Last season saw two solid books about Montreal-native singer, songwriter, and poet Leonard Cohen—I’m Your Man by Sylvie Simmons and Alan Light’s The Holy or the Broken, about Cohen’s anthem “Hallelujah.” Cohen’s popularity in books continues with three more titles this season, including A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen by Liel Leibovitz, who teaches, among other things, digital media at NYU. And then there are the other icons.

With the 50th anniversary of the Beatles union, books on the band turn to the individual members. Music journalist Tony Doyle explores the music and life of Paul McCartney during his Wings era in Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s. As with Cohen and the Beatles, two more music artists have been the subject of several books in recent seasons, and this is spring is no different: Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross, who wrote about Cobain in 2001’s Heavier than Heaven; and Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father (Spiegel & Grau), in which Galadrielle Allman writes about her father, Duane Allman, founding member of the Allman Brothers Band who died in a motorcycle accident 1971 when Galadrielle, his only child, was two years old.

In a history of the popularity of soul music, Nelson George (Where Did Our Love Go?: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound) turns his attention to The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture and Style.

Two diverse music memoirs are sure to attract a wide readership, both with an announced 100,000-copy first printing: Stand Up Straight and Sing! by opera legend, soprano Jessye Norman; and KISS front man Paul Stanley promises an inspiring story in Face the Music: A Life Exposed.

From Da Capo comes The Time of My Life: A Righteous Memoir from one half of the Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley, writing with Mike Marino (who had a hit with “Hang On Sloppy” with the McCoys).

Grammy nominee “Guitar God” Joe Satriani talks about his creative musical journey in Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir, with the help of music writer Jake Brown.

Finally, a book that is neither by nor about a famous musician—The Late Starters Orchestra by Ari L. Goldman. Here, a Columbia journalism professor and author of the bestselling The Search for God at Harvard picks up the cello for the first time in 25 years and plays alongside his 11-year-old son in his youth orchestra.

PW’s Top 10: Music

The Late Starters Orchestra. Ari L. Goldman. Algonquin, June.

The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture and Style. Nelson George. Morrow, May

Stand Up Straight and Sing! Jessye Norman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May

Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s. Tom Doyle. Ballantine, June

Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir. Joe Satriani and Jake Brown. Benbella, Apr.

The Time of My Life: A Righteous Memoir. Bill Medley and Mike Marino. Da Capo, Apr.

Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain. Charles R. Cross. IT Books, Mar.

Face the Music: A Life Exposed. Paul Stanley. HarperOne, Apr.

A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen. Liel Leibovitz. Norton, Apr.

Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman. Galadrielle Allman. Spiegel & Grau, Mar.

Music Listings

Abrams Image

Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein. (Apr. 15, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1419710971). A celebration of the New Wave movement featuring original interviews with 35 of the biggest recording artists of the era.

Algonquin Books

(dist. by Workman)

The Late Starters Orchestra by Ari L. Goldman (June 10, hardcover, $22.95, ISBN 978-1565129924). The bestselling author of The Search for God at Harvard takes up a cello after 25 years away and proves it’s never too late to pursue a dream deferred in this wise, candid, and inspiring true story about rediscovering your passion.


Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man by Ja Rule (June 3, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0062316172) tells the life story of the iconic rapper, actor, singer, and songwriter—his Queens youth, rise to international fame, and the transformative two years in Federal prison—revealing the man beneath the legend in his own words. Announced first printing: 50,000.

Atria Books

Michael Jackson, Inc.: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of a Billion-Dollar Empire by Zack O’Malley Greenburg (June 3, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1476705965). The surprising rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches story of how Michael Jackson grew a billion-dollar business that started with music and expanded into a clothing line, record label, sneakers, movies, and video games.

Glow by Rick James and David Ritz (July 8, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1476764146). Best known for his song ”Super Freak” hitmaker, singer, innovator, producer, award-winning pioneer in the fusion of funk groove and rock, the late James collaborated with music biographer Ritz in this posthumously published, wild look into the rock star’s life.

Backbeat Books

(dist. by Hal Leonard)

Eric Clapton: His Life and Music by Marc Roberty (Apr. 15, paper, $27.99, ISBN 978-1617130540) is the complete Clapton biography, detailing the whole of his career, not just the relationships at the center of Clapton’s autobiography, but the music that made the famed guitarist great.


Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s by Tom Doyle (June 17, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0804179140). This account of the little known, agonizing decade in McCartney’s life starts with his personal crisis following the break-up of the Beatles and details his reclusive, hippie lifestyle, the awkward beginnings of his start-up band, Wings, and all the drinking, drugs, and arrests along the way.

BenBella Books

(dist. by Perseus)

Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir by Joe Satriani and Jake Brown (Apr. 8, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1939529640) takes fans on their first authorized tour of the guitar legend’s climb to stardom, his time with supergroup Chickenfoot, and the creative odyssey involved in the writing and recording of a storied catalogue of classics. Announced first printing: 40,000.

Country Music Broke My Brain: A Behind-the-Microphone Peek at Nashville’s Famous and Fabulous Stars by Gerry House, foreword by Reba McEntire (Mar. 4, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1939529909). Popular national country radio host House shares hilarious stories and conversations with country music’s biggest names. Announced first printing: 20,000.

John Blake

(dist. by IPG)

It’s Not Only Rock ’n’ Roll Iconic Musicians Reveal the Source of Their Creativity by Jenny Boyd and Holly George-Warren (Apr. 1, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1782194620). Features some of the world’s most iconic musicians—B. B. King, Joni Mitchell, Keith Richards, Queen Latifah, and more than 70 others—discussing the creative process in exclusive interviews.

Chicago Review Press

(dist. by IPG)

Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters by Jeff Burger (Apr. 1, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1613747582). One of the most admired performers of the last half century opens up about his stranger-than-fiction, roller-coaster ride of a life in more than 50 interviews—many classic, some never published before—conducted worldwide between 1966 and 2012

Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues by James Fearnley (May 1, paper, $18.95, ISBN 978-1556529504). The Pogues injected the fury of punk into Irish folk music and gave the world the troubled, iconic, darkly romantic songwriter Shane MacGowan. Fearnley, founding member and accordion player, draws from his personal experiences, journals, and correspondence kept throughout his career to tell their tale.

Lifting My Voice: A Memoir by Barbara Hendricks, foreword by Kofi A. Annan (June 1, hardcover, $32.95, ISBN 978-1613748527). Growing up African-American in segregated Arkansas in the 1950s, opera singer Hendricks witnessed firsthand the painful struggle for civil rights and found a passion for social justice. Now an international prize winner and ambassador for the United Nations, she presents a warm, honest self-portrait of living as an anti-diva.

City Lights Books

(dist. by Consortium)

Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie’s Blues by Paul and Beth Garon (Apr. 1, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-0872866218). A vivid portrait of one of the blues’ most influential female artists, her dark humor, and the popular poetry of her lyrics.

Coach House Books

(dist. by Consortium)

Gods of the Hammer: The Teenage Head Story by Geoff Pevere (Feb. 11, paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-1552452844). The definitive look at one of the ’70s underrepresented punk bands: its cult following, manic style, and how the group almost (but not quite) found fame.


(dist. by PGW)

Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues by Joel Selvin (Apr. 15, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1619023024). Pop music critic Selvin reaches back to ’60s era rhythm and blues to share the untold story of Bert Berns: legendary Atlantic Records’ songwriter and record producer who was responsible for hit songs such as “Piece of my Heart” and “Twist and Shout.”

Da Capo Press

(dist. by Perseus)

The Time of My Life: A Righteous Memoir by Bill Medley and Mike Marino (Apr. 8, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0306823169). Fifty years after his first hit single, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Medley remains an icon of popular music and one of its most beloved voices. Medley looks back a long career, international fame, but also his commitment to faith and family which took on new perspective after the murder of his wife. Announced first printing: 40,000.

Benson: The Autobiography by George Benson and Alan Goldsher (May 27, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0306822292). Celebrated singer, songwriter, composer, and guitarist Benson’s journey out of the ghettos of Pittsburgh toward a hugely successful career as a jazz/soul crossover artist, including his navigation of recording studios with Miles Davis and the private details of his musical cohort. Announced first printing: 25,000.

Dark Days: My Tribulations and Trials by Randy Blythe (June 24, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0306823145). Memoir of the arrest, trial, and acquittal of Blythe, lead singer of metal band Lamb of God, charged with manslaughter after pushing a rushing fan off the stage. Announced first printing: 35,000.

Andre Deutsch

(dist. by Sterling)

Nirvana Chronicle: The Day-by-Day Story of the Band by Carrie Borzillo (Apr. 1, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-0233004143). Features quotes and interviews from close friends and musical associates who watched Cobain’s story unfold, this is as close to a day-by-day log as a fan can get.

Duke Univ. Press

Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording by David Grubbs (Mar. 28, paper, $23.95, ISBN 978-0822355908). Scholar and longtime musician Grubbs argues that, following Cage, new genres in experimental and avant-garde music in the 1960s were particularly ill-suited to be represented in the form of a recording.

Gallery Books/MTV Books

It’s All Clown’s Fault: Slipknot and Beyond by Shawn Crahan (May 20, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1476731971) tells the controversial story of the biggest, most chaotic metal bands of all time from the mouth of their enigmatic founder.


True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva by Deborah Voigt (June 3, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0062118271). Opera star Voigt recounts her harrowing and ultimately successful private battles to overcome the addictions and self-destructive tendencies that nearly destroyed her. Announced first printing: 50,000.

HarperCollins/It Books

Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross (Mar. 18, hardcover, $22.99, ISBN 978-0062308214) examines the legacy of the Nirvana frontman and takes on the question: why does Kurt Cobain still matter so much 20 years after his death? Announced first printing: 100,000.


Face the Music: A Life Exposed by Paul Stanley (Apr. 22, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0062114044)is the revelatory memoir from the front man and rhythm guitarist for KISS—a tale of pain, determination, celebrity, and endurance that captures both the man and his legendary band for the first time. Announced first printing: 100,000.

The History Press

(dist. by IPG)

Highway 61: Crossroads on the Blues Highway by Derek Bright (July 1, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-0752489247). Bright draws on the work of early musicologists looking for an authentic Delta folk music in the 1930s to look at the legendary blues pilgrimage along the famous Highway to the Mississippi Delta.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Stand Up Straight and Sing! by Jessye Norman (May 6, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0544003408). One of America’s most decorated opera singers tells of the struggles and successes that led her from segregated Augusta, Ga., to the Berlin Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and global recognition. Announced first printing: 75,000.


The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style by Nelson George (Mar. 25, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0062221032). An authoritative history of the syndicated television show that has become an icon of American pop culture from acclaimed author and filmmaker George. Announced first printing: 75,000.

W.W. Norton

Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism by Thomas Brothers (Feb. 3, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0393065824) lends cultural history, musical scholarship, and personal accounts from contemporaries to reveal the enduring contributions to jazz and popular music that Armstrong made during the most creative period of his career.

A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen by Liel Leibovitz (Apr. 14, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0393082050). Leibobitz brings to life a passionate poet-turned-musician, not only the inner man but also the environments that shaped him, from the rock scene of New York in the 1960s to the remote Zen monastery where Cohen spent years later in life.

Oxford Univ. Press

Dangerous Rhythm: Why Movie Musicals Matter by Richard Barrios (May 2, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-0199973842). History, film analysis, and a touch of backstage gossip combine in this look at musicals and the powerful, complex bond they have forged with audiences throughout the ages.

PM Press

(dist. by IPG)

There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll by Lisa Robinson (Apr. 22, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1594487149). From a legendary journalist with four decades of unprecedented access and untold stories comes an insider’s look at the major personalities of rock and roll she has interviewed—John Lennon, Bono, Patti Smith, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and more.

Rowman & Littlefield

(dist. by NBN)

Wounds to Bind: A Memoir of the Folk-Rock Revolution by Jerry Burgan and Alan Rifkin (Apr. 16, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-0810888616). The Rolling Stones, the Byrds, Otis Redding, Herman’s Hermits, and the Kingston Trio all make appearances in this tale of the pre-psychadelic ’60s from the cofounder of We Five, the group that recorded the million-selling “You Were On My Mind.”

Santa Monica Press

Turn Up the Radio! Rock, Pop, and Roll in Los Angeles 1956–1972 by Harvey Kubernik, foreword by Tom Petty (Apr. 15, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-1595800794). This oral history covering the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s of music in the City of Angels. Kubernik includes hundreds of never-before-seen photographs, as well as contributions from musicians, engineers, producers, and journalists.


Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78 rpm Records by Amanda Petrusich (July 8, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1451667059). The untold story of a quirky and important subculture: the world of 78-rpm records and the insular community that celebrates them. .

Simon & Schuster

The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob by David Kinney (May 13, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1451626926). Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Kinney enters into the world of obsessive Dylan followers to deliver an immersive work on the All-American artist and his immense impact on our national culture.

Spiegel & Grau

Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman by Galadrielle Allman (Mar. 11, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1400068944). This portrait of musician Duane Allman is a tender inquiry of a daughter searching for her father in the memories of others.


Get the Led Out: How Led Zeppelin Became the Biggest Band in the World by Denny Somach (Apr. 1, paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1454912613). In this illustrated volume, Somach provides behind-the-scenes perspective, quirky details, and achievements big and small from one of rock’s timeles sbands.

St. Martin’s

One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band by Alan Paul (Feb. 18, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-1250040497). Paul brings together the band members’ hellacious career with exclusive interviews, road stories, and never-before-seen photos, artwork, personal letters, and correspondence.

St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne

Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry by Gareth Murphy (June 24, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1250043375). An expansive and long-overdue history of the record industry on both sides of the Atlantic.

Temple Univ. Press

(dist. by CDC)

Softly, With Feeling: Joe Wilder and the Breaking of Barriers in American Music by Edward Berger (Mar. 28, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1439911273). Berger’s biography starts with Wilder’s working-class upbringing before he became one of the first 1,000 black Marines to join World War II and includes extensive reminiscences by Wilder and his colleagues.

Univ. of Wisconsin Press

(dist. by CDC)

John Williams’s Film Music: Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the Return of the Classical Hollywood Music Style by Emilio Audissino (June 12, paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-0299297343). An in-depth examination of how the legendary film composer restored the classical Hollywood music style and became a pivotal figure the history of film music.


A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, from Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man by Holly George-Warren (Mar. 20, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0670025633). In the first biography of the influential musician Chilton, longtime acquaintance George-Warren has interviewed more than 100 bandmates, friends, and family members to flesh out a man who presided over—and influenced—four decades of American musical history.

Virago UK

(dist. by IPG)

Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star by Tracey Thorn (Apr. 1, paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-1844088683). A pop culture memoir from one half of the group Everything But the Girl, Thorn’s Bedsit Disco Queeen elucidates the thrills and wonders, but also doubts, mistakes, and violent changes that happen during a 30-year career in pop music.

Voyageur Press

(dist. by Quayside)

Mudhoney: The Sound and the Fury from Seattle by Keith Cameron (Mar. 21, paper, $19.99, ISBN 978-0760346617). The history of the four-man Seattle band that invented grunge, written with the band’s full cooperation.

Yale Univ. Press

Tainted Glory in Handel’s Messiah: The Unsettling History of the World’s Most Beloved Choral Work by Michael Marissen (Apr. 15, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-0300194586). An eye-opening reexamination of Handel’s beloved religious oratorio that uncovers a disturbing message of anti-Judaism buried within its joyous celebration of the divinity of the Christ.