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An Education: 18 Favorite Music Books New and Old

This Will End in TearsAny obsessive music fan cannot be satiated by music alone. There's an underlying desire to know the people and the stories behind the music. I know I certainly have a thirst for knowledge about producers, studios, subgenres, sub-subgenres, album release dates, tour bus fights, and intraband romances.

To this end, here is a collection of 18 of my favorite behind-the-scenes books about music by both legendary figures and young writers. Some are new and some are old, but they all played a part in helping me write my own book (This Will End in Tears: The Miserabilist Guide to Music) and will continue to be sources of inspiration.

1. Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound by Eric Tamm

2. The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music by Nick Kent

3. I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum

4. The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross

5. Feel Like Going Home: Portraits in Blues and Rock 'n' Roll by Peter Guralnick
The Rest Is Noise
6. Big Star: The Short Life, Painful Death, and Unexpected Resurrection of the Kings of Power Pop by Rob Jovanovic

7. The Ambient Century: From Mahler to Moby — The Evolution of Sound in the Electronic Age by Mark Prendergast

8. Monkee Business: The Revolutionary Made-for-TV Band by Eric Lefcowitz

9. David Bowie's Low by Hugo Wilcken

10. Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978 – 1984 by Simon Reynolds

11. The Recording Angel: Music, Records, and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa, 2nd Edition by Evan Eisenberg
And They All Sang
12. Love Rock Revolution: K Records and the Rise of Independent Music by Mark Baumgarten

13. Everybody Loves Our Town: A History of Grunge by Mark Yarm

14. Extraordinary Records by Giorgio Moroder

15. The Velvet Underground: New York Art by Johan Kugelberg

16. And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey by Studs Terkel

17. Cash by Johnny Cash

18. A Deeper Blue: The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt by Robert Earl Hardy

÷ ÷ ÷

Adam Brent Houghtaling is an editor, writer, musician, and digital consultant living in Brooklyn, New York.


Books mentioned in this post

  1. This Will End in Tears: The... Sale Trade Paper $8.50
  2. The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the...
    Used Trade Paper $11.00
  3. I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story... Used Hardcover $13.95
  4. A Deeper Blue: The Life and Music of... New Trade Paper $14.95
  5. Cash
    Used Trade Paper $5.50
  6. And They All Sang: Adventures of an... Used Trade Paper $5.50

  7. Extraordinary Records New Trade Paper $39.99
  8. Love Rock Revolution: K Records and...
    Sale Trade Paper $8.98
  9. The Recording Angel: Music, Records,... Used Trade Paper $19.00
  10. Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk... New Mass Market $21.00

  11. Monkee Business: The Revolutionary... New Trade Paper $19.66

  12. Big Star: The Short Life, Painful... New Trade Paper $16.95
  13. Feel Like Going Home: Portraits in... Sale Trade Paper $7.98
  14. Brian Eno: His Music and the... Used Trade Paper $8.95


Adam Brent Houghtaling is the author of This Will End in Tears: The Miserabilist Guide to Music

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