Music books in this section include classical, jazz and blues, punk, and rock, with both general histories and biographies of particular performers. If you look closely you can guess who our favourite artists might be…

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Boy on Fire
Cover Image, Waking Dreams

Mark Mordue
Fourth Estate
ISBN 9781460759646
Hardback 2020
Price $39.99
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The first volume of the long-awaited, near-mythical biography of Nick Cave, by award-winning writer, Mark Mordue. A beautiful, profound and poetic biography of the formative years of the dark prince of Australian rock 'n' roll, Boy on Fire is Nick Cave's creation story. This is a portrait of the artist as, first, a boy, and then as a young man. A deeply insightful work which charts his family, friends, influences, milieu and, most of all, his music.

Rust in Peace

Cover Image, Waking Dreams

Dave Mustaine with Joel Selvin
ISBN 9780306846021
Hardback 2020
Price $39.99
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Rust in Peace details the making of Megadeth's iconic record, Rust In Peace, which was released in 1990, at an incredible time of flux and creativity in the rock world. Relayed by the lead vocalist and guitarist songwriter of Megadeth himself, Dave Mustaine, the book covers the process of hiring the band and supporting cast, of trying to handle the ensuing success, and ultimately the pressure of fame and fortune-which caused the band to finally break-up. In short, it's a true story of groundbreaking anti-pop that was moving toward the mainstream (or the mainstream that was moving toward the band), at a time of great cultural change, power, ego, drugs, and other vices that went hand-in-hand with Rock N' Roll in the late eighties, early nineties.

Keep 'Er Lit

Cover Image, Warhol

Van Morrison
Faber and Faber
ISBN 9780571353897
Hardback 2020
Price $AU 29.99
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Following Lit Up InsideKeep 'Er Lit is the second instalment of Van Morrison's collected lyrics containing one hundred and twenty songs from across his storied career, revealing once more why he is celebrated as one of the most innovative and enduring songwriters of our time. 

Remain In Love
Cover Image, Golden Maze

Chris Frantz
ISBN 9781474617130
Trade Paperback 2020
Price $32.99
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Remain in Love charts the rise and fall of Talking Heads, a band who combined the sensibility of artists with extraordinary songwriting vision. Another classic New York memoir in the vein of Patti Smith’s Just Kids, this book shares secrets and stories Talking Heads fans have been curious about for decades.

Friday On My MindCover Image, Carpathia

Jeff Apter
Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781760875107
Trade Paperback 2020
Price $29.99
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Pop star, mentor and icon, George Young was one of the most important figures in Australian pop music history. Jeff Apter reveals the facts that helped build a music empire and cement Vanda & Young's place eternally into the "Australian songbook".

SongsCover Image, Plots and Prayers

Don Walker
Black Inc
ISBN 9781760641504
Hardback 2019
Price $AU 32.99
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Don Walker’s songwriting has captured what it is to be Australian. From Cold Chisel to Catfish, Tex, Don & Charlie to his solo work, as well as many other writing collaborations, Walker’s words are poetic, moving and incisive. Including classics such as “Khe Sanh”, “Flame Trees”, “Cheap Wine” and “Harry was a Bad Bugger”, this collection reveals the breadth of Walker’s vision and the precision of his prose. These lyrics live on the page, with or without the memory of music.

Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain

Cover Image, Little Boy

Danny Goldberg
Orion Publishing
ISBN 9781409182795
Paperback 2019
Price $AU 32.99
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Casting aside the common obsession with the angst and depression that seemingly drove Kurt Cobain, Serving the Servant is an exploration of his brilliance in rock and roll, his compassion, his ambition, and the legacy he wrought - one that has lasted decades longer than his career did. Nirvana's band manager Danny Goldberg explores what it is about Kurt Cobain that still resonates today, even with a generation who wasn’t alive until after Kurt’s death.

A Fabulous Creation
Cover Image, Sweet Soul Music

David Hepworth
Black Swan
ISBN 9781784162085
Paperback 2020
Price $AU 19.99
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The unparalleled David Hepworth celebrates the reign and the return of the LP, how vinyl changed the music, the music industry and the way we listen.The era of the LP began in 1967, with 'Sgt Pepper', The Beatles didn't just collect together a bunch of songs, they Made An Album. Henceforth, everybody else wanted to Make An Album. It was a short but transformative time. Musicians became 'artists' and we, the people, patrons of the arts. The LP itself had been a mark of sophistication, a measure of wealth, an instrument of education, a poster saying things you dare not say yourself, a means of attracting the opposite sex, and, for many the single most desirable object in their lives.

I'll Be Your Mirror: The Collected Lyrics
Cover Image, Bob Dylan

Lou Reed
Faber & Faber Hardback
ISBN 9780571345991
Paperback 2019
Price $AU 49.99
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Out of print for several years, a comprehensive volume of Lou Reed's lyrics, now updated in a new text design to include the lyrics from his final album with Metallica, Lulu. Through his many incarnations - from proto-punk to glam rocker to elder statesman of the avant garde Lou Reed's work has maintained an undeniable vividness and raw beauty, fuelled by precise character studies and rendered with an admirable shot of moral ambiguity. Containing a body of work that spans more than four decades and facsimile pages from late career lyrics, this is a monument to the literary qualities of an American original whose images and storytelling genius are now embedded in the counter-cultural narrative.

Billie HolidayCover Image, Sweet Soul Music

John Szwed
ISBN 9780143107965
Paperback 2016
Price $AU 27.00
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Today, Billie Holiday is an icon - an artist whose voice has weathered countless shifts in public taste, and whose impact on contemporary music is unquestionable. But when eighteen-year-old Billie Holiday stepped into Columbia studios in November of 1933 to record 'Riffin' the Scotch' and 'Your Mother's Son-in-Law', no one could predict the sensation that was about to emerge; marking the beginning of what is arguably the most remarkable and important career in twentieth-century popular music. Drawing on revelatory new material, including unpublished memoirs and interviews, Billie Holiday is the first account to consider the singer as an artist, her influences, her uncanny voice and rhythmic genius, and her legacy.

Kim Gordon: Girl in a Band cover image m train

Kim Gordon
Faber & Faber
ISBN 9780571309351
Paperback 2016
Price $AU 23.00
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In Girl in a Band Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth and role model for a generation of women, tells her story. She writes frankly about her route from girl to woman and pioneering icon within the music and art scene of New York City in the 1980s and 90s as well as marriage, motherhood, and independence. Filled with the sights and sounds of a changing world and a remarkable life, Girl in a Band is a moving, evocative chronicle of an extraordinary artist.

Words Without Music Cover image, The Dylanologists

Phillip Glass
Faber & Faber
ISBN 9780571323746
Hardback 2014
Price $AU 25.00
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Rapturous in its ability to depict the creative process, Words Without Music allows readers to experience that sublime moment of creative fusion when life merges with art. Biography lovers will be inspired by the story of a precocious Baltimore boy, the son of a music-shop owner, who entered college at age fifteen, before traveling to Paris to study under the legendary Nadia Boulanger; Glass devotees will be fascinated by the stories behind Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha, among so many other works. Whether recalling his experiences working at Bethlehem Steel, traveling in India, driving a cab in 1970s New York, or his professional collaborations with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Ravi Shankar, Robert Wilson, Doris Lessing, and Martin Scorsese, Words Without Music affirms the power of music to change the world.

Bound for Glory Cover image, Bound for Glory

Woody Guthrie
Penguin Books
ISBN 9780141187228
Paperback 2004
Price $AU 24.99
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Bound For Glory is the funny, cynical and earthy autobiography of Woody Guthrie, the father of American folk music. He tells of his childhood running wild in an Oklahoma oil-boom town, the tragedies that struck his family and of his life on the open road during the Great Depression - hell-raising and brawling in boxcars, all the while singing to raise a dime for his next meal. But above all, this is a song for an America Woody saw from the lonesome highway, as he travel led from one end of the country to the other with guitar in hand and the songs that made him a legend drifting out over the Dust Bowl.

Deep BluesCover Image, Deep Blues

Robert Palmer
Penguin Books
ISBN 9780140062236
Paperback 1982
Price $AU 35.00
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Robert Palmer was the New York Times first full-time rock writer and chief pop critic (1976-1988) and has been a contributing editor at Rolling Stone since the early seventies. He has taught courses in American music at Yale, Carnegie-Mellon, Bowdoin, the University of Mississippi, and Brooklyn College, where he was the first senior research fellow of the Institute for Studies in American Music to teach and write a musicological monograph on rock and roll. He is the author of Deep Blues and other books, and served as writer and music director for two award-winning documentary films, The World According to John Coltrane and Deep Blues.

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