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Books for the Music Lover - or This List Goes to 11

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Like great literature, great music can move us, inspire us and nourish our creative spirit. Although there is no substitute for listening to a favorite song, artist or composer, sometimes writings about music can help us understand and appreciate the creative process, open our minds to new perspectives and maybe even help us discover something we didn’t know about the music we love. Here, we’ve compiled some of this year’s best books on music for the audiophile on your list.

The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781468315493
Availability: Backordered
Published: Harry N. Abrams - November 21st, 2017

Wagner’s four operas that make up The Ring of the Nibelung explore the relationship between love and earthly power and the themes of yearning and loss, all within a setting of a medieval legend. No recent study has examined the meaning of Wagner's masterpiece with the attention to detail and intellectual power that Roger Scruton brings to it in this inspiring account. THE RING OF TRUTH is an exploration of the drama, music, symbolism and philosophy of the Ring from a writer whose knowledge and understanding of the Western musical tradition are the equal of his capacities as a philosopher.

The Cake and the Rain: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781250058416
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: St. Martin's Press - April 18th, 2017

Jimmy Webb’s words have been sung to his music by a rich and deep roster of pop artists, including Glen Campbell, Art Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Donna Summer and Linda Ronstadt. Now, in his first memoir, Webb delivers a snapshot of his life from 1955 to 1970, from simple and sere Oklahoma to fast and fantastical Los Angeles, from the crucible of his family to the top of his longed-for profession, and of course, as the title might suggest, the story behind one of pop music’s most unusual songs. A fascinating account from the pen of a most original musical talent.

Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780451494023
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - November 7th, 2017

Mauceri, music director of Pittsburgh Opera, draws on his 50-year experience conducting classical and popular repertoires with orchestras around the world for this combination history and guide that demystifies the secrets of the baton for a new generation of aspiring conductors. Above all, Mauceri demonstrates what it’s like to work closely with brilliant conductors, bringing their artistry to life.

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374248130
Availability: Backordered
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - October 17th, 2017

Drawing on in-depth interviews with Mitchell, her friends, and her musical associates, Yaffe paints a colorful and riveting portrait of a songwriter who has continually broken boundaries and explored new musical territories. In lively, bright prose, Yaffe traces Roberta Joan Anderson from her birth in Alberta, Canada, in 1943, through her early bout of polio, her marriage to Chuck Mitchell in 1964, and the birth of her daughter. The combination of fine writing and extensive access make this the definitive biography of a gifted songwriter and musician.

Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of The Rock Stars Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250124128
Availability: Not in store - usually arrives in 3 - 5 business days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - November 21st, 2017

In this celebration of the era of rock stardom, David Hepworth takes us from 1955 to 1995, with every year revolving around one particular story. From John Lennon meeting Paul McCartney at Woolton Village Fete, to Jerry Lee Lewis arriving in London with his teenage bride, David Bowie retiring Ziggy Stardust, Prince re-branding himself, Bruce Springsteen recording “Born to Run,” and more, this is a delight to dip into and discover new things. Full of sly humor, and stories of astounding excess, and a track list to accompany each decade, readers will be glued to the pages.

Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781101874370
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - October 24th, 2017

A drug-addled journey through the history of rock and roll’s most important magazine and it’s narcissistic co-founder and publisher Jann Wenner. Drawn from dozens of hours of interviews, this biography reveals how Wenner manufactured an unforgettable cultural mythology in story and image every other week for five decades. STICKY FINGERS is the story of how one man's ego and ambition captured the 1960s youth culture of rock and roll and turned it into a hothouse of fame, power, politics, and riches that would last for fifty years.

Depeche Mode: Monument Cover Image
ISBN: 9781617755934
Availability: Not in store - usually arrives in 3 - 5 business days
Published: Akashic Books - November 7th, 2017

The blurb on the back cover boasts “The most complete book on Depeche Mode. Ever.” And it is no joke. With chapters dedicated to each of Depeche Mode's studio albums, bookended by sections on their roots in Basildon, Essex, and on the international fan cult that surrounds them, Monument presents literally thousands of obscure pressings, collectable misprints, rare promos and pieces of memorabilia. Vinyl sleeves and labels are documented in minute photographic detail.  This is very much the territory of the serious collector and superfan.

The Authorized Roy Orbison Cover Image
ISBN: 9781478976547
Availability: Not in store - usually arrives in 3 - 5 business days
Published: Center Street - October 17th, 2017

The first ever estate-sanctioned Roy Orbison book, THE AUTHORIZED ROY ORBISON, written by Wesley, Roy Jr. and Alex Orbison with the help of Jeff Slate features more than 300 photographs, many never-before seen. The book spotlights Orbison as a young child, following him all the way through to the peak of his stardom and up to his tragic death in December 1988 at just 52 years old. A wonderful new glimpse into the life of musical icon.

Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062364685
Availability: Not in store - usually arrives in 3 - 5 business days
Published: Ecco - July 4th, 2017

Drawing from a wealth of sources as well as on exclusive interviews with Sarah Vaughan’s friends and former colleagues, QUEEN OF BEBOP unravels the many myths and misunderstandings that have surrounded Vaughan while offering insights into this notoriously private woman, her creative process, and, ultimately, her genius. Equal parts biography, criticism, and good old-fashioned American success story, QUEEN OF BEBOP is the definitive biography of a hugely influential artist.

The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307379078
Availability: Backordered
Published: Pantheon - November 7th, 2017

With verve and an infectious love of music, jazz critic Friedwald tells the stories of 57 jazz and pop albums that have become benchmarks by which subsequent recordings have been measured. Fans and critics are likely to argue about Friedwald’s choices, but his passionate description of each album in this indispensable guide will drive readers to listen to the albums once again, or for the first time.

Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062207654
Availability: Not in store - usually arrives in 3 - 5 business days
Published: Dey Street Books - April 25th, 2017

DREAMING THE BEATLES is not another biography of the Beatles, or a song-by-song analysis of the best of John and Paul. DREAMING THE BEATLES tells the story of how four lads from Liverpool became the world’s biggest pop group, then broke up—but then somehow just kept getting bigger. In this collection of essays. Sheffield tells the story of what this ubiquitous band means to a generation who grew up with the Beatles music on their parents’ stereos and their faces on T-shirts. Their music doesn’t belong to the past—it belongs to right now, Sheffield argues. This book is a celebration of that music, showing why the Beatles remain the world’s favorite thing—and how they invented the future we’re all living in today.