I remember hanging out with my best friend and a couple of girls in a 1973 Dodge Challenger muscle car his older brother drove, listening to a song that came out the same year the car was made and was already a classic in 1980—“Ramblin’ Man” by the Allman Brothers. It was a hot, moist Florida night, and we were parked outside a roller skating rink, not opening the car doors until the song had ended.
At age 13 I had no real idea what Gregg Allman had written about, but I sure knew that it was a story he felt compelled to tell. And Allman, who formed the band while in high school growing up north of us in Jacksonville, Fla., tells of his brother’s death, his own drug addiction, and his life in one of the great Southern rock bands in My Cross to Bear. The same year of that great Allman Brothers song, Philadelphia singer-songwriter Jim Croce died in a plane crash, just after the release of his #1 hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” In I Got a Name, Ingrid Croce, the singer’s widow, shares stories about his life.
Two years earlier, in 1971, Brooklyn-raised Carole King released her first solo album, Tapestry, which quickly topped the charts—and she discusses her rise from Brill Building songwriter to performer in A Natural Woman. Her publisher, Grand Central, is backing the book with a 350,000 print run.
Right around that same time—though a whole world away in Kentucky—Loretta Lynn was enjoying her celebrity with country- and pop-chart hit, “Coalminer’s Daughter,” and she shares the stories behind her songs in Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics, also with a hefty printing from her publisher. The same year Lynn was singing about her upbringing in Butcher Holler, 1970, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, hailing from South Carolina, was telling everyone to “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine.” And in The One, R.J. Smith tells about Brown’s life not only as a singer but as a civil rights activist. Finally—just as you thought there couldn’t possibly be anymore coincidences within this spring book list—the year of “Coalminer’s Daughter” and “Get Up,” guitarist great Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose in London. In Jimi Hendrix: A Brother’s Story, Leon Hendrix tells the story of the man his family knew as “Buster.”
In another instance of a singer remembered by a family member, Mitch Winehouse will give readers a personal look into the life of his daughter, the soulful singer Amy Winehouse, who died last year, in Amy: My Daughter. In Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger, biographer Christopher Anderson revisits Jagger Unauthorized, his 1993 look into the Rolling Stones frontman.
In one music history standout, Daniel Bukszpan, following up his Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal, takes a solid look at the New Wave music scene of the late 1970s and early ’80s in The Encyclopedia of New Wave.
Back in the parking lot of the roller rink in 1980 Florida, we left the Challenger when the Allman Brothers song ended and walked into the rink where we skated to that year’s huge hit by Queen, “Another One Bites the Dust.” That band’s lead singer Freddie Mercury is the subject of London-based music journalist Lesley-Anne Jones’ Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Biography, which will apparently be the subject of a forthcoming film starring Sacha Baron Cohen.
PW’s Top 10: Music
My Cross to Bear
Gregg Allman. Morrow, May.
I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story
Ingrid Croce with Jimmy Rock. Da Capo, May.
A Natural Woman
Carole King. Grand Central, Apr.
Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics
Loretta Lynn. Knopf, Apr. 3.
The One: The Life and Music of James Brown
R.J. Smith. Gotham, Mar.
Jimi Hendrix: A Brother’s Story
Leon Hendrix with Adam Mitchell. St. Martin’s/Dunne, Apr.19
Amy, My Daughter
Mitch Winehouse. HarperCollins/It Books, June 6
Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger
Christopher Anderson. S&S/Gallery, July
The Encyclopedia of New Wave
Daniel Bukszpan. Sterling, May 1.
Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Biography
Lesley-Ann Jones. S&S/Touchstone, July 3.
Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone by Johnny Ramone (Feb., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0316105217) is the candid and brutaly honest, fully illustrated autobiography by the founding member of the Ramones.
Chicago Review Press
(dist. by IPG)
The Boy in the Song: The True Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics by Michael Heatley and Frank Hopkinson (July, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1613743317) focuses on the boyfriends, husbands, exes, heroes, celebrities, fathers, sons, complete strangers, and even band mates of songwriters who inspired 50 of rock’s greatest songs.
(dist. by PGW)
Every Night’s a Saturday Night: The Rock ’n’ Roll Life of Legendary Sax Man Bobby Keys by Bobby Keys and Bill Ditenhafer (Feb., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1582437835). The legendary saxophonist for the Rolling Stones and countless others tells his story, painting a unique picture of the coming-of-age of rock ’n’ roll itself while celebrating how his raw talent and outsized personality have elevated him from sideman to rock icon.
I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story by Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock (May, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0306821219) is a personal memoir of the bestselling, legendary singer and guitarist Jim Croce, told by those who knew him best.
When I Left Home: My Story by Buddy Guy, with David Ritz (May, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0306819575) is the autobiography of blues legend Buddy Guy, coauthored by bestselling collaborator David Ritz.
Duke Univ. Press
Pop When the World Falls Apart: Music in the Shadow of Doubt, edited by Eric Weisbard (Mar. 26, paper, $25.95, ISBN 978-0822351085). Organized around the idea of crisis and adversity, the contributors to this collection of essays (including Jonathan Lethem, Nate Chinen, Carl Wilson, among others) showcase the range of ways that pop music studies has responded to the social, political, and cultural shifts that are reshaping the world today.
Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys: The Songs That Tell Their Story by Mark Dillon (June, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1770410718) celebrates the band’s golden anniversary with 50 perspectives on the group, including views from band members, collaborators, fellow musicians, and notable fans.
Globe Pequot Press
Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll by Joe Oestreich (June 1, $16.95, ISBN 978-0762779246) recounts the two-week tour that forced Joe Oestreich—singer, songwriter, and bassist for the 1990s band Watershed—to decide if he and his longtime band mates still had a future together. He explores what happens when you chase a dream into middle age and, in doing so, risk losing the people you love.
Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock by Jesse Jarnow (June 5, paper, $18, ISBN 978-1592407156) is the first biography of Yo La Tengo, one of the bestselling indie rock bands in the country, set against the history of indie rock.
The One: The Life and Music of James Brown by R.J. Smith (Mar., hardcover, $27.50, ISBN 978-1592406579) is the definitive biography, according to the publisher, of the Godfather of Soul.
A Natural Woman by Carole King (Apr., hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1455512614). The iconic singer-songwriter chronicles her story from her beginnings in Brooklyn through her remarkable success as one of the world’s most acclaimed musical talents to the present day as a leading performer and activist.
Hitmaker: The Man and His Music by Tommy Mottola (Mar., hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0446585187). Mottola, one of the most powerful and successful executives in the history of the music industry writes about the singers he discovered, developed, and launched, including Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, and Gloria Estefan.
Venetian Curiosities by Donna Leon (Mar., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0802120311). A selection of charming and surprising tales of Venetian history accompanied by a CD of music by Antonio Vivaldi, from the author of the mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti.
Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson by Randall Sullivan (May 7, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0802119629). From longtime Rolling Stone contributing editor and writer Sullivan comes this biography of his childhood idol , in which he follows the final four-year odyssey of Jackson’s tumultuous adult life.
The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s by Peter Doggett (July 11, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062024657) is a song-by-song chronicle detailing the evolution of David Bowie—the man and his music—during the 1970s, his most innovative and productive period.
Power Chord: One Man’s Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes by Thomas Scott McKenzie (June, paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0061964961). Determined to track down the legendary guitar heroes of the golden age of heavy metal, men like Ronnie James Dio, Slash, and Ace Frehley of Kiss, McKenzie set off on a pilgrimage to come to terms with the instrument that captivates.
Streets of Fire: Bruce Springsteen in Photographs and Lyrics 1977–1979 by Eric Meola (Apr., hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0062133458) is an intimate photographic look at Bruce Springsteen in a period that marked a transition in his personal life and career while he created his fourth album, Darkness on the Edge of Town.
Amy, My Daughter by Mitch Winehouse (June, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0062191380) is the inside story, from her father, of the singer who died tragically last year, with exclusive, never-before-seen photos.
Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music by Ricky Skaggs (May 22, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0061917332) is a memoir from the musical prodigy and legend who revived modern bluegrass music.
Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of Kiss (1972–1975) by Ken Sharp, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley (May, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0062131720) is a personal look at the formation of one of the most beloved and iconic rock bands of all time—told by the people who were there.
It Ain’t Me: In Search of the Real Bob Dylan by David Dalton (Apr., hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1401323394). This kaleidoscopic biography, full of the voices of Dylan’s family, friends, and fellow travelers through the ’60s, offers an entirely fresh narrative perspective.
(dist. by Perseus)
Elvis by Alfred Wertheimer (Apr., paper, $19.99, ISBN 978-1608871025). In 1956, a 21-year-old singer named Elvis Presley was at the beginning of his remarkable career. Alfred Wertheimer, a young New York photojournalist, was asked by Elvis’s new label, RCA Victor, to photograph its new artist.
Bob Marley by David Burnett (Feb. 20, paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1608870660). On assignment in Jamaica for Time magazine in 1976, David Burnett photographed Bob Marley at his Tuff Gong home in Kingston and then at the start of the seminal Exodus tour.
Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics by Loretta Lynn (Apr., hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0307594891). From her hardscrabble childhood in Kentucky, through her marriage at 13, to her dramatic rise to the top of the charts, here is the country star’s story of her more than 50-year career, with a rare look at the singer’s handwritten lyrics and personal photographs.
Hal Leonard Books
Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear: How He Found the Songwriters Who Changed the Face of Rock ’n’ Roll by Rich Podolsky (Mar., $24.99, ISBN 978-1458416704) is the story of the music promoter and creator Don Kirshner, his eponymous rock concert series, and how he developed the Monkees and created the Archies.
Ukulele Heroes: The Golden Years by Ian Whitcomb (June, $19.99, ISBN 978-1458416544) explores the current craze for the ukulele and how the four-string cousin of the guitar has come into the hands of veteran musicians and young hipsters alike.
Little, Brown/Back Bay
On Celestial Music: And Other Adventures in Listening by Rick Moody (Mar. 1, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-0316191883). The celebrated novelist—also a member of the band the Wingdale Community Singers—turns his hand to praising the music he loves.
Mercer Univ. Press
A Never-Ending Groove: Johnny Sandlin’s Musical Odyssey by Anathalee G. Sandlin (Mar., hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0881462760). Sandlin, considered one of the men most responsible for the Southern Rock sound that came out of Macon, Ga., in the ’70s, was a studio rhythm section player and produced albums for the Allman Brothers Band and others.
Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berzerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination by Zakk Wylde and Eric Hendrikx (Mar., hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0062002747). In this handbook to all things Heavy Metal, the insane prankster and guitar god Zakk Wylde, of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society fame, shares stories of glory, debauchery, and general mayhem.
A Few Small Repairs: A Memoir by Shawn Colvin (May, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0061759598). American songwriter and musician Colvin shares her candid, colorful stories recounting more than 30 years touring, writing, and living to make music, with plenty of behind-the-music scenes.
My Cross to Bear by Gregg Allman (Feb. 22, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0062112033). For the first time, rock icon Gregg Allman, one of the founding members of the Allman Brothers Band, tells the story of his career, opening up about his long struggle with substance abuse, the tragic death of his brother, and life in one of rock music’s most legendary bands.
Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ’n’ Roll by Marc Dolan (June, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0393081350) is a vibrant biography of one of the greatest rock ’n’ rollers, the America that made him, and the America he made.
Mozart at the Gateway to His Fortune: Serving the Emperor, 1788–1791 by Christoph Wolff (May, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0393050707) is a fresh look at the life of Mozart during his imperial years, by a leading Mozart scholar.
Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists by Kay Larson (July 5, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1594203404) is the first biography of composer John Cage to show how his work, and that of countless American artists, was transformed by Zen Buddhism.
This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song by Robert Santelli (Feb. 7, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0762443284) is the story of Woody’s legendary journey from Oklahoma across the heartland to New York City, with the fully detailed controversial story behind America’s greatest folk song, “This Land Is Your Land.”
(dist. by IPG)
Olivia: The Biography of Olivia Newton-John by Tim Ewbank (Apr., paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0749909840) is the first full-length biography of the enduringly popular star of Grease and delves into the highs and lows of Newton-John’s career and personal life.
Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped by Dean Budnick and Josh Baron (Apr. 24, paper, $17, ISBN 978-0452298088). Music journalists Budnick and Baron chronicle the behind-the-scenes history of the modern concert industry, sharing anecdotes about the Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, and Pearl Jam, and charting the emergence of Ticketmaster and StubHub.
(dist. by IPG)
Punk Rock: An Oral History by John Robb (July, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1604860054). From the Clash, Crass, Henry Rollins, and John Lydon to the Sex Pistols, the Stranglers, and the Buzzcocks, this reference features more than 150 interviews that encapsulate this thrilling wave of rock ’n’ roll pop culture.
128 Beats Per Minute: Diplo’s Visual Guide to Music, Culture, and Everything in Between by Thomas Wesley Pentz (Apr., paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-0789324283). Known internationally as a curator and influencer among the world’s top DJs, producers, and artists, Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo, is at the nexus of music, fashion, and cultural trends.
Shut Up and Give Me the Mike by Dee Snider (May, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1451637397) is the official memoir of the outspoken and wildly popular heavy metal singer of Twisted Sister.
Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger by Christopher Andersen (July, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1451661446). The bestselling biographer provides the complete life story of the legendary Rolling Stones front man.
Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the Original Dreamgirl by Sheryl Lee Ralph (Mar. 13, paper, $14, ISBN 978-1451608427). Lee, star of Broadway’s original Dreamgirls, shares her secrets about love, life, and performing on Broadway.
(dist. by Norton)
Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul by Mark Bego (Apr., paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1616085810) is a comprehensive biography of the life, successes, and mysteries of the “Queen of Soul.”
Barbra: A Retrospective by Allegra Rossi (Feb. 7, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1402788239) is a lavish tribute to one of the world’s most beloved and enduring star: the incomparable actress, director, and diva.
The Encyclopedia of New Wave by Daniel Bukszpan (May 1, paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-1402784729). This new addition to Sterling’s Encyclopedia series celebrates the hugely influential New Wave musical movement of the late 1970s and ’80s. Originating as a less aggressive sister movement to punk, New Wave encompassed a wide range of recording artists.
St. Martin’s Press
Seeing the Light: Inside the Velvet Underground by Rob Jovanovic (Mar., hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1250000149). “In this moving tribute and first-rate history,” PW stated, “rock journalist Jovanovic gives us an absorbing chronicle of the Velvet Underground’s rise to fame, its bitter arguments, and its unparalleled musical genius.”
Alice’s Piano: The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer by Melissa Mueller (Feb. 23, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1250007414) is the story of how music provided hope in one of the world’s darkest times—the inspirational life story of Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest living Holocaust survivor.
The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret by Kent Hartman (Jan., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0312619749). “Industry insider Hartman opens our eyes to this fascinating group of musicians, tracing the careers of three members of this group—Glen Campbell, Carol Smith, Hal Blaine—who shared little more than an innate inner drive, musical talent, and a work ethic shaped by grinding poverty,” said PW.
Jimi Hendrix: A Brother’s Story by Leon Hendrix with Adam Mitchell (Apr. 19, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0312668815). In this revealing and vividly candid memoir, Jimi’s younger brother, Leon, sets the record straight on the life of this musical icon.
Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Biography by Lesley-Ann Jones (July, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1451663952). Revealing and intimate, based on more than 100 interviews with key figures in his life, this biography, according to the publisher, is the definitive life of Queen front man Freddie Mercury, one of pop music’s best-loved and most complex figures.
Univ. of California Press
Moral Fire: Musical Portraits from America’s Fin de Siècle by Joseph Horowitz (Mar. 12, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0520267442). Portraits of four astonishing personalities—Henry Higginson, Laura Langford, Henry Krehbiel, and Charles Ives—who all helped to shape classical music in the U.S. at the end of the 19th century.
Weill’s Musical Theater: Stages of Reform by Stephen Hinton (Apr., hardcover, $49.95, ISBN 978-0520271777). In this musicological study of Kurt Weill’s complete stage works, Hinton charts the full range of theatrical achievements by one of 20th-century musical theater’s key figures.
Univ. of Illinois Press
Henry Mancini: Reinventing Film Music by John Caps (Feb., hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0252036736). In the first comprehensive study of Mancini’s music, Caps describes how the composer served as a bridge between the big band period of WWII and the impatient eclecticism of the baby boomer generation.
Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America by Marion Jacobson (Mar., hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0252036750). “Beginning with the accordion’s invention in Austria in 1828, Jacobson, an accordionist in her own right, traces the instrument’s impact on early 20th-century America during its vaudeville era and its recent revival over the past two decades,” said PW.
Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast by Neil Daniels (Apr., hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0760342213) is an illustrated treatment of one of the most successful heavy metal bands. Respected rock journalists tell the band’s history and more, and provide a full discography.
Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk’, the Most Outrageous Record Label in America by Jason Weiss (Apr., paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-0819571595) tells the fascinating story of the subversive record label (1964–1974), producing albums for the likes of Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Giuseppi Logan, and Patty Waters, and later for the Fugs, Pearls Before Swine, Timothy Leary, William Burroughs, and Charles Manson.
(dist. by Sterling)
Heavy Metal: From Hard Rock to Extreme Metal by Kory Grow (Apr., hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-8854406353) takes readers on an in-depth musical journey, offering exclusive pictures and commentary from experts, and analyzing such groundbreaking bands as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Mötley Crüe.