For many music fans, it’s not enough to listen to a record or a playlist; books help feed a love of and appreciation for the biggest artists of yesterday and today.
Autumn has given us a host of new music books perfect for curling up with on a chilly night or giving as a gift (hey, Christmas is seven weeks away).
Rob Halford of Judas Priest.
Confess: The Autobiography
By Rob Halford
Release Date: September 28
Metal legend, Judas Priest frontman and longtime Arizona resident Rob Halford has finally cracked the lid on his life, including his childhood in England and 50 years of influencing the world of heavy metal. “I waited until I thought I had something worth sharing,” he told Phoenix New Times in an interview last month.
Wild Thing: The Short, Spellbinding Life of Jimi Hendrix
By Philip Norman
Release Date: September 15
It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years since guitar god Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27. In this biography, Norman unearths new information about Hendrix’s childhood in Seattle, his untimely death in London, and all the years in between. Wild Thing was named one of the best nonfiction books of the year by Publishers Weekly.
Are you gonna go his way?
Press Here Talent
Let Love Rule
By Lenny Kravitz with David Ritz
Release Date: October 6
We didn’t think we necessarily needed a Lenny Kravitz autobiography, but now that it’s here, we’re stoked to read it. Kravitz covers his life in detail, although the verdict is still out as to whether he discusses the gigantic scarf incident.
We lost John Lennon on December 8, 1980.
The Last Days of John Lennon
By James Patterson with Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge
Release Date: December 7
We predict that as the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder approaches, interest in (and media coverage of) the fallen Beatle will go nuts. Have all the talking points at your (socially distanced) holiday gatherings by reading this title by novelist James Patterson, of all people.
Mozart: The Reign of Love
By Jan Swafford
Release Date: December 8
Some people want to read biographies of musicians who fall outside the bounds of popular music, and for them, there’s Mozart: The Reign of Love. Swafford is a composer and author who has already written biographies about Beethoven and Brahms. This book clocks in at 832 pages, so we’re guessing it’s pretty darn thorough.
Dolly Parton, the queen of country.
Art by Lindsey Kelly
Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics
By Dolly Parton with Robert K. Oermann
Release Date: November 17
We never get tired of the words of Dolly Parton, whether it’s through her outspoken public persona or her 60-year music career. Songteller is a comprehensive chronicling of 175 of Parton’s songs, and the stories behind the lyrics are accompanied with rare images from her public and private life.
This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey, On and Off the Record
By Neal Karlen
Release Date: October 6
Neal Karlen and Prince Rogers Nelson knew each other as kids in Minneapolis; now, almost five years after the Purple One’s death, Karlen has written a biography of his longtime friend. Karlen wrote three Rolling Stone cover stories about Prince, and gives readers a very intimate look at the life of the legend.
Radiohead’s Kid A debuted 20 years ago.
This Isn’t Happening: Radiohead’s “Kid A” and the Beginning of the 21st Century
By Steven Hyden
Release Date: September 29
Kid A is one of those albums that you have to respect, even if it’s not exactly your cup of sonic tea. In This Isn’t Happening, Hyden delves deep into Radiohead’s fourth album, examining not just how it got made but the continuing impact it has on 21st-century music.
The Rolling Stones
Goin’ Home with the Rolling Stones ’66: Photographs by Gered Mankowitz
By Gered Mankowitz
Release Date: November 3
If you’re less of a full biography person and more a coffee-table book aficionado, this one’s for you. Mankowitz, a friend of The Rolling Stones and their official photographer, was invited in 1966 to do an at-home photo shoot with each member of the band. This book is the first time the images have been published together. Also included is a foreword from the Rolling Stones’ legendary manager, Andrew Loog Oldham.
Get all the pictures of Queen you never knew you needed to see.
Queen: The Neal Preston Photographs
By Neal Preston
Release Date: October 29
More pictures! Interest in the British band Queen, which has stayed high since the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic in 2018, should be sated by this hefty tome featuring 200 pictures of Freddie Mercury and the gang. Many of the images have never been seen before. Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor contributed forewards.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free… Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who’ve won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism’s existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our “I Support” membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.