions. Bruce Dickinson is the band’s second vocalist, and here he gives us the tales of his early days in Samson before joining Steve Harris and the Maiden crew. We get stories of his childhood and family in typical autobiography fashion, but it takes off once he gets into the meat of his time with Iron Maiden.

The book is captivating because he reflects on leaving Maiden to follow a solo career. The struggles he dealt with personally and professionally paint a picture of a man who had it all but wanted to try something new. The book’s final portion deals with his return to Iron Maiden and how he went through cancer. Cancer could’ve ended his…

By Bruce Dickinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Does This Button Do? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I was spotty, wore an anorak, had biro-engraved flared blue jeans with "purple" and "Sabbath" written on the thighs, and rode an ear-splittingly uncool moped. Oh yes, and I wanted to be a drummer...'

Bruce Dickinson - Iron Maiden's legendary front man - is one of the world's most iconic singers and songwriters. But there are many strings to Bruce's bow, of which larger-than-life lead vocalist is just one. He is also an airline captain, aviation entrepreneur, motivational speaker, beer brewer, novelist, radio presenter, film scriptwriter and an international fencer: truly one of the most unique and interesting men in…


Book cover of Fingers Crossed: How Music Saved Me from Success

Mike Hipple Author Of Lived Through That: '90s Musicians Today

From my list on music memoirs that aren't necessarily about music.

Who am I?

Sadly, I was born without an ounce of musical talent. After realizing I was never going to effortlessly play the guitar or sing in tune, I focused a lot of my energies on listening to music. I came of age in the 80s and the rise of MTV brought loads of fantastic music to explore: punk, new-wave, post-punk, pop. My love for music grew and expanded as I grew up in the 90s. It was those I reached back to musical memories in creating my books, 80s Redux and Lived Through That. I also host a popular podcast called Lived Through That that combines my love of music and storytelling.  

Mike's book list on music memoirs that aren't necessarily about music

Mike Hipple Why did Mike love this book?

Author and musician Miki Berenyi, from the 90s band Lush, pens a memoir that is one of the most open and honest I’ve read. In addition, the book reads almost like a casual conversation with a friend over coffee – albeit a friend who has lived quite an interesting life. Trigger warning – there are some sensitive topics discussed here, including suicide, self-harm, and sexual abuse. As of this writing, the book is only available in the UK but it’s well worth your time to seek it out if you can.

By Miki Berenyi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rough Trade Book of the Year
Resident Book of the Year
A Rolling Stone Book of the Year
A Mojo Book of the Year
A Sunday Times Book of the Year

Formed in 1988, Lush were part of the London gig scene during one of the most vibrant and creative periods in UK music. Now, Miki Berenyi tells all.

From the bohemian ways of her father's social circle to the privileged glamour of her mother's acting career, Miki's young life was a blur of travel, celebrities and peripatetic schooling. But frequent relocation, parental neglect and the dark presence of her…


Book cover of British Rock Guitar: The First 50 Years, the Musicians and Their Stories

Richard Niles Author Of The Invisible Artist: Arrangers In Popular Music (1950-2000)

From my list on to get inside popular music.

Who am I?

Richard Niles was born in Hollywood but grew up in London where his 50-year professional career as a composer, arranger, record producer led to work with some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, including Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, James Brown, Tina Turner, Cher and jazz icon Pat Metheny. He has worked on 20 Gold and 28 Platinum records. He has published many books on music including The Pat Metheny Interviews, The Invisible Artist, From Dreaming to Gigging, Piano Grooves, Songwriting – The 11-Point Plan, Adventures in Arranging, Adventures in Jazz Composition, What is Melody?, and How to be an Employable Musician. Dr. Niles' PhD is from Brunel University and he has lectured internationally.

Richard's book list on to get inside popular music

Richard Niles Why did Richard love this book?

Mo Foster was one of rock’s great sidemen, performing with artists such as Jeff Beck, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Gerry Rafferty, Van Morrison, and George Martin.

Mo tells the stories of the greatest players who developed what is arguably the most important instrument of the 20th century, the guitar, talking to some of its greatest players including Hank Marvi, Eric Clapton, and Brian May. Mo was one of the funniest men I have ever known, and I can guarantee that if you read this book, you will be learning and laughing on every page!

By Mo Foster,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A renowned bass player, Mo Foster has played his guitar with the greats, and with their backing, contributions and memories has written an insightful, passionate and very humorous book.
British Rock Guitar is illustrated with original advertisements, memorabilia and photographs, many from many artist's private collections.
Mo Foster, draws upon his own recollections and those of some of the greatest exponents of the rock guitar, from Hank Marvin to Eric Clapton and Brian May. Mo Foster has written the definitive history of the importance of the guitar in the development of British music over the last 50 years.
British Rock…


Book cover of Typical Girls: The Story of "The Slits"

Audrey Golden Author Of I Thought I Heard You Speak: Women at Factory Records

From my list on revealing untold stories in music.

Who am I?

I’ve been thinking about and researching obscured narratives for a long time, now. As a lawyer, I learned about how systems and structures marginalize and hide important voices because of overt discrimination and implicit biases, and I took that knowledge with me while I earned a PhD in literary studies. I’ve learned — and am still learning! — that if we want to remedy exclusions from cultural histories, we’ve got to learn to think about what voices are missing and why. I hope reading my book and those recommended here will give you a chance to learn with me. Let’s change the ways we think about so-called “definitive” histories of music. 

Audrey's book list on revealing untold stories in music

Audrey Golden Why did Audrey love this book?

As far as I know, this is the first biography of an all-female or female-fronted band. When I saw it come out, I was thrilled but also thought: how in the world has it taken this long for someone to write a book about The Slits?!

Lucky for me (and for all of you), Zoe Howe was the one to do it because this book taught me that it’s more than possible to write about women in music (even when male journalists and music writers omit women altogether, marginalize them in print, or criticize their work). 

By Zoe Howe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Wild, defiant and startlingly inventive, The Slits were ahead of their time. Although they created some unique hybrids - dub reggae and pop-punk, African rhythms, funk and free jazz - they were dismissed as being unable to play. Their lyrics were witty and perceptive while their influential first album challenged perceptions of punk and of girl bands - but they were still misunderstood. And that infamous debut album cover, with the band appearing topless and mud-daubed, prompted further misreadings of the first ladies of punk. Author Zoe Street Howe speaks to The Slits themselves, to former manager Don Letts, mentor…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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