Merely mentioning the ’80s conjures images of big hair and Michael J. Fox driving his DeLorean. Several big books about the music icons of the period are slated for fall.

In 1984, the spiked-blonde punker turned pop singer Billy Idol sang his classic hit Dancing with Myself. And while then he had “nothing to lose and nothing to prove,” in his memoir he talks of his youth in London (and briefly in Long Island); his first band, Generation X; and his rise to the top of the charts.

Also singing to her own rhythm is Sheila E. and her memoir The Beat of My Own Drum. Far from a glamorous life, the Grammy-nominated drummer and singer, writing with Wendy Holden, “has produced a standout celebrity memoir,” as PW writes in our starred review.

Meanwhile, from the 1970s all-woman rock band the Runaways came Joan Jett and Lita Ford. In Living Like a Runaway, Ford describes her solo career in the ’80s (with hit songs such as “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Close Your Eyes,” the latter with Ozzy Osbourne) and her tumultuous relationships (including with Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi). Taking a turn to an even heavier side of rock, Anthrax founder and guitarist Scott Ian tells all about the New York City thrash metal band in I’m the Man: The Official Story of Anthrax. Growing up as a “nerdy Jewish boy” in Queens, Ian’s metal journey was set in motion when he saw KISS (a band started by two Jewish kids from Queens) at Madison Square Garden.

Newspaper editor and journalist Marcus Baram tells the story of the great jazz poet of the 1970s and ’80s in Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man, best known for “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Here, Baram, who befriended Scott-Heron, traces the artist’s journey from Tennessee to New York City, discussing his drug addiction and those he influenced, such as Kanye West and Elvis Costello.

Bestselling author Rick Bragg writes on the great 1950s country rock singer in Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story. Bragg spent two years with Lewis and describes his tumultuous marriage to seven wives, the IRS raid in his home, and the impromptu jam session he participated in that came to be known as the Million Dollar Quartet, featuring Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash.

In an overarching narrative, Greil Marcus explores The History of Rock ’n’ Roll in Ten Songs. The titular songs include Etta James’s “All I Could Do Was Cry” and “Transmission” by Joy Division.

Billy Joel’s autobiography was set to be published in 2011 but was pulled at the last minute. The book now resurfaces as a biography called Billy Joel, written by music writer Fred Schruers. (PW listed the book in the Spring 2011 Announcements Issue, and we’re doing it again this fall.)

Turning to the more spiritual of memoirs, jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock enlists writer Lisa Dickey for his memoir Herbie Hancock: Possibilities, in which he recalls his decades-long career, artistic inspiration, and Buddhism.

Guitar god Carlos Santana connects music and the soul in The Universal Tone: My Life, for which Little, Brown has announced a 300,000-copy print run. He writes of immigrating to the U.S. from Mexico and working as a dishwasher, and of his own music inspiration—Miles Davis.

PW’s Top 10: Music

The Beat of My Own Drum: A Memoir. Sheila E. and Wendy Holden. Atria, Sept. 2

Billy Joel. Fred Schruers. Crown Archetype, Oct. 28

Dancing with Myself. Billy Idol. S&S/Touchstone, Oct. 7

Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man. Marcus Baram. St. Martin’s, Nov. 11

Herbie Hancock: Possibilities. Herbie Hancock and Lisa Dickey. Viking, Oct. 28

The History of Rock ’n’ Roll in Ten Songs. Greil Marcus. Yale Univ., Sept. 2

I’m the Man: The Official Story of Anthrax. Scott Ian. Da Capo, Oct. 7

Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story. Rick Bragg and Jerry Lee Lewis. Harper, Nov. 11

Living Like a Runaway: A Memoir. Lita Ford. HarperCollins/It, Sept. 9

Miss Grace Jones. Grace Jones. S&S/Gallery, Oct. 28

The Universal Tone: My Life. Carlos Santana. Little, Brown, Nov. 4

Music Listings


The Half That’s Never Been Told: The Real-Life Reggae Adventures of Doctor Dread by Doctor Dread, preface by Bunny Wailer (Dec. 2, paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-61775-290-2). A passionate memoir and fearless behind-the-scenes look at the personal lives of the biggest reggae stars in the world.


The Beat of My Own Drum: A Memoir by Sheila E. and Wendy Holden (Sept. 2, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4767-1494-3). The Grammy Award–nominated singer, drummer, and percussionist who is renowned for her contributions throughout the music industry has written a moving memoir about the healing power of music.

Brothers Be “Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?”: A Memoir by George Clinton and Ben Greenman (Oct. 21, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4767-5107-8). The memoir from one of the greatest bandleaders, hit makers, and most influential pop artists of our time—known for more than 40 R&B hit singles—George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic.

Is That All There Is?: The Strange Life of Peggy Lee by James Gavin (Nov. 11, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-4516-4168-4). From the author of what Vanity Fair called “definitive” biography of Lena Horne, Stormy Weather, comes a portrait of recording artist and musical legend Peggy Lee.

Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain by Alan Light (Dec. 9, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4767-7672-9). The former senior editor of Rolling Stone—author of The Holy or the Broken, called “thoughtful and illuminating” by the New York Times—writes on the unlikely coming-to-be of Prince’s legendary album.


Elvis and Ginger: Elvis Presley’s Fiancée and Last Love Finally Tells Her Story by Ginger Alden (Sept. 2, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-425-26633-5). Elvis’s last love, Ginger Alden—who found Elvis dead of an overdose at Graceland—breaks her silence on their relationship, providing the intimate memoir fans have been waiting for, and featuring never-before-seen photographs.

On the Road with Janis Joplin by John Byrne Cooke (Nov. 4, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-425-27411-8). Janis Joplin’s road manager provides the first book to tell the story of Joplin’s career from someone in her inner circle. With previously unseen photos, he tells of first seeing the electrifying singer, then joining her on the road, and later finding her dead of an overdose.

Charlesbridge Publishing/Imagine/Peter Yarrow

Peter, Paul and Mary: Fifty Years in Music and Life by Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers (Nov. 4, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-936140-32-9) is a photographic retrospective of the lives and careers of the 1960s folk group.

Chicago Review

Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music by Barry Mazor (Nov. 1, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-61374-021-7) is the first biography of Ralph Peer (1892–1960), the adventurous, even revolutionary, A&R man and music publisher who changed the breadth and flavor of popular music in the U.S. and around the world.

Crown Archetype

Billy Joel by Fred Schruers (Oct. 28, hardcover, $29, ISBN 978-0-8041-4019-5). A biography of the word-class music legend, based on exclusive interviews originally intended for Billy Joel’s autobiography, which the artist pulled months before it was to be published in 2011.

Da Capo

I’m the Man: The Official Story of Anthrax by Scott Ian (Oct. 7, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-306-82334-3). The entertaining autobiography of Ian, a founding member of the influential thrash-metal band Anthrax. 50,000-copy announced first printing.

Pitch Black Apocalypse: The Inside Story of Metallica (1991–2014) by Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood (Oct. 28, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-306-82188-2). The final chapter of in-depth coverage of Metallica details the latter half of the band’s extraordinary career. 40,000-copy announced first printing.


(dist. by Consortium)

The Annotated Mixtape by Joshua Harmon (Nov. 11, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-936873-24-1). A look at how record collecting has shaped, and continues to shape, the author’s life, cross-fading music with personal history and American history and culture.

Elliott & Thompson

(dist. by IPG)

50 Moments That Rocked the Classical Music World by Darren Henley and Sam Jackson (Oct. 1, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-908739-72-8). From technological advances in music recording and practical innovations to landmark concerts and the births and deaths of the great composers, this book discusses the moments that have defined classical music.

Globe Pequot /Lyons

Live at the Fillmore East and West: Getting Backstage and Personal with Rock’s Greatest Legends by John Glatt (Dec., hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-7627-8865-1). The story of 1960s rock music at Bill Graham’s twin temples, the Fillmore East and the Fillmore West, which played host to rock ’n’ roll royalty for three years, before Graham shuttered both venues within weeks of each other in 1971.


Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Rick Bragg and Jerry Lee Lewis (Nov. 11, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-207822-3). The great Southern storyteller, Rick Bragg, tracks down the legendary rock and roller, Jerry Lee Lewis—and gets his story for the first time. 100,000-copy announced first printing.

L.A. Confidential by L.A. Reid (Nov. 18, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-227475-5). In this memoir, illustrated with more than 100 never-before-seen photos from his personal collection, the record producer chronicles his struggles, his success, and the celebrated artists that made him a legend. 75,000-copy announced first printing.


Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem by Jeremy Spencer (Sept. 9, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-230810-8). From the cofounder of the heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch comes a revealing personal journey of wild music, addiction, and recovery. 75,000-copy announced first printing.

The Dirty Version: On Stage, in the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol’ Dirty Bastard by Buddha Monk and Mickey Hess (Nov. 4, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-223141-3). Timed to the 10th anniversary of his death, this first biography of hip-hop superstar and founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan is written by his right-hand man and best friend, Buddha Monk. 50,000-copy announced first printing.

Living Like a Runaway: A Memoir by Lita Ford (Sept. 9, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-227064-1). The legendary former lead guitarist of the Runaways and “heavy metal’s leading female rocker,” per Rolling Stone, spills all about the ’70s and ’80s music scene. 75,000-copy announced first printing.


Rumours of Glory: A Memoir by Bruce Cockburn (Nov. 4, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-196912-6). Legendary Canadian singer and songwriter Bruce Cockburn delivers his memoir—a chronicle of faith, fear, and activism that is also a lively cultural and musical tour through the late 20th century. 30,000-copy announced first printing.

Library of America

Virgil Thomson: Music Chronicles 1940‑1954 by Virgil Thomson and Tim Page (Oct. 2, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-1-59853-309-5). Revisit the golden age of classical music in America through the witty and adventurous reviews of the great critic-composer.

Little, Brown

Play On: Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac by Anthony Bozza and Mick Fleetwood (Oct. 7, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-316-40342-9). In this candid, intimate portrait, Mick Fleetwood sheds new light on well-known points in his history, including many surprising moments of recording and touring, as well as personal insights from a man who has been a major player in blues and rock ’n’ roll. 75,000-copy announced first printing.

Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin by David Ritz (Nov. 4, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-316-19683-3). The definitive biography of the Queen of Soul from an acclaimed music writer. 100,000-copy announced first printing.

The Universal Tone: My Life by Carlos Santana (Nov. 4, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-316-24492-3). A sensory (and sensual) autobiography by one of the most mysterious and influential musicians of the past 50 years. 300,000-copy announced first printing.


Capturing Music: The Story of Notation by Thomas Forrest Kelly (Nov. 3, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-0-393-06496-4) is an entertaining history of how musicians learned to record music for the future, filled with art that sings.

George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends by Ellen T. Harris (Sept. 29, hardcover, $37.95, ISBN 978-0-393-08895-3). An intimate portrait of Handel’s life and inner circle, modeled after one of the composer’s favorite forms: the fugue.

Oneworld Classics

(dist. by IPG)

Così Fan Tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Oct. 1, paper, $22.95, ISBN 978-1-84749-555-6). The latest addition to a set of lavishly produced opera guides.

Oxford Univ.

Austin City Limits: A History by Tracey E.W. Laird (Oct. 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-19-981241-7). With unprecedented access behind the scenes at show tapings, this tells the story of the landmark musical showcase whose history spans dramatic changes in the nature of television, the expansion of digital media, and the ways in which we listen to music.

Elvis Presley: A Southern Life by Joel Williamson (Nov. 3, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-19-986317-4). A tour de force biography by a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, illuminating the life of Elvis and the culture of the South.


(dist. by Norton)

Time Out of Mind: The Lives of Bob Dylan by Ian Bell (Oct. 15, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1-60598-628-9). The second volume in Bell’s magisterial two-part biography of the ever-evolving and enigmatic Dylan.

Penguin/Blue Rider

Sound Man by Glyn Johns (Nov. 13, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-399-16387-6). A memoir of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer and sound engineer whose résumé includes work with the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Who, the Clash, and many more.

Special Deluxe by Neil Young (Oct. 7, hardcover, $32, ISBN 978-0-399-17208-3) is the second installment of Young’s memoirs, after the New York Times–bestselling Waging Heavy Peace.

Quarto USA/Quarry

Music Lab: We Rock!: A Fun Family Guide for Exploring Rock Music History: From Elvis and the Beatles to Ray Charles and the Ramones, Includes Bios, Historical Context, Extensive Playlists, and Rocking Activities for the Whole Family! by Jason Hanley (Sept. 1, paper, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-59253-921-5) is a guided tour through thrilling corners of the musical universe, offering 52 music listening activities for families to do together. The whole family will be rocking out on a journey through rock and roll music history.

Rowman & Littlefield

(dist. by NBN)

Mavericks of Sound: Conversations with Artists Who Shaped Indie and Roots Music by David Ensminger (Sept. 1, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-1-4422-3590-8). Music scholar Ensminger collects vivid and compelling interviews with legendary roots rock and indie artists who bucked mainstream trends and have remained resilient in the face of enormous shifts in the music world.

Running Press

Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey by Ed Sheeran (Nov. 18, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-7624-5696-3). An illustrated account by Sheeran in collaboration with well-known artist Philip Butah, revealing what drives and influences his songwriting and how he has coped with his stratospheric success. 100,000-copy announced first printing.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Fandemonium by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Sept. 23, paper, $25, ISBN 978-0-7624-5148-7). A montage of words from the band to their fans, hundreds of photos taken at concerts worldwide, and interviews with 50 of the most devoted RHCP fans around the globe. The stories that emerge range from fantastic to tragic, but are always inspirational and life-affirming.

Simon & Schuster

The Complete Annotated Lyrics by Bob Dylan (Oct. 28, hardcover, $49.95, ISBN 978-1-4516-4876-8). For the first time, here is a comprehensive collection of Dylan’s lyrics, complete with expert annotations by Christopher Ricks.

Rocks: My Life in and out of Aerosmith by Joe Perry and David Ritz (Oct. 7, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-4767-1454-7). Aerosmith’s Joe Perry opens up for the first time to tell the wild, remarkably candid inside story of his life in the band he and Steven Tyler founded in 1970.


Bowie: The Biography by Wendy Leigh (Sept. 23, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4767-6707-9). Discover the man behind the myth in this new biography of David Bowie, a pioneering and influential performer.

Miss Grace Jones by Grace Jones (Oct. 28, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-4767-6507-5). The music and film legend gives an in-depth account of her stellar career, professional and personal life, and the signature look that catapulted her into the stardom stratosphere.

Mouth for War: Pantera and Beyond by Philip H. Anselmo and Corey Mitchell (Jan. 13, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4767-3050-9). In this brutally honest memoir, Anselmo, former frontman of the legendary metal band Pantera, finally tells his side of the story on everything from the band’s meteoric rise to the murder of guitarist Darrell Abbott onstage in 2004.


Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol (Oct. 7, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4516-2850-0). In this bold and candid memoir, music legend Idol shares his life, revealing intimate details about the sex, drugs, and rock and roll that he is so fabulously famous for, all told in his own indelible voice.

Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone by Marky Ramone and Richard Herschlag (Jan. 13, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4516-8775-0). The inside story of one of the most revered bands in music history during the early days of punk rock in New York, from legendary drummer Marky Ramone.

Sterling Publishing/Carlton

Michael Jackson: The King of Pop by Chris Roberts (Aug. 5, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-78097-545-0). This lavishly illustrated and definitive biography, revised and updated to explore new areas of Jackson’s music, legacy, and personality, is filled with performance, backstage, and family photos, including 10 new pictures.

St. Martin’s

Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man by Marcus Baram (Nov. 11, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-01278-4). The first full biography of the late musical legend, often considered the godfather of hip-hop.

The Jesus and Mary Chain: Barbed Wire Kisses by Zoe Howe (Nov. 11, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-03024-5). Told by the band members and their associates for the first time, this fierce, frank and funny biography follows the influential Scottish ’80s quartet that mixed the Beach Boys’ pop with Velvet Underground’s cool.

The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC by Jesse Fink (Aug. 5, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-05383-1). An inside look at the brothers George, Malcolm and Angus Young, who built AC/DC, one of the biggest rock bands in the world.

St. Martin’s/ Dunne

U2: The Definitive Biography by John Jobling (Oct. 7, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-02789-4). This biography draws on insider interviews to investigate the band’s personal relationships and controversial business practices, delivering a vivid portrait that traces the band from its conception to becoming post-punk champions, then political crusaders.

St. Martin’s Griffin

The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters by Daniel Rachel (Oct. 7, paper, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-250-05129-5) collects new, exclusive, in-depth, revealing conversations about song writing with some of the world’s most noted hit makers.

Thomas Nelson

Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way by Jimmy Wayne and Ken Abraham (Oct. 7, hardcover, $22.99, ISBN 978-0-8499-2210-7) tells the life of country music star Jimmy Wayne, from homeless kid to national success, and the unlikely elderly couple who made it all possible.

Three Rivers Press

Kill Me Loudly: A Memoir of Gender Dysphoria, Music, and Addiction by Laura Jane Grace (Jan. 13, paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-8041-4046-1). The poignant, grippingly honest memoir of Grace’s life as the lead singer of Against Me!, her decades-long struggle to find an authentic identity, and her brave decision to transform her gender by undergoing sex reassignment therapy.

Univ. of California

Grand Opera: The Story of the Met by Charles Affron and Mirella Jona Affron (Sept. 18, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-0-520-25033-8). Drawing on unpublished archived documents, the history of the famed New York institution in 30 years surveys composers and slices of the repertoire, bringing to life dominant personalities and memorable performances.

Univ. of North Carolina

Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia by Fiona Ritchie, Doug Orr, and Darcy Orr (Sept. 29, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-1-4696-1822-7). Many Scots-Irish immigrated to the mountains of the southern Appalachians, bringing a wealth of traditional ballads and carrying a stream that merged the sounds of English/German/Welsh/African-American/French/Cherokee; includes a CD with 20 tracks.


Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones by Paul Trynka (Oct. 9, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-670-01474-3). A forensic, thrilling biography of Jones’s life, details his pioneering achievements and messy unraveling, setting straight the tall tales that have long marred Jones’s legacy.

Herbie Hancock: Possibilities by Herbie Hancock and Lisa Dickey (Oct. 28, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-670-01471-2). The legendary jazz musician and composer reflects on a life and a thriving career that has spanned seven decades.


Gimme Indie Rock: 500 Essential American Underground Rock Albums, 1981–1996 by Andrew Earles (Sept. 15, paper, $19.99, ISBN 978-0-7603-4648-8) describes the essential albums of the 1980s and ’90s American indie rock movement that comprised both popular and little-known bands.

Yale Univ.

The History of Rock ’n’ Roll in 10 Songs by Greil Marcus (Sept. 2, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-300-18737-3). An altogether original history of rock ’n’ roll, omitting almost every well-known performer and ignoring the storied events and turning points that everyone knows, instead dramatizing how 10 songs embody rock ’n’ roll as a thing in itself. 20,000-copy announced first printing.