100 books like Who I Am

By Pete Townshend,

Here are 100 books that Who I Am fans have personally recommended if you like Who I Am. 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 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.

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?

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.

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 Clapton: The Autobiography

Larry J. Dunlap Author Of Night People

From my list on romantic rock and roll memoirs of the 60s and 70s.

Why am I passionate about this?

My Indiana singing group was transplanted and reformed into a popular rock band In mid-60s California. We survived San Francisco's East Bay dive bars, thrived in the City's North Beach topless clubs, appeared in several Hollywood rock clubs, opened a showroom/lounge at Caesars Palace, and performed for two years at the Flamingo Hotel. We were discovered by big-name managers, signed to a famous producer, recorded in the best studios, and released several records with a well-known record label. Though we didn't quite make it to the top rung, we checked all the boxes in our journey. In the 70s, I became a personal manager in Hollywood and eventually opened and operated a Sunset Boulevard recording studio. My two books are a passionate retelling of my musical journey. As I worked on them, I turned to memoirs of other musicians and singers for inspiration. These are a few of them.

Larry's book list on romantic rock and roll memoirs of the 60s and 70s

Larry J. Dunlap Why did Larry love this book?

Eric Clapton's early childhood was difficult. He'd been born illegitimately, complicating his relationship with his birth mother. His primary consolation came from playing the guitar. His fantastic talent as a young guitarist made him a cult favorite in the British nightclub scene until the entire world discovered him as a superstar in his first band, the short-lived, Cream. But his memberships in Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie, and Friends, and Derek and the Dominoes were also fleeting despite producing some of the most timeless songs in rock history.

All of his weaknesses rose to the top when he convinced Pattie Boyd to leave George Harrison and live with him in 1974. Pattie began traveling with Clapton as he began touring the U.S. In 1979, he and Pattie finally married, with Harrison present as an invited guest. While it seemed that Clapton had everything he had ever wanted, he was sinking…

By Eric Clapton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eric Clapton is far more than a rock star. Like Dylan and McCartney he is an icon and a living legend. He has sold tens of millions of records, played sell-out concerts all over the world and been central to the significant musical developments of his era. His guitar playing has seen him hailed as 'God'. Tracks such as "Layla", "Sunshine Of Your Love", "Wonderful Tonight" and "Tears In Heaven" have become anthems for generations of music fans. Now for the first time, Eric tells the story of his personal and professional journeys in this pungent, witty and painfully honest…


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.

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?

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 Petty: The Biography

Mark Beal Author Of ZEO: Introducing Gen Z – The New Generation Of Leaders

From my list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than 30 years I have been immersed in creative public relations and marketing from campaign development and activation to effectively engaging the primary consumer audiences. Me and my teams developed campaigns around such major sports and entertainment properties as the Olympic Games, Super Bowl, and The Rolling Stones. No matter your industry, inspiration for creativity, transformation, and innovation can come from many sources including the compelling storytelling featured in the books that I recommend.  

Mark's book list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation

Mark Beal Why did Mark love this book?

Tom Petty is one of my favorite songwriters, musicians, and singers of all-time.

While I had the opportunity to see him in concert many times starting in the early 1980s, I never knew how he got there. This book shares Petty’s inspiring journey from his humble beginnings in Gainesville, Florida to becoming a rock & roll hall of fame.

His voice and looks may not have been immediately embraced by everyone when he first started, but his story of perseverance is inspiring as is his creative songwriting and storytelling.   

By Warren Zanes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller

*One of Rolling Stone's 10 Best Music Books of 2015*

An exhilarating and intimate account of the life of music legend Tom Petty, by an accomplished writer and musician who toured with Petty.

No one other than Warren Zanes, rocker and writer and friend, could author a book about Tom Petty that is as honest and evocative of Petty's music and the remarkable rock and roll history he and his band helped to write.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, with more than a little hillbilly in his blood, Tom Petty was a Southern shit kicker, a…


Book cover of No One Here Gets Out Alive

Jeff Apter Author Of Bad Boy Boogie: The true story of AC / DC legend Bon Scott

From my list on rock and roll.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian author, staring down the barrel of middle age. I’ve been writing about music for the past 30 years. I’ve written 25 books; my subjects have included Keith Urban, the Bee Gees, Angus and Malcolm Young, Daniel Johns of Silverchair, among others. During my career, I’ve also had interesting encounters with such legends as Aretha Franklin, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Helen Reddy. I live (currently in lockdown, yet again) with my very tolerant wife, my two children, and a house full of animals. (Real animals, that is, not the kids.)

Jeff's book list on rock and roll

Jeff Apter Why did Jeff love this book?

This was the book that inspired me to start writing. It’s a page-turning bio of the short life and very fast times of Jim Morrison from The Doors, and it made me realise you could write about music without resembling some giddy fanboy — Morrison comes off as a rock and roll poet and a drunken bozo. It rates with the best biographies I’ve read, regardless of topic or genre.

By Jerry Hopkins, Danny Sugerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No One Here Gets Out Alive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A portrait of Jim Morrison is based on seven years of research and tells the story behind his musical genius, worship of darkness, rejection of all forms of authority, and tragic death when his life spun out of control. Reissue.


Book cover of Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic: Rock'n'roll as Literature and Literature as Rock 'n'roll

Daniel de Visé Author Of King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King

From my list on music books to build a record collection.

Why am I passionate about this?

Music has obsessed me since I got my first record player, around age five, and learned how to play the stack of used Beatles records that seeded my collection. I could probably pick a favorite music book from every decade of my life, and this list isn’t far off.

Daniel's book list on music books to build a record collection

Daniel de Visé Why did Daniel love this book?

Lester Bangs ranks as one of the great music writers and as a high priest of gonzo, the new-journalism approach that posited the writer as the dominant character in rambling, straight-from-the-typewriter pop-cultural manifestos published in Rolling Stone and Creem and their ilk. I think Lester rivals Hunter Thompson and Joan Didion as the most potent and enduring voice of that era. He’s one of my favorite writers. I don’t think he wrote anything but record reviews.

By Lester Bangs,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Until his death aged thirty-three in 1982, Lester Bangs wrote wired, rock 'n' roll pieces on Iggy Pop, The Clash, John Lennon, Kraftwerk, Lou Reed. As a rock critic, he had an eagle-eye for distinguishing the pre-packaged imitation from the real thing; written in a conversational, wisecracking, erotically charged style, his hallucinatory hagiographies and excoriating take-downs reveal an iconoclast unafraid to tell it like it is. To his journalism he brought the talent of a great a renegade Beat poet, and his essays, reviews and scattered notes convey the electric thrill of a music junky indulging the habit of a…


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


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in rock music, rock and roll, and The Who?

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

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