14 must-read books for music lovers
Music Books collage

Here are 14 of the best new rock, pop and hip-hop reads to keep you busy.

Chapter and Verse: New Order, Joy Division and Me

By Bernard Sumner

Bernard Sumner book

Bernard Sumner was a founding member and guitarist of Joy Division, and the lead singer of New Order. Throughout his career, he’s been renowned for his reluctance to comment on events, but his first outing with a pen sees him recounting his version of the situations that were an integral part of the Manchester music scene since the late 1970s, and the music world at large. Out now

Freak Out the Squares: Life in a band called Pulp

By Russell Senior

Pulp book

Russell Senior was the guitarist and violinist for Britpop behemoths Pulp, and this book has been written by the man himself to tell the story of the inner workings of the esoteric Sheffield band. It recounts the band’s origins in Sheffield and their glory days at the height of Britpop, and charts Pulp’s 2011 reunion tour, which culminated in a triumphant Glastonbury. Released October 1

The Periodic Table of HIP HOP

By Neil Kulkarni

Periodic table of hip-hop

“Instead of hydrogen to helium, here you’ll find James Brown to Kanye West” begins the blurb of this intriguing book on hip-hop, covering 94 artists who each had their unmistakable influence on the genre. MCs and producers get as much coverage as bonafide rappers, and each is ordered according to the periodic table’s logic to reveal their contrasts and connections. Released October 1

Vinyl: The Art of Making Records

By Mike Evans

Vinyl the art of making records

This book is a celebration of all things vinyl. In an interesting turn, it takes a look at the actual development of the discs themselves; from the labels that championed the technology to influential releases by the Sex Pistols and Pearl Jam. It also takes a look at the various ingenious ways in which bands have played with the format; messages scratched in run-out grooves, limited editions, picture discs and deluxe reissues. Released October 1

Dream Baby Dream: Suicide: A New York City Story

By Kris Needs

Suicide book cover

Alan Vega and Martin Rev formed Suicide in 1970s New York, and went on to become one of the most influential underground bands ever, fusing punk, electronic music techniques and all out noise. A product of New York’s bustling artistic underground, Suicide terrorised New York’s clubs for several years with their enthralling live shows that bordered on performance art. This book tells the band’s surprising story. Released October 12

Magical Musical Tour: Rock and Pop in Film Soundtracks

By Kevin J. Donnelly

Magical Musical Tour book

Magical Musical Tour analysis the close relationship between popular music and the film industry, which it argues are interlinked completely. We all remember our favourite pop soundtracked moments in film (The Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’ at the end of Fight Club is a personal favourite), and Kevin Donnelly’s book aims to take a look at some of the more notable instances. “Ben relaxing in the pool to Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence’ in The Graduate (1967), and the potter’s wheel sequence with the Righteous Brothers’ ‘Unchained Melody’ in Ghost (1990)” are just two examples the blurb gives. Released October 22

The Art of the LP: Classic Album Covers 1955-1995

By Johnny Morgan Ben Wardle

The art of the lp book

Sure, there’s been myriad books on showcasing the artwork that has adorned some of the greatest LPs in musical history, but this ones takes a slightly different approach by organisings its subjects through visual themes, and not just in a chronological order. From the classics found in households throughout the country to lesser-known gems, the authors assure us that the art on display here “shook, rattled, and rolled us through music’s early formative years”. Released October 28

The Art of Music

By Patrick Coleman, Simon Shaw-miller, Richard Leppert, Sandra Benito, and Michael Brown

The Art of Music

The Art of Music aims to examine the relationship between music and more classically minded artists across cultures and eras. Taking a more academic approach than the casual fan may be comfortable with, but nonetheless coming highly illustrated, we’re told the book “sheds new light on more familiar artists at the intersection of the visual and the musical, such as Kandinsky and Arnold Schoenberg, and presents new scholarship on less well-known examples”. Released October 29

The Milestones of Rock & Roll

By Ernesto Assante

Rock and Roll Milestones

Music isn’t just about songs being released and albums beings consumed. It’s also about the moments surrounding the whole pantomime-like charade; the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, or Jimi Hendrix setting fire to the stage at the Monterey Pop Festival, for instance. This book examines some of the defining moments in rock music’s history through richly illustrated pages. Released November 10

Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums

By Travis Barker & Gavin Edwards

Travis Barker book

Travis Barker is the main behind the drums for Blink-182, one of the longest running punk bands of recent memories, so he’s sure to have some stories to tell in this auto-biographical memoir. Add into that the 2008 plane crash that nearly killed him and his traumatic road to recovery and you’ll have a bit of a read on your hands. Released November 19

Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four’s Instruments from Stage to Studio – the Ultimate Edition

By Andy Babiuk

Beatles Gear Book

There’s no denying that the Beatles used some pretty revolutionary recording and studio techniques, especially towards the latter half of their career, which went on to shape the sound of music forever, and this book should provide a great (if a little geeky!) insight into some of the production secrets. Released November 23

Real Life Rock: The Complete Top Ten Columns, 1986-2014

By Greil Marcus

Rock Top 10s Book

As you know, we love ourselves a good list here at WOW247, so this book speaks to us immensely. Critic Greil Marcus has written a column called “Real Life Rock Top Ten” for nearly 30 years now, in which he has explored and wittily dissected everything from songs to books to movies to advertisements. This book compiles some of the best, making for a humourous read and providing a surprisingly deft commentary on popular culture. Released November 26

My Kind of Sound: The Secret History of Chicago Music

By Steve Krakow

Chicago Sound book

Chicago is one of American’s richest cities when it comes to musical heritage, with great scenes in just about every genre erupting from there at one point. This book compiles over ten years of columns from the cities weekly Chicago Reader publication, and aims to profiles pivotal Chicago musicians who somehow have not gotten their just dues. Released December 8

To Disco, with Love

By David Hamsley

To Disco, With Love book

Another visually based book for our list, To Disco, With Love brings together the cover art of various disco records to tell the story of a genre that went from soul, latin, and jazz, and embraced the digital revolution of the 1980s to become a world beating force. Released December 13