100 books like The Rolling Stone Album Guide

By Rolling Stone Magazine,

Here are 100 books that The Rolling Stone Album Guide fans have personally recommended if you like The Rolling Stone Album Guide. 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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Of all the legendary bands that are part of the history of Rock and Roll, Pink Floyd is the one that appears to have the least amount written about them. That is why this book is so important and so good. Other books had touched on their history, but none of them went as deep and thorough as this one.

By Mark Blake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mark Blake draws on his own interviews with band members as well as the group's friends, road crew, musical contemporaries, former housemates, and university colleagues to produce a riveting history of one of the biggest rock bands of all time. We follow Pink Floyd from the early psychedelic nights at UFO, to the stadium-rock and concept-album zenith of the seventies, to the acrimonious schisms of the late '80s and '90s. Along the way there are fascinating new revelations about Syd Barrett's chaotic life at the time of Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the band's painstaking and Byzantine recording sessions…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 A Women's History of the Beatles

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Over the past few decades, so much writing about rock has sought to overturn received wisdom about the music.

Feldman-Barrett’s excellent, funny, and beautifully written book – re-examining the Beatles in relation to the lives of women – is the best kind of alternative history. She turns the story of the Beatles upside down, and makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about the group.

By Christine Feldman-Barrett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Women's History of the Beatles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2022 Open Publication Prize by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-ANZ) A Women's History of the Beatles is the first book to offer a detailed presentation of the band's social and cultural impact as understood through the experiences and lives of women. Drawing on a mix of interviews, archival research, textual analysis, and autoethnography, this scholarly work depicts how the Beatles have profoundly shaped and enriched the lives of women, while also reexamining key, influential female figures within the group's history. Organized topically based on key themes important to the Beatles story, each…


Book cover of On the Road: Recording the Stars in a Golden Era of Live Music

Seth Mallios Author Of Let it Rock! Live From San Diego State

From my list on die-hard rockers.

Why am I passionate about this?

While it is tempting to insist that the reason we wrote a five-volume set on the history of local rock ‘n’ roll was as context for rescuing the famed 1976 “Backdoor Mural,” it’s not entirely true. Jaime and I love live music, mark major life events with important musical milestones, and delight in bizarre musical tangents. Music moves us, history matters, and the intersection of song and society is profound, elucidating, and eternally relevant.

Seth's book list on die-hard rockers

Seth Mallios Why did Seth love this book?

David Hewitt’s On the Road: Recording the Stars in a Golden Era of Live Music is an important contribution to the extensive annals of popular music history in that it focuses on the business of live recording that was an integral component to the explosion of rock ‘n’ roll from the 1960s through the 1980s. Hewitt was a top live recording engineer and his expertise permeates the pages of the richly detailed book.

By David W. Hewitt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book tells the story of a life spent on the road recording the rich diversity of music in America when it was a major part of our lives, not just digital background noise. For music fans, there was a golden era of live music, stretching from the 1960s through the 1980s, and even evolving into the 1990s, if you want to be generous.

In the pre-digital era, music fans spent a large part of their free time (and money) listening to their favorite artist’s recordings. It was an analog world so if they wanted to hear the music, they…


Book cover of Chuck Berry: The Autobiography

Peter Guralnick Author Of Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing

From my list on biographical reading from a biographer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Peter Guralnick has been called "a national resource" by critic Nat Hentoff for work that has argued passionately and persuasively for the vitality of this country’s intertwined black and white musical traditions. His books include the prize-winning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love; Searching for Robert Johnson; Sweet Soul Music; and Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. His 2015 biography, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, was a finalist for the Plutarch Award for Best Biography of the Year, awarded by the Biographers International Organization. His most recent book is Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing.

Peter's book list on biographical reading from a biographer

Peter Guralnick Why did Peter love this book?

Chuck Berry: The Autobiography is a primary clue to the Inner Chuck, if not the Facts of Chuck, an indisputable masterpiece, witty, elegant, and revealing, and (or perhaps but) ultimately elusive. Unlike so many music (and other) autobiographies, every word of this one was written by its author in a web of elegant, intricate connections that are both coded and transparent. Very much like the songs.

By Chuck Berry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the original rock and rollers tells his own story, discussing his childhood in St. Louis, his first musical efforts and his subsequent stardom, and many of the controversial detours he has taken along the way


Book cover of Rage to Survive: The Etta James Story

Maureen Mahon Author Of Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll

From my list on African American women who shaped popular music.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over many years of being an African American fan of rock music, I’ve learned that the combination of my gender, race, and musical taste can be disconcerting to people who expect Black women to adhere to a limited set of cultural interests. My frustration with these kinds of assumptions, my awareness that rock has deep roots in African American musical culture, my curiosity about the experiences of African American women who participated in rock and roll, and my desire to make sure that they are part of the stories we tell about the music’s history led me to write Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll

Maureen's book list on African American women who shaped popular music

Maureen Mahon Why did Maureen love this book?

One of my favorite memoirs, Rage to Survive is a no-holds-barred dive into the life and times of powerful singer who traversed the genres of rock and roll, blues, and R&B during her decades-long career. James tells compelling stories about her tough upbringing on the west coast and her teenage immersion into sex, drugs, and early rock and roll (check out her 1955 hit “The Wallflower”); shares her experiences touring in the segregated south during the 1950s; offers gossip about well-known musical figures; and reflects on her development as an artist navigating the recording industry in the fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties. Throughout she offers insights about love, loss, motherhood, hard knocks, bad choices, addiction, and personal and professional triumphs. James speaks with passion, humor, and honesty. 

By Etta James, David Ritz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the great women of American music, equally at home singing blues and jazz, Etta regales us with tales of her chaotic childhood, the stars she has known, and her troubled trip to stardom in this mesmerizing autobiography.


Book cover of The Chitlin' Circuit: And the Road to Rock 'n' Roll

Richard J. Alley Author Of Five Night Stand

From my list on culture of mid-20th century music and musicians.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in 1970. From my earliest memory there was music. But it’s never been just about the music, I have a natural curiosity for the people who make that music. The artist on the album cover, but also the side musicians, the producers, engineers, and promoters. I’m also fascinated by the roadmap from blues to rock to Laurel Canyon to disco to punk and on and on. Real music infuses and informs the fiction I write — by reading real-life accounts and listening to the songs, I’m put in the world from which it was all born.

Richard's book list on culture of mid-20th century music and musicians

Richard J. Alley Why did Richard love this book?

Want to write about music and musicians? You’ll need to understand the world in which they live. And if you’re writing about jazz and rock ‘n’ roll in the middle of the last century, that means a segregated, ugly world where even the most talented were treated as less than human. This was the world of the Chitlin’ Circuit. A dangerous, exciting, lawless network of nightclubs and juke joints from Memphis to New Orleans, Houston to Indianapolis, this topography spawned the popular music we love today. And nobody brings it to life like Lauterbach, whose reporting and language are as intense and musical as the era itself.

By Preston Lauterbach,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Chitlin' Circuit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For generations, "chitlin' circuit" has meant second tier-brash performers in raucous nightspots far from the big-city limelight. Now, music journalist Preston Lauterbach combines terrific firsthand reportage with deep historical research to offer a groundbreaking account of the birth of rock 'n' roll in black America.


Book cover of Shock Mount

Barbara Kellyn Author Of Morning Man

From my list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter.

Why am I passionate about this?

Is there any better foreplay than great wordplay? Not in my book! After years of studying the romcom repartee gospel according to Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers, I know this much is true: what’s said on the lips is first sparked in the hips! As a rom-com writer recently crowned “the Queen of Banter” by a reader (blush), I bow to the greats who taught me that witty banter is a symptom of unrealized or unsatisfied attraction. And as a lover of skillfully-written sparring, I squirm with delight whenever a sly remark, slick comeback, or sexy euphemism makes potential paramours pop. Want to enchant her? Use banter!

Barbara's book list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter

Barbara Kellyn Why did Barbara love this book?

Rock star romances have been my jam since back when my teen bedroom walls were filled with Tiger Beat pinups. The beautifully-orchestrated banter that keeps the beat of a rock and roll love affair fraught with hit and miss encounters helps build the tension towards a satisfying crescendo. (Full disclosure: I begged author Kelly Kay to disclose her real-life inspiration, and it was exactly who I’d pictured!) The hotel pool scene where Meg and rockstar Ian do nothing more than talk (fully clothed) lives rent free in my head as one of the steamiest scenes I’ve ever read. 

By Kelly Kay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

★★★★★"I LOVE this book."
A rockstar romance love triangle without crossover, and everyone gets a happily ever after. And it all begins with a spilled glass of wine and a broken watch.

If Meghan Hannah's not falling down, she's falling in love.

She's a mess of herself and always has been. She's an expert at putting her foot in her mouth, tripping over nothing, and being a very loyal friend but love, not so much. But she thinks she has finally got it all figured out. Until she spills her wine on the wrong Rock Star. Now Meg needs to…


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