“Never be ashamed to write a melody that people remember,” Burt Bacharach, composer and music producer, once said.
Bacharach, the height of whose career spanned from the ’50s through the ’80s, wrote songs that many still hum, and in his book Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life in Music, he promises to share anecdotes of his life, writing songs for Carole Bayer Sager, Neil Diamond, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Elvis Costello, as well as such film songs as “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He’ll also talk about his many marriages, and the suicide of his daughter Nikki (who he had with actress Angie Dickinson). Along the lines of the pop standard, Paul Anka discusses his own melodies in My Way: An Autobiography, the title referring to the song lyric he wrote for Frank Sinatra. St. Martin’s is hoping to tap into his book-buying fan base—listeners who can sing along to “Diana” and “Put Your Head on My Shoulders.”
For the past four seasons we’ve seen at least one major musician/singer writing his or her memoir, and this season the big one is from country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, Hillbilly Heart. The “Achy Breaky Heart” singer talks about his family and faith, according to the publisher—and, of course, his daughter Miley.
And turning from today’s Nashville to that of the 1960s and ’70s, there’s Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville. Here, Michael Streissguth combines the narratives of the lives of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson, who started what he sees as the outlaw movement in Nashville during a tumultuous time in the history of the U.S. and, specifically, the South. Around the same time, Richard Meyers was a 17-year-old runaway from Kentucky, who fled to New York City, changed his name to Richard Hell, and founded a punk band called the Voidoids—he tells that story in I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography. And on the theme of runaway rockers, Evelyn McDonnell tells the stories of Lita Ford, Sandy West, Jackie Fox, Joan Jett, and Cherie Currie in Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways. Staying in the decade of the 1970s is What You Want Is in the Limo: On the Road with Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, and the Who in 1973, the Year the Sixties Died and the Modern Rock Star Was Born by Michael Walker, who takes readers along during the summer of 1973.
Two books focus on early 20th-century music. In Lina and Serge: The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev, Simon Morrison explores the lives of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev and his wife, Lina, who spoke out against the U.S.S.R.’s political regime and was imprisoned from 1948 to 1956. Meanwhile, in the nightclubs and theaters of the Warsaw Ghetto of the 1930s, Vera Gran was a singing sensation compared to Marlene Dietrich, though in 1945 she was accused of having collaborated with the Nazis—and in Vera Gran: The Accused, Agata Tuszynska, biographer of Isaac Bashevis Singer, narrates Vera’s life. Finally, culture critic Touré taps into the genius of Prince in I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon.
PW’s Top 10: Music
Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music. Burt Bacharach. Harper, May 7
My Way: An Autobiography. Paul Anka and David Dalton. St. Martin’s, Apr. 9
Hillbilly Heart. Billy Ray Cyrus. New Harvest, Apr. 16
Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville. Michael Streissguth. It! Books, May 15
I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography. Richard Hell. Ecco, Mar. 12
Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways. Eveyln McDonnell. Da Capo, May 28
What You Want Is in the Limo. Michael Walker. Random House/Spiegel & Grau, July
Lina and Serge: The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev. Simon Morrison. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mar.
Vera Gran: The Accused. Agata Tuszynska. Knopf, Feb. 26
I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon. Touré. Atria, Mar. 19
Imperfect Harmony: Singing through Life’s Sharps and Flats by Stacy Horn (July 2, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1616200411). In this story of one woman who found happiness in the ritual of singing in an amateur choir, Horn offers an eclectic history of group singing, the lives of conductors and composers, the science of singing, and all the benefits that come from being immersed with others in song.
Punk Press: Rebel Rock in the Underground Press, 1968–1980 by Vincent Berniere and Mariel Primois (Mar. 5, trade paper, $40, ISBN 978-1419706295) offers a visual tour through the history of punk, one of music’s most influential movements, as seen in the work of the media that helped propel it.
Hard Art, DC 1979 by Lucian Perkins (June 11, hardcover, $23.95, ISBN 978-1617751677). Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer Lucian Perkins captures four electrifying punk shows in Washington, D.C., in 1979; includes essays by Henry Rollins and Alec MacKaye.
I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon by Touré (Mar. 19, hardcover, $19.99, ISBN 978-1476705491). Celebrated journalist, TV personality, and award-winning author Touré investigates one of the most enigmatic and fascinating figures in contemporary American culture.
Back Bay Books
Signifying Rappers by Mark Costello and David Foster Wallace (July 23, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-0316225830). Back in print—David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello’s exuberant exploration of rap music and culture, first published more than 20 years ago.
Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison by John Kruth (May 1, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1476886794) argues that Orbison’s songs had a psychological edge that exposed the desperation, vulnerability, and fears below the surface of our everyday relationships.
Beach Boys in Concert: The Ultimate History of America’s Band on Tour and Onstage by Jon Stebbins and Ian Rusten (June 1, hardcover, $39.99, ISBN 978-1617134562). The definitive book on the incredible 50-year touring history of a great American band.
Polka King: The Life and Times of Polka Music’s Living Legend by Jimmy Sturr, foreword by Willie Nelson (Apr. 16, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1937856342). Follow 18-time Grammy winner and omnipresent touring artist Jimmy Sturr in his rise to fame.
(dist. by IPG)
Noel Gallagher: The Biography by Lucian Randall (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1857829563). Noel Gallagher was responsible for writing some of the big anthems of the Brit pop period. Mapping Noel’s story from the beginning, this biography follows his dysfunctional upbringing in Manchester to the man fans love.
How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin: The Untold Story of a Noisy Revolution by Leslie Woodhead (Apr., hardcover, $26 ISBN 978-1-60819-614-2) tells the wild and unmistakably Russian story of Soviet kids who discovered that all you need is the Beatles.
Chicago Review Press
98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music by Maceo Parker (Feb. 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1613743461). The story of an influential jazz legend, this autobiography tells the story of Maceo Parker’s journey from a Southern upbringing to a career touring the world
Da Capo Press
Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways by Evelyn McDonnell (May 28, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0306820397). The first narrative biography of the Runaways, told with the participation of many of the band’s surviving members.
Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen by Al Jourgensen (July 9, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0306822186). The high-octane, no-holds-barred memoir by the legendary godfather of industrial music: Al Jourgensen, the founder of Ministry.
Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements, the Last Rock ’n’ Roll Band by Bob Mehr (July 9, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-0306818790). The definitive biography of the Replacements, told with the cooperation of the band and those closest to them.
Duke Univ. Press
Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music by Diane Pecknold (June 10, trade paper, $27.95, ISBN 978-0822351634) explores how country music became “white,” how the image of country as white has been maintained, and how African-American artists and fans have used country music to elaborate their own identities.
I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography by Richard Hell (Mar. 12, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0062190833). Richard Hell, the iconoclastic writer and musician-progenitor of American and British punk rock, charts the coming-of-age, as a penniless 17-year-old runaway from Kentucky, of an artist and an indelible era in rock and roll history
The Riot Grrrl Collection, edited by Lisa Darms, preface by Kathleen Hanna, intro. by Johanna Fateman (May 14, trade paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1558618220). The original manifestos, calls to arms, and rallying cries of the Riot Grrrl revolution, collected for the first time.
Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll: My Life in Rock by Stephen Pearcy and Sam Benjamin (May 7, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1451694567). A tell-all from the lead singer of the 1980s supergroup Ratt: the groupies, the trashed hotel rooms, and more.
Nice to Meet You by Jessie J (June 4, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1476735191). An illustrated scrapbook from the pop star behind Billboard hits like “Domino” and “Price Tag.”
Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music by Burt Bacharach (May 7, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0062206060). One of the greatest songwriters of all time offers an account of his unparalleled life, from his tumultuous marriages and the tragic loss of his daughter to his collaborations with Hal David, Carole Bayer Sager, Neil Diamond, Elvis Costello, and others.
Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music by Angelique Kidjo (June 25, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0062071798). Angelique Kidjo tells her story of escape from Communist Benin to become a Grammy Award–winning, Billboard-topping musician, and of her activist work that has changed the lives of millions all over the world.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Lina and Serge: The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev by Simon Morrison (Mar. 19, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0547391311). The dramatic, untold story of Lina and Serge Prokofiev, a doomed love story and a shattering portrait of an artist.
Peter, Paul, and Mary: Fifty Years in Music and Life by Peter, Paul, and Mary (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1936140329). A compilation of photographs details the story of the folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary, their music, and their commitment to social activism.
Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman (May 14, hardcover, $32.50, ISBN 978-0061958281). The definitive oral history of heavy metal includes hundreds of interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Korn, Pantera, Van Halen, Limp Bizkit, and many others at the leading edge of this movement.
Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville by Michael Streissguth (June 4, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 9780062038180). The definitive look at the outlaw country-music movement follows the stories of three legends—Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson—as they redefined country music in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Vera Gran: The Accused by Agata Tuszynska (Feb. 26, hardcover, $TK, ISBN TK). Vera Gran , a beautiful prewar Polish singing star, was a legendary, sensual contralto, Dietrich-like in tone, a favorite of the 1930s Warsaw nightclubs and celebrated before, and during, her year in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Hillbilly Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus (Apr. 16, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0547992655). From country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus comes a revealing book about faith, family, and the power of music. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Northeastern Univ. Press
Crossroads: How the Blues Shaped Rock ’n’ Roll (and Rock Saved the Blues) by John Milward (June 1, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1555537449). The blues revival rescued the creators of America’s most influential music from dusty obscurity, put them onstage in front of a vast new audience, and created rock and roll.
The Birth of an Opera: Fifteen Masterpieces from Poppea to Wozzeck by Michael Rose (Mar., hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-393-06043-0). Rose offers illuminating insight into how operas are written and the personalities, incidents, and musical circumstances that have shaped their composition.
Iron Maiden: On Board Flight 666 by John McMurtrie, foreword by Bruce Dickinson (June 1, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-1409141365). Breaking the mold of traditional touring by playing concerts in every continent except Antarctica, Iron Maiden boarded their customized Boeing 757, Ed Force One, and played for the world on their Somewhere Back in Time Tour of 2008–2009 and the Final Frontier Tour of 2010–2011
Roger Daltrey: The Biography by Stafford Hildred and Tim Ewbank (May 1, trade paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-0749958787) takes a frank look at one of rock’s most fascinating and enigmatic personalities, the Who’s legendary lead singer.
Random House/Spiegel & Grau
What You Want Is in the Limo by Michael Walker (July 2, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0812992885). An epic joyride through three history-making tours in the summer of 1973 that redefined rock and roll superstardom, recalibrated the economics of concert juggernauts, killed off the hippie-pastoral collectivism of the ’60s, and ushered in the modern era of rock excess.
The Mammoth Book of the Rolling Stones by Sean Egan (July 2, trade paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-0762448142). As the legendary band celebrates its 50th anniversary, this comprehensive anthology acts as a commemoration to the Rolling Stones’ legacy as one of the most transformative rock and’ roll bands of all time.
Santa Monica Press
Turn Up the Radio!: Rock, Pop, and Roll in Los Angeles 1956–1972 by Harvey Kubernik (Feb. 1, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-1595800732). Combining oral and illustrated history with a connective narrative and featuring hundreds of photographs and images of rare memorabilia, this compilation captures the zeitgeist of the Los Angeles rock and pop music world between the years of 1956 and 1972.
You Don’t Know Me but You Don’t Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, and My Misadventures with Two of Music’s Most Maligned Tribes by Nathan Rabin (June 11, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1451626889). Pop culture writer Nathan Rabin explores two of music’s most obsessed fan bases: Phish’s neo-hippie following and hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse’s “Juggalos.”
The Times of My Life by Paul Anka and David Dalton (Apr. 9, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-312-38104-2). The smooth, charismatic singer and songwriter in his own words—the long-awaited autobiography that reveals a life that has been much more dramatic than his crooning reveals. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
St. Martin’s Griffin
The Stone Roses: War and Peace by Simon Spence (Apr. 2, trade paper, $19.99, ISBN 978-1250030825), based on exclusive and original material, captures the magic—and chaos—behind the U.K. band’s rise, fall, and recent resurrection.
(dist. by IPG)
Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock ’n’ Roll by Lou Gramm and Scott Pitoniak (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1600787591). The man Rolling Stone referred to as “the Pavarotti of rock,” Lou Gramm recounts his more than five decades of rock and roll, including his time with Foreigner, in this tell-all autobiography.
Univ. Of Chicago Press
From the Score to the Stage: An Illustrated History of Continental Opera Production and Staging by Evan Baker (May 20, hardcover, $65, ISBN 978-0226035086). The first comprehensive history of the behind-the-scenes world of opera production and staging, this illustrated book follows the evolution of visual style and set design in continental Europe from its birth in the 17th century up to today.
Univ. of Illinois Press
Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass by Murphy Hicks Henry (May 1, trade paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-0252079177), the first book devoted entirely to women in bluegrass, documents the lives of more than 70 women who have made major contributions to the genre, from Sally Ann Forrester up to Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, and the Dixie Chicks.
The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power) by Harry Browne (May 7, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1781680827) examines Bono’s role in Irish investments before the economic collapse; his paternalistic and often bullying advocacy of neoliberal solutions in Africa; his multinational business interests; and his hobnobbing with Paul Wolfowitz and shock-doctrine economist Jeffrey Sachs.
Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-Punk, from the Middle East to the Lower East Side by Rayya Elias (Apr. 4, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0670785162). Elias, who emigrated from Syria, describes her life at the height of the punk movement, when she was living on the Lower East Side, which for her was full of adventure, creative inspiration, and temptation.
Hallelujah!: The Extraordinary Story of Shaun Ryder and Happy Mondays by John Warburton with Shaun Ryder (May 1, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-0753507810). Here is how a hapless group of ruffians, the Happy Mondays, got their act together and played a sellout world tour.
Rush: The Illustrated History by Martin Popoff (May 15, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0760343647). For the first time, legendary rock band Rush—Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, and Alex Lifeson—is treated to a richly illustrated history covering the band’s entire career, with rare photography and memorabilia.
2pac vs. Biggie: The Illustrated History of Rap’s Greatest Battle by Jeff Weiss and Evan McGarvey (May 15, trade paper, $24.99, ISBN 978-0760343678). The authors look at rap’s greatest rivalry from new angles
Yale Univ. Press
Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers Banned by the Nazis by Michael Haas (June 18, hardcover, $38, ISBN 978-0300154306). A study of the Jewish composers and musicians banned by the Third Reich—and the consequences for music worldwide.