Lives in Music: New Biographies of Music Legends

Music has been a panacea to many of us in these anxious and uncertain times. Some of the most exciting releases for music lovers this past year however, weren’t just new albums by their favorite musicians or singers, but in-depth biographies and revealing memoirs from their favorite artists and bands.  Whether you are a worshipper of the blues, a die-hard fan of Bob Dylan and the Boss, curious about Zeppelin lore, or have a new love for the songs of the 20 year old Billie Eilish, these memoirs and biographies which were released in 2021 will give you the inside stories on your favorite music legends. Beast : John Bonham And The Rise Of Led Zeppelin by CM. Kushins An exploration of the short life of Led Zeppelin’s volatile self-taught drummer John Bonham (1948–80).  As Kushins shows, Bonham was also a complex man. He drowned his severe anxiety in booze, and he hated the time spent away from his family and farm while still enjoying his role in a band that gave him license to indulge his animal instincts. The author covers all of the bases in delineating the life of his subject and makes a convincing case for his iconic status. Beeswing : Losing My Way And Finding My Voice 1967-1975 by Richard Thompson A revealing look at the early years of Richard Thompson, one of the world’s most influential guitarists and songwriters, following the formation of his band Fairport Convention, his revival of British folk traditions, and his journey through Sufism-all before the age of 26. Bessie Smith : A Poet’s Biography by Jackie Kay Known for her prodigious musical talent, her timeless blues narratives about personal and socioeconomic problems, her tough persona, and her innate ability to enrapture audiences with her raw voice, Bessie Smith–the Empress of the Blues–receives a unique biographical treatment in this special life narrative captured by one of Scotland’s finest poets.  Billie Eilish by Billie Eilish Legendary singer and songwriter Billie Eilish shares an intimate inside look at her life – both on and off the stage – in this stunning, photo-filled book.  Changes : An Oral History Of Tupac Shakur by Sheldon Pearce The brief, remarkable life of Shakur is revisited here, 25 years after his death, in first-person accounts of many who knew him. With a special focus on “rarely heard perspectives,” Pearce’s riveting oral history compiles a chorus of recollections from various eras in Shakur’s life, ranging from his high-school years as a gifted theater student to his budding career as an indie film actor to the chaotic height of his fame as a hip hop artist, and culminates in his still unsolved murder. The Double Life Of Bob Dylan : A Restless, Hungry Feeling, 1941-1966 by Clinton Heylin Using material from Dylan’s personal archive, Heylin tells the story of the singer’s meteoric rise to fame. Readers will follow Dylan’s arrival in early 1961 in New York, where he is embraced by the folk scene; his elevation to spokesman of a generation whose protest songs provide the soundtrack for the burgeoning Civil Rights movement; his alleged betrayal when he ‘goes electric’ at Newport in 1965; and much more. The First 21 : How I Became Nikki Sixx by Frank Feranna & Nikki Sixx The rock-and-roll icon shares his inspirational journey from irrepressible Idaho farmboy to the man who formed Mötley Crüe., proving that you can overcome anything and achieve all of your goals, if only you put your mind to it. The History Of Bones : A Memoir by John Lurie The artist, director, musician, composer, and founder of the Lounge Lizards assesses his life and work.  Drawing on his unruly genius, persistent subversiveness, habitual courting of risk, and mordant humor, he recounts wild tales of his spiritual quests, drug-stoked New York City misadventures, bond with the saxophone, tormented relationships, and nightmarish tours with his band. King Of The Blues : The Rise And Reign of B B King by Daniel de Visé This biography presents the vibrant life and times of a trailblazing giant. Witness to dark prejudice and lynching in his youth, B.B. performed incessantly (some 15,000 concerts in ninety countries over nearly sixty years)-in some real way his means of escaping his past. His career roller-coasted between adulation and relegation, but he always rose back up.  Last Chance Texaco : Chronicles Of an American Troubadour by Rickie Lee Jones A tender and intimate memoir by one of the most remarkable, trailblazing, and tenacious women in music, the two-time Grammy Award-winning “premiere song-stylist and songwriter of her generation,. With candor and lyricism Rickie Lee Jones takes us on the journey of her exceptional life: from her nomadic childhood as the granddaughter of vaudevillian performers, to her father’s abandonment of the family and her years as a teenage runaway, her beginnings at LA’s Troubadour club, to her tumultuous relationship with Tom Waits, her battle with drugs, and longevity as a woman in rock and roll The Marathon Don’t Stop : The Life And Times Of Nipsey Hussle by Rob Kenner The first in-depth biography of Nipsey Hussle, the hip hop mogul, artist, and activist whose transformative legacy inspired a generation with his motivational lyrics and visionary business savvy-before he was tragically shot down in the very neighborhood he was dedicated to building up. Mellencamp by Paul Rees The definitive biography of Mellencamp, the iconic American rock and roll original, featuring exclusive in-depth interviews and never-before-told details. Rememberings by Sinéad O’Connor From the acclaimed, controversial singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor comes a revelatory memoir of her fraught childhood, musical triumphs, struggles with illness, and of the enduring power of song. The Storyteller : Tales Of Life And Music by Dave Grohl The legendary American musician, singer, songwriter and documentary filmmaker offers a collection of stories, written by his own hand, that focus on the memories of his life, from his childhood to today. Unrequited Infatuations : Odyssey Of A Rock And Roll Consigliere : (A Cautionary Tale) by Stevie Van Zandt