Music Features

10 New Music Books to Read This Fall

10 New Music Books to Read This Fall
jeff_golden/CC BY 2.0 via Flickr
click to enlarge JEFF_GOLDEN/CC BY 2.0 VIA FLICKR
jeff_golden/CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

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).

click to enlarge Rob Halford of Judas Priest. - JIM LOUVAU
Rob Halford of Judas Priest.
Jim Louvau

Rob Halford

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.

Jimi Hendrix

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.

click to enlarge Are you gonna go his way? - PRESS HERE TALENT
Are you gonna go his way?
Press Here Talent

Lenny Kravitz

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.

click to enlarge We lost John Lennon on December 8, 1980. - ORSORAMA/CC BY 2.0 VIA FLICKR
We lost John Lennon on December 8, 1980.
orsorama/CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

John Lennon

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.

Wolfgang Mozart

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.

click to enlarge Dolly Parton, the queen of country. - ART BY LINDSEY KELLY
Dolly Parton, the queen of country.
Art by Lindsey Kelly

Dolly Parton

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.

click to enlarge Radiohead's Kid A debuted 20 years ago. - MATHEW TUCCIARONE
Radiohead's Kid A debuted 20 years ago.
Mathew Tucciarone


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. - KENTAROTAKIZAWA/CC BY 2.0 VIA FLICKR
Get all the pictures of Queen you never knew you needed to see.
kentarotakizawa/CC BY 2.0 via Flickr


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.
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Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.