Novelist Tom Wolfe coined the 1970s "The Me Decade"—responding to 1960s hippie communalism with asserted individualism. And singers and musicians from that decade are certainly voicing themselves now 40 years out.
The '70s witnessed the golden age of so much music—heavy metal, country, R&B, and disco. You name it. In his memoir, Iron Man: My Life in Black Sabbath and Beyond, guitarist Tony Iommi, the band's cofounder and leader, and undisputed originator of heavy metal, discusses the band's formation—high points and low: on his last day of work at a sheet metal factory, the 17-year-old accidentally cut off the tips of two of his fingers, to which he later glued thimbles so he could continue playing. (Former band member Ozzy Osbourne also publishes this season, Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy.)
Influential rock critic and former Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres will pay tribute in the eponymously titled book to the Southern California rock band the Eagles, a sure product of that decade, which formed in 1971 and disbanded in 1980, and sang about taking it easy.
Also recording in L.A. was Texas-born country singer Kenny Rogers—the famed "Gambler"—who tells his story for the first time in Luck or Something. No surprise that this season sees a continuation of books on Michael Jackson. In You Are Not Alone: Michael: Through a Brother's Eyes, Jackson's brother Jermaine sheds intimate light on Michael, whose first solo record Off the Wall was released in 1979. (Two other Jackson books will publish this fall, Man in the Music by Joseph Vogel, and My Friend Michael: Growing Up with the King of Pop, by Frank Cascio.)
In the similar R&B tradition, Nile Rodgers, founder of the band Chic and former member of Parliament Funkadelic, tells his story as producer, songwriter, and performer in the world of disco: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny.
In Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Music Made New in New York City in the '70s, Rolling Stone critic Will Hermes turns his attention to the New York music scene, a hot spot that included innovations in punk, disco, salsa, jazz, and minimalist composers.
Rolling back the years, we find bios on two of the great pop icons of the 1960s—Lennon and Jagger. Tim Riley, who has written extensively on the Beatles, narrows his sights in Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music, which at 800 pages promises to be the definitive study. In Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue, Marc Spitz, who wrote last year's bio on David Bowie, places the Rolling Stones' frontman at the front of a cultural revolution.
Moving even further back, all the way to the 1950s, is the autobiography by the "King of Calypso," Harry Belafonte. Writing here with Michael Shnayerson, Belafonte in My Song transports readers to his Jamaican and Harlem beginnings.
Finally in The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun, Robert Greenfield, author of a slew of music bios, offers this comprehensive study of the man whose influence spanned all these decades—the Turkish-born producer who, at Atlantic Records released the music of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Bobby Darin, the Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin.
PW's Top 10 Music
My Life in Black Sabbath and Beyond
Tony Iommi. Da Capo, Nov.
Luck or Something Like It
Kenny Rogers. William Morrow, Oct.
Ben Fong-Torres. Running Press, Oct.
You Are Not Alone: Michael: Through a Brother's Eyes
Jermaine Jackson. Touchstone, Sept.
Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny
Nile Rodgers. Spiegel & Grau, Oct.
Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Music Made New in New York City in the '70s
Will Hermes. Faber & Faber, Nov.
Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music—The Definitive Life
Tim Riley. Hyperion, Sept.
Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue
Marc Spitz. Gotham, Sept.
Harry Belafonte, with Michael Shnayerson. Random, Nov.
The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun
Robert Greenfield. Simon & Schuster, Nov.
Beck by Autumn de Wilde (Nov., hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-8118-6952-2). This beautifully designed volume—created in collaboration with Beck himself—collects photographs that include intimate portraits and images that document the recording of his albums, gorgeous photo sessions informed by surrealism, Dada, Op Art, and other creative tangents.
Music for a City Music for the World: 100 Years with the San Francisco Symphony by Larry Rothe (Aug., hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-0-8118-7600-1). Published to celebrate the San Francisco Symphony's 100th anniversary, this definitive history, replete with hundreds of archival photos and memorabilia, gives readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of the world's foremost orchestras, illuminating the cultural life of a city.
Best Music Writing 2011, edited by Alex Ross; Daphne Carr, series editor (Sept., paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-306-81963-6). This is the 12th book in the acclaimed series celebrating the best writing on every style of music, from rock to hip-hop, R&B to jazz, pop to blues, and more.
The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Doughty (Jan., paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-306-81877-6) is a brutally honest memoir of addiction and recovery by the world-renowned solo artist and former lead singer and songwriter of Soul Coughing.
Iron Man: My Life in Black Sabbath and Beyond by Tony Iommi (Nov., hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-306-81955-1). Iommi—Grammy-winning revolutionary guitarist, cofounding member of Black Sabbath, and architect of heavy metal—offers this memoir of his life with the band.
This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl by Paul Brannigan (Sept., hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-306-81956-8) offers this first biography of Dave Grohl, drummer for the legendary band Nirvana and singer/songwriter for the Foo Fighters.
D&M Publishers/Greystone Books
Cigar Box Banjo: Notes on Music and Life by Paul Quarrington, foreword by Roddy Doyle (Aug., paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-55365-827-6). Novelist, screenwriter, and musician Paul Quarrington was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in summer 2009, and died the following year. Looking death in the face, he decided to go out singing, throwing everything he had into his work and demonstrating, in this memoir, a creative energy that belied his illness.
Duke Univ. Press
Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism by Chuck Eddy (Aug., paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-8223-5010-1). The influential rock journalist and longtime music editor of the Village Voice collects his work in this volume.
Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond, 1977–1981 by Liz Worth, edited by Gary Pig Gold (Oct., paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-77041-067-1) offers this uncensored look at the 1977 Toronto punk explosion.
Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group
Here and Now!: The Autobiography of Pat Martino by Pat Martino (Oct., $24.99, ISBN 978-1-61713-027-4). By age 16, Pat Martino was already working as a member of R&B star Lloyd Price's touring musical revue. Two years later, Martino moved to Harlem, where, he writes, he quickly earned a reputation as a hard-bopping six-stringer with formidable chops through a series of apprenticeships.
Grand Central Publishing
Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy: Advice from Rock's Ultimate Survivor by Ozzy Osbourne, with Chris Ayres (Oct., hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-4555-0333-9). Part humor, part memoir, and part bad advice, this newest by Osbourne will include some of the best material from his published columns, answers to celebrities' medical questions, charts, sidebars, and more.
Luck or Something Like It by Kenny Rogers (Oct., hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-207181-1). For the first time, country music legend Kenny Rogers tells the story behind his legendary career, detailing his rise through the ranks of country music to become one of the top-selling country artists of all time.
My Friend Michael: Growing Up with the King of Pop by Frank Cascio (Nov., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-209006-5). A close friend of Michael Jackson for over 25 years, Cascio tells the inside story of the Michael that he knew and grew up with, offering a candid, moving, and provocative portrait of the pop icon.
Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me by R. Kelly, with David Ritz (Nov., hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-4019-2835-3). A Three-time Grammy winner who has sold more than 35 million records worldwide, R. Kelly is a writer and producer who collaborated with such music icons as Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Jay-Z, and Aretha Franklin, and tells of his life in the music business.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner Books
Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Time by Courtney E. Smith (Sept., paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-0-547-50223-6). Former MTV music programmer and MTV blogger Courtney E. Smith delivers a humorous and edgy look at the world of music from the female perspective.
Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music—The Definitive Life by Tim Riley (Sept., hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1-4013-2452-0). Music historian and journalist Riley writes the authoritative examination of John Lennon's life and creative legacy, placing Lennon at the center of an epic coming-of-age saga for both his fans and rock music itself.
IPG/Chicago Review Press
The Beatles in Hamburg: The Stories, the Scene and How It All Began by Spencer Leigh (Oct., paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-56976-816-7), a Liverpudlian and local DJ, recounts the Fab Four's formative years in the heart of Germany.
Interlink Publishing Group Inc.
Jimmy Cliff: An Unauthorized Biography by David Katz (Oct., paper, $17, ISBN 978-1-56656-869-2) draws on extensive interviews conducted with the Jamaican reggae superstar and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and his peers, as well as press archives and other sources, to give insight into the maturing of a man, his talent, and his nation.
Macmillan/Faber & Faber
Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Music Made New in New York City in the '70s by Will Hermes (Nov., hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-86547-980-7). Senior critic for Rolling Stone magazine, Hermes gives an electrifying, in-the-round story of five epochal years of New York City music making.
Penguin Group (USA) Inc./Gotham
Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue by Marc Spitz (Sept., hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-59240-655-5). The music journalist and author of Bowie examines Mick Jagger's spectacular life and the cultural revolution he led.
Eagles by Ben Fong-Torres (Oct., hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-7624-3984-3). One of rock-and-roll's influential journalists delivers a comprehensive insider look at one of the greatest American rock bands—the Eagles—on the occasion of their 40th anniversary.
You Only Rock Once: My Life in Music by Jerry Blavat (Aug., hardcover, $23, ISBN 978-0-7624-4215-7). Legendary rock 'n' roll deejay Blavat, still playing 1950s and '60s rock and roll in Philadelphia, tells of his life on the airwaves, his controversial friendship with Philly Mafia boss Angelo Bruno, and his multiple courtroom dramas.
The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Wild Years by Greil Marcus (Nov., hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-58648-945-8). The renowned cultural critic dives into the music of the Doors and takes on the lasting songs and legendary performances that have endured far beyond the band's short life.
Quayside Publishing Group/EMB
Jazz: Photographs and Recollections by Bob Willoughby (Nov., hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-1-901268-58-4). In the 1950s, Willoughby worked late into the night developing and printing his photographs with his radio firmly dialed into the new jazz sounds. Here he collects wonderful images of the most famous artists of the time.
My Song by Harry Belafonte, with Michael Shnayerson (Nov., Hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-307-27226-3) tells of Belafonte's rise from his poverty-ridden childhood in Harlem and Jamaica to become one of the world's most popular singers, and along the way highlights his lifelong involvement with the civil rights movement.
Random House/Crown Archetype
Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge by Mark Yarm (Sept. hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-307-46443-9). Twenty years after the release of Nirvana's landmark Nevermind album, Yarm offers insight into a musical era from the voices of those who created the sound and the sensation.
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music by Judy Collins (Oct., hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-30771734-4). In this vivid, highly evocative memoir, singer Collins highlights the decade of the '60s, when hits like "Both Sides Now" catapulted her to international fame.
Plain and Simple Wisdom from 56 Hope Road by Bob Marley, with Gerald Hausman (Nov., paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-385-51883-3) is a collection of the profound, thoughtful, and insightful words of one of the world's most popular artists.
Random House/Spiegel & Grau
Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny by Nile Rodgers (Oct., hardcover, $26.00, ISBN 978-0-385-52965-5). The 1970s music producer and creator of the R&B band Chic, Rodgers writes movingly not only of his life but of this culture-defining era in pop music history.
Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label by Bill Adler, Dan Charnas, Rick Rubin, and Russell Simmons (Sept. hardcover; $60.00, ISBN 978-0-8478-3371-9). In association with Def Jam, this is a celebration of the first 25 years of the label that defined hip-hop music and culture, in the words and photographs of its founders and artists.
Rizzoli International Publications/Rizzoli Ex Libris
Riccardo Muti: An Autobiography: First the Music, Then the Words by Riccardo Muti (Sept., hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-8478-3724-3). As he approaches 70, conductor Muti tells the story of his life and his music, including his rise to fame in the United States as music director and later conductor laureate of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Simon & Schuster/Howard Books
Diary of a Player: How My Musical Heroes Made a Guitar Man Out of Me by Brad Paisley, with David Wild (Nov., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-4516-2552-3). Focusing on what it means to play the guitar and how he found his voice through a series of guitars, country singer Paisley, born in West Virginia, tells of his upbringing and shares what he has learned about life along the way.
Simon & Schuster
Pearl Jam Twenty by Pearl Jam, intro. by Cameron Crowe (Sept., hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-1-4391-6921-6) promises to be an intimate and lavishly illustrated portrait of one of the world's most influential and successful bands—by members of the band.
The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun by Robert Greenfield (Nov., hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-4165-5838-5) is perhaps the definitive biography of the man Greenfield describes as the king of the rock and roll business, Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records.
Simon & Schuster/Free Press
Crazy Enough: A Memoir by Storm Large (Jan; hardcover; $25.00, ISBN 978-1-4391-9240-5). In this raw memoir, singer and performance artist Large tells about living under the pall of mental illness.
Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson by Joseph Vogel, with a foreword by Anthony DeCurtis (Nov., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-4027-7938-1) promises to forgo sensationalism in favor of an insightful look at Jackson's work and creative process, meticulously tracking Jackson's solo career, from 1979's groundbreaking Off the Wall to 2001's Invincible.
Legends of Jazz by Bill Milkowski, preface by Joe Lovano (Oct; $29.95, ISBN 978-8854406049). This elegant volume by music writer Milkowski presents a gallery of 50 eminent musical legends, from Jelly Roll Morton to Winton Marsalis.
Treasures of the Bee Gees by Brian Southall (Sept., hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-1-84732-700-0). Southall narrates the surprising story of the disco band from down under, which has sold close to 200 million records—including Saturday Night Fever, one of the world's bestselling soundtracks.
Thames & Hudson
Verdi and/or Wagner: Two Men, Two Worlds, Two Centuries by Peter Conrad (Nov., hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-0-500-51593-8) explores the lives and works of Verdi and Wagner as well as their respective legacies to the present day.
You Are Not Alone: Michael: Through a Brother's Eyes by Jermaine Jackson (Sept., hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4516-5156-0) offers this intimate, loving portrait of a brother—illuminating the private man like never before and offering unrivaled access into a rarefied world.
Univ. of Illinois Press
Carla Bley by Amy C. Beal (Oct; $22.00, ISBN 978-0-252-07818-7) is the first comprehensive treatment of the remarkable music and influence of Carla Bley, a highly innovative American jazz composer, pianist, organist, band leader, and activist; American Composers series.
Univ. of Minnesota Press
Blue Guitar Highway by Paul Metsa, with a foreword by David Carr (Oct., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-8166-7642-2). The legendary Minnesota musician tells the story of making music from folk outpost to pop paradise to stages shared with stars from Seeger to Springsteen.
Univ. of North Carolina Press
Music from the True Vine: Mike Seeger's Life and Musical Journey by Bill C. Malone (Oct., hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-8078-3510-4). In this biography, history professor Malone illuminates the life of Seeger, a musician, documentarian, scholar, and founder of the folk revival group New Lost City Ramblers (and Pete Seeger's half-brother), who spent 50 years collecting, performing, and commemorating the culture and folk music of Southerners, which he called music from the true vine
Univ. of Washington Press
Before Seattle Rocked: A City and Its Music by Kurt E. Armbruster (Sept., paper, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-295-99113-9). Seattle is known for grunge and rock, but before these popular musical styles of the 20th century, Seattle was in the foreground of other types of music as well. Armbruster's lively account looks at Native music, early African-American music, blues, classical, and opera.