100 books like Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry

By Kristin J. Lieb,

Here are 100 books that Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry fans have personally recommended if you like Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry. 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 Long and Winding Roads

Thomas Kitts Author Of Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else

From my list on rock music and rock bands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the years, as a Professor of English at St. John's University, NY, I have shifted my research from American literature to popular culture, specifically rock music, a passion first ignited when I watched the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, and re-ignited time and time again over the years. I have written articles, reviews, interviews, and a few books and I edit Popular Music and Society and Rock Music Studies.

Thomas' book list on rock music and rock bands

Thomas Kitts Why did Thomas love this book?

If you read just one book on The Beatles, read Womack’s Long and Winding Roads. It is a lively account of the development of John, Paul, Ringo, and George as individuals, as musicians, and as artists. At every turn, Womack gives insight into The Beatles’ work from their earliest to their final recordings. It is an outstanding study that celebrates and illuminates the glory of the Beatles and, yes, their sometimes very human failings.

By Kenneth Womack,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In "Long and Winding Roads", Kenneth Womack brings the band's story vividly to life - from their salad days as a Liverpool Skiffle group and their apprenticeship in the nightclubs and mean streets of Hamburg through their early triumphs at the legendary Cavern Club and the massive onslaught of Beatlemania itself. By mapping the group's development as an artistic fusion, Womack traces the Beatles' creative arc from their first, primitive recordings through "Abbey Road" and the twilight of their career. In order to communicate the nature and power of the band's remarkable achievement, Womack examines the Beatles' body of work…


Book cover of Across the Great Divide: The Band and America

Thomas Kitts Author Of Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else

From my list on rock music and rock bands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the years, as a Professor of English at St. John's University, NY, I have shifted my research from American literature to popular culture, specifically rock music, a passion first ignited when I watched the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, and re-ignited time and time again over the years. I have written articles, reviews, interviews, and a few books and I edit Popular Music and Society and Rock Music Studies.

Thomas' book list on rock music and rock bands

Thomas Kitts Why did Thomas love this book?

Hoskyns’s biography of The Band takes us on journey. We travel with these five distinct individuals as they form a brotherhood as they back Ronnie Hawkins for tour after tour for some seven years before becoming Bob Dylan’s backup band for a couple of more years. The first two albums, Music from Big Pink and The Band (The Brown Album) are now regarded as classics signaling the advent of a new genre, Americana. However, The Band’s story is ultimately sad as their tight brotherhood unravels in a swirl of drugs, alcohol, exhaustion, jealousies, and accusations. Yet despite all the tumult, Hoskyns celebrates the music.

By Barney Hoskyns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Across the Great Divide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a vivid and rollicking account of The Band's journey across three decades. Spanning the history of American rock and boasting a supporting cast that includes Dylan, Janis Joplin, and U2, the book brilliantly captures the raw magic and complex personalities of a group George Harrison called “the best band in the history of the universe.”, This revised U.S. edition includes a postscript, together with an obituary of Rick Danko and a brand-new interview with Robbie Robertson.


Book cover of Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America’s Garage Band

Thomas Kitts Author Of Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else

From my list on rock music and rock bands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the years, as a Professor of English at St. John's University, NY, I have shifted my research from American literature to popular culture, specifically rock music, a passion first ignited when I watched the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, and re-ignited time and time again over the years. I have written articles, reviews, interviews, and a few books and I edit Popular Music and Society and Rock Music Studies.

Thomas' book list on rock music and rock bands

Thomas Kitts Why did Thomas love this book?

Not many books are written about bands that labor in the trenches for over thirty years with little success. The Fleshtones formed in New York City in the mid 1970s, one of many new wave/punk bands seeking to fulfill their rock-‘n’-roll dream. Today, they are still looking to achieve that dream. Since 1982, they have released over 20 albums, none achieving commercial success. With just the right combination of humor and seriousness (like The Fleshtones themselves), Sweat documents the band’s bad luck, bad management, bad record contracts, bad decisions, and self-destructive behaviors. Always on the brink of breaking through, “The Fleshtones,” as lead-signer Peter Zaremba put it, “have stared in the face of success and laughed.”

By Joe Bonomo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's June 2001. Keith Streng steers a cramped mini-van north along Lincoln Avenue in Chicago while Peter Zaremba, Bill Milhizer and Ken Fox sprawl in the back nursing hangovers and road weariness. They pull into the Apache, quaintly described as a "hooker hotel" by local folk, and drag their gear and merchandise into a decrepit room. Blood is splattered on the ceiling, roaches scurry on the walls and grainy porn blares on the television. Next door, two obese half-naked guys sit on a bed with an enormous bottle of cheap bourbon between them, staring idly at the TV.The Fleshtones are…


Book cover of Swim Through the Darkness: My Search for Craig Smith and the Mystery of Maitreya Kali

Michael Tau Author Of Extreme Music: From Silence to Noise and Everything In Between

From my list on absolutely arcane corners of human existence.

Why am I passionate about this?

Following mysterious trails and uncovering esoteric stories: it’s what I love to do, and it’s also what I love to read about. Before I released Extreme Music, I wrote extensively about unusual music subcultures and audiological anomalies, for example artists who put out hourlong blocks of unchanging white noise. I’ve learned that the most interesting ideas – and tales – exist in these outer fringes.

Michael's book list on absolutely arcane corners of human existence

Michael Tau Why did Michael love this book?

This book tells the story of Craig Smith, a musician and songwriter who had a brush with fame in the sixties before developing mental health issues while on the hippie trail in Afghanistan. Thereafter, he adopted an unusual alter ego, Maitreya Kali, under which he recorded two bizarre and now excruciatingly rare albums. Through years of research, author Mike Stax tells the story by patching together court and medical records, interviews with associates, and other shreds of data, even trying to track down Smith, who had been homeless for many years.

This is a sad but captivating work that uncovers the mysterious story of an obscure cranny of music history.

By Mike Stax,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Swim Through the Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A successful young songwriter in 1960s becomes derailed by LSD and resulting madness.
Craig Smith was a 1960s golden boy – good looking, charismatic, outgoing; a preternaturally gifted musician and songwriter whose songs were recorded by some of the biggest names in entertainment – Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, the Monkees. His future success seemed assured, until an unexpected turn of events plunged him into a terrifying darkness. Clean-cut Craig Smith became Maitreya Kali, the self-proclaimed psychedelic Messiah. He laid out his poignant, disturbing schizophrenic vision on a sprawling self-released double-album before disappearing completely. Author Mike Stax spent fifteen years piecing…


Book cover of This Woman's Work: Essays on Music

Sammy Stein Author Of Fabulous Female Musicians

From my list on female musicians.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been passionate about music for almost my entire life. Jazz music in particular speaks to me but not just jazz. I love music, full stop. I really discovered jazz when I attended a jazz club workshop in London and there, I had to join in or leave. I chose to join in and since then I have never looked back. I was introduced to more jazz musicians and now write about music for three major columns as well as Readers’ Digest. My Women In Jazz book won several awards. I have been International Editor for the Jazz Journalist Association and had my work commissioned by the Library of Congress. 

Sammy's book list on female musicians

Sammy Stein Why did Sammy love this book?

I love how the various writers in the book explore music and its effects on them and their lives.

I really enjoyed how they also include people they have known and been fond of, such as Maggie Nelson writing about her friend Lhasa. It also explores, through the series of essays, the reasons that inspire women to play and perform, but also other areas like fame and how this affects musicians.

The essays challenge the usual pattern of men writing about music and I love the view from the female musician’s standpoint. The essays vary in length, topics, and style but this is fine. I found the book inspirational, especially as the essays are there with only light edits.

Whether writing about what it is to be far from home on a journey, or defying expectations found the passion, consideration for music, and their motivation captivating. 

By Sinead Gleeson (editor), Kim Gordon (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Woman's Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This Woman's Work: Essays on Music is edited by Kim Gordon and Sinead Gleeson and features contributors Anne Enright, Fatima Bhutto, Jenn Pelly, Rachel Kushner, Juliana Huxtable, Leslie Jamison, Liz Pelly, Maggie Nelson, Margo Jefferson, Megan Jasper, Ottessa Moshfegh, Simone White, Yiyun Li and Zakia Sewell.

Published to challenge the historic narrative of music and music writing being written by men, for men, This Woman's Work seeks to confront the male dominance and sexism that have been hard-coded in the canons of music, literature, and film and has forced women to fight pigeon-holing or being side-lined by carving out their…


Book cover of Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

Amy Lee Lillard Author Of Dig Me Out

From my list on celebrating angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by angry, feral, primal women. In my book, ten stories feature these women, the ones doing the things we’re not supposed to do, thinking and feeling and saying the things we’re not supposed to. I think we’re beyond powerful when we embrace our anger, nourish and cultivate it, channel it. So I write about these women in the hopes that I’ll get a bit of their strength. The books in this list have inspired me as a writer and thrilled me as a reader.

Amy's book list on celebrating angry women

Amy Lee Lillard Why did Amy love this book?

In the early 1990s, a group of women-centric punk bands and their young fans created a radical feminist movement, one that is still deeply inspiring. This book of Riot Grrrl is a fascinating look at the interplay between music and revolt, as well as an enraging analysis of how media took young women’s anger and turned it poisonous. I have long been obsessed with Riot Grrrl; although I was of the age to participate at the time, I lacked information and access. So I look back now at my Gen X peers and celebrate the music and rage that created this holy thing. And in my book, some of my stories are based on these songs and the spirit of these girls.

By Sara Marcus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the beginning of the 1990s, the Senate didn't believe Anita Hill, Rush Limbaugh compared feminists to Nazis, and a study found that girls tended to start hating themselves during adolescence. It was a hard time to be a young woman, to be growing up on promises of equal rights that didn't square with reality. Sexual assault rates reached record highs; harassment was rife in the schools; and, boys still would be boys, and girls still had to watch what they wore and where they walked. It was enough to make a girl want to scream. Riot Grrrl roared into…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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…


Book cover of Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--And the Journey of a Generation

Liisa Kyle Author Of Be More Creative: 101 Activities to Unleash and Grow Your Creativity

From my list on the early lives of rock stars.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a life coach and author of two dozen self-help books, I’ve spent the past twenty years helping people to be more creative. I love reading about the early lives of artists because it is an engaging way to learn about the creative process. Even rock stars have doubts, insecurities, regrets, and setbacks. Yet, fueled by their passions, they persist. They overcome their obstacles and pursue unique paths to success. These books are inspirational and informative for anyone with a creative dream.

Liisa's book list on the early lives of rock stars

Liisa Kyle Why did Liisa love this book?

This is a compelling, detailed history of three influential singer/songwriters – Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon. Their early careers were wildly different, yet intersected in unexpected ways as they each found their unique paths to success. What I love most about this deftly written account is that specific songs are set in their historical context, so you better understand what was happening with the artist at that time and gain new insights into the songs that still resonate today, fifty years later.

By Sheila Weller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Girls Like Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking and irresistible biography of three of America’s most important musical artists—Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon—charts their lives as women at a magical moment in time.

Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon remain among the most enduring and important women in popular music. Each woman is distinct. Carole King is the product of outer-borough, middle-class New York City; Joni Mitchell is a granddaughter of Canadian farmers; and Carly Simon is a child of the Manhattan intellectual upper crust. They collectively represent, in their lives and their songs, a great swath of American girls who came of…


Book cover of Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir

Ling Ling Huang Author Of Natural Beauty

From my list on the power of music.

Why am I passionate about this?

For most of my life, I've been a professional classical violinist. I had my first performance on stage at the age of 4, went to a music conservatory at the age of 15, and have gone on to play on some of the best concert stages in the world, from the Elbphilharmonie to Carnegie Hall. My violin playing and writing inform each other, and I think of myself as a translator between the two. I love to do both, and I’m certain I couldn’t do one without the other. It's always a pleasure to see music in the books I read. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Ling's book list on the power of music

Ling Ling Huang Why did Ling love this book?

I love this book so much.

As a fan of Sleater-Kinney and Portlandia, I couldn’t not pick it up. Brownstein writes so profoundly and generously about her life in this deeply personal memoir.

The way that she took agency in her life inspired me to leave an abusive relationship. One of the many ways this book changed my life.

By Carrie Brownstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emma Watson's Book Club pick for July and August 2016

Before Carrie Brownstein became a music icon, she was a young girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest just as it was becoming the setting for one of the most important movements in rock history. Seeking a sense of home and identity, she would discover both while moving from spectator to creator in experiencing the power and mystery of a live performance. With Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein and her bandmates rose to prominence in the burgeoning underground feminist punk-rock movement that would define music and pop culture in the 1990s. They would…


Book cover of Hit So Hard: A Memoir

Joyce Raskin Author Of My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star

From my list on female musician rock memoirs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a female musician who has toured and experienced life on the road in the male-dominated world of rock and roll. I am always looking for female musicians (famous and unknown) who led the way to me being able to do what I do. Female musicians still don’t get equal time with their male counterparts. There are still so few women who have been recognized in the media, so reading about them makes me feel less alone. Their memoirs inspire me to keep playing and bring to music what only a female musician can do.

Joyce's book list on female musician rock memoirs

Joyce Raskin Why did Joyce love this book?

I happened to have spent time with Patti Schemel when my band Scarce toured for a month with Hole in 1995. Patti is the real deal when it comes to being a musician. She’s a badass on the drums, and in real life.

I really enjoyed the intimate moments she shared about Kurt Cobain. They are tender and sweet, and show a very different side of his public persona. She takes us into the back scenes of what was like to be in a band as it took off, backing up the very unpredictable Courtney Love onstage, and what it means to be a rock star.

I also loved that she spent time writing about what it was like to be a lesbian in the male-dominated rock world, where women are seen often as simply something pretty to look at.

Her personality really shines through her writing. She’s fierce, honest,…

By Patty Schemel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A stunningly candid portrait of the Seattle grunge scene of the '90s and a memoir of an addict during the last great era of rock 'n' roll excess, by Hole drummer Patty Schemel

Patty Schemel's story begins with a childhood surrounded by the AA meetings her parents hosted in the family living room. Their divorce triggered her first forays into drinking at age twelve and dovetailed with her passion for punk rock and playing the drums. Patty's struggles with her sexuality further drove her notoriously hard playing, and by the late '80s she had focused that anger, confusion, and drive…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in popular music, rock music, and pop music?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about popular music, rock music, and pop music.

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