music novels

photo via amazon (CC-BY)

Find out what inspired your favorite album.

Rather than relying on magazines to give an inside glimpse of the life of a rockstar, or share what makes your favorite musician tick, immerse yourself in an entire book. 

These 10 novels aren’t just for the musically inclined, they also reveal what inspired your most-played album. But who knows? Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about music theory.

Regardless, you won't regret reading one of these popular books. Check out the following titles and more on Amazon’s best-selling entertainment list.


1) The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones by Rich Cohen

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From the publisher: Rich Cohen enters the Stones epic as a young journalist on the road with the band and quickly falls under their sway—privy to the jokes, the camaraderie, the bitchiness, the hard living. Inspired by a lifelong appreciation of the music that borders on obsession, Cohen’s chronicle of the band is informed by the rigorous views of a kid who grew up on the music and for whom the Stones will always be the greatest rock ’n’ roll band of all time.

Price on Amazon: $13.99+

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2) Never a Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded by David Hepworth

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From the publisher: David Hepworth, an ardent music fan and well regarded critic, was twenty-one in '71, the same age as many of the legendary artists who arrived on the scene. Taking us on a tour of the major moments, the events and songs of this remarkable year, he shows how musicians came together to form the perfect storm of rock and roll greatness, starting a musical era that would last longer than anyone predicted. Those who joined bands to escape things that lasted found themselves in a new age, its colossal start being part of the genre's staying power.

Price on Amazon: $14.99+

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3) Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements by Bob Mehr

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From the publisher: Based on all-new interviews and including 72 rare photos, Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements is the definitive biography of one of the last great rock 'n' roll bands of the twentieth century. Written with the participation of the group's key members, including reclusive singer-songwriter Paul Westerberg, bassist Tommy Stinson, and the family of late guitarist Bob Stinson, Trouble Boys is a deeply intimate and nuanced portrait, exposing the primal factors and forces—addiction, abuse, fear—that would shape one of the most brilliant and notoriously self-destructive groups of all time.

Price on Amazon: $14.99+

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4) Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk by John Doe and Tom DeSavia

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From the publisher: Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it's never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary West Coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length tales from the authors along with personal essays from famous (and infamous) players in the scene. Readers will travel to the clubs that defined the scene, as well as to the street corners, empty lots, apartment complexes, and squats that served as de facto salons for the musicians, artists, and fringe players that hashed out what would become punk rock in Los Angeles.

Price on Amazon: $11.87+

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5) Old Records Never Die: One Man’s Quest for His Vinyl and His Past by Eric Spitznagel

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From the publisher: High Fidelity meets Killing Yourself to Live in this memoir of one man's search for his lost record collection. As he finds himself within spitting distance of middle-age, journalist Eric Spitznagel feels acutely the loss of…something. Freedom? Maybe. Coolness? Could be. The records he sold in a financial pinch? Definitely. To find out for sure, he sets out on a quest to find  the original vinyl artifacts from his past. Not just copies. The exact same records: The Bon Jovi record with his first girlfriend's phone number scrawled on the front sleeve. The KISS Alive II he once shared with his little brother. The Replacements Let It Be he’s pretty sure, 20 years later, would still smell like weed. As he embarks on his hero's journey, he reminisces about the actual records, the music, and the people he listened to it with—old girlfriends, his high school pals, and, most poignantly, his father and his young son. He explores the magic of music and memory as he interweaves his adventures in record- culture with questions about our connection to our past, whether we can ever recapture it, and whether we would want to if we could.

Price on Amazon: $9.99+

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6) I Swear I’ll Make it Up to You: A Life on the Low Road by Mishka Shubaly

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From the publisher: In this fiercely honest, emotional, and self-laceratingly witty book, Shubaly relives his mistakes, misfortunes, and infrequent good decisions: the disastrous events that fractured his life; his incendiary romances; his hot-and-cold career as a rock musician; meeting his newborn nephew while out of his gourd on cough syrup. I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You is an apology for choices Shubaly never thought he’d live long enough to regret, a journey so far down the low road that it took him years of running to claw his way back.

Price on Amazon: $14.99+

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7) The Cinematic Legacy of Frank Sinatra by David Wills

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From the publisher: In The Cinematic Legacy of Frank Sinatra, author David Wills presents a stunning collection highlighting the work of one of Hollywood's greatest stars in roles as varied as those in the classics Anchors Aweigh, From Here to Eternity, Suddenly, Guys and Dolls, The Man With the Golden Arm, Ocean's 11, The Manchurian Candidate, Von Ryan's Express, and The Detective. Pairing more than two hundred first-generation photos with reflections on Sinatra from costars and work associates, and including contributing essays by his children Nancy Sinatra, Tina Sinatra, and Frank Sinatra, Jr., it is an unforgettable showcase of the actor's transformation from world-famous singer, to movie star, to Academy Award winner, and finally to one of the most enduring icons in cinema history.

Price on Amazon: $16.99+

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8) Loving Amy: A Mother’s Story by Janis Winehouse

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From the publisher: Amy's mother, Janis, knew her in a way that no one else did. In this warm, poignant, and at times heartbreaking memoir, she tells the full story of the daughter she loved so much. As the world watched the rise of a superstar, then the free fall of an addict to her tragic death, Janis simply saw her Amy: the daughter she’d given birth to, the girl she’d raised and stood by despite her unruly behavior, the girl whose body she was forced to identify two days after her death―and the girl she's grieved for every day since.

Price on Amazon: $6.93+

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9) Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir by Joel Grey

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From the publisher: Joel Grey, the Tony and Academy Award-winning Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret finally tells his remarkable life story. Master of Ceremonies is a memoir of a life lived in and out of the limelight, but it is also the story of the man behind the stage makeup. Coming of age in a time when being yourself tended to be not only difficult but also dangerous, Joel has to act both on and off the stage. He spends his high school years sleeping with the girls-next-door while carrying on a scandalous affair with an older man. Romances with to-die-for Vegas Showgirls are balanced with late night liaisons with like-minded guys, until finally Joel falls in love and marries a talented and beautiful woman, starts a family, and has a pretty much picture perfect life. But 24 years later when the marriage dissolves, Joel has to once again find his place in a world that has radically changed.

Price on Amazon: $14.99+

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10) Your Favorite Band is Killing Me: What Pop Music Rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life by Steven Hyden

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From the publisher: Beatles vs. Stones. Biggie vs. Tupac. Kanye vs. Taylor. Who do you choose? And what does that say about you? Actually--what do these endlessly argued-about pop music rivalries say about us? Music opinions bring out passionate debate in people, and Steven Hyden knows that firsthand. Each chapter in YOUR FAVORITE BAND IS KILLING ME focuses on a pop music rivalry, from the classic to the very recent, and draws connections to the larger forces surrounding the pairing.

Price on Amazon: $11.69+

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