2019 Fall Music Book Preview

Books Lists Music Books
2019 Fall Music Book Preview

Music books help us understand historical and cultural context, decode complex emotions and transport us to scenes that we never experienced firsthand. As we approach fall and back-to-school season, you might want to keep your summer reading list going or even pick up a book for the first time after several months of relaxing in the sun. The upcoming season is an incredible stretch for music memoirs, lyric collections and other various art books. We’re awaiting memoirs from three exceptional artists—Liz Phair, Patti Smith, and Tegan and Sara—a cookbook from Questlove, an oral history of French rockers Phoenix, lyric collections from Joni Mitchell and Iggy Pop, plus much more. Below are 10 notable music books to pick up this fall.

1. Amelia Davis – Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture (Aug. 20)


In this new book, readers can tag along with legendary rock ‘n’ roll photographer Jim Marshall to some of the most incredible concerts of the ’60s and ’70s. Along with his documentation of enigmatic greats like The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles, Marshall also captured participants of the various social movements and subcultures that changed the world, and readers get an intimate, unfiltered view of these influential political and cultural developments. With over 200 photos (and 70 of them published for the first time) from his lengthy career, compiled by Amelia Davis (Marshall’s assistant for the last 13 years of his life) Show Me the Picture is as much about the artistic flash of those decades as it is about those noble struggles. Purchase here. —Lizzie Manno

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.07.05 PM.png

2. María Hesse and Fran Ruiz – Bowie: An Illustrated Life (Sept. 6)


David Bowie’s life story has been told many times before—but never like this. Centered on María Hesse’s whimsical, full-color illustrations, this book depicts a semi-fictionalized version of Bowie’s life. While Bowie portrayed many larger-than-life characters in his music, this book attempts to turn Bowie himself into a similarly superhuman character, adding a few extra dashes of magic, wonder and awe into his already stunning life as an artist. You’ll find illustrations of a young Bowie and his family tree all the way through his most influential eras and his final chapter, Blackstar. Preorder here. —Lizzie Manno

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.07.05 PM.png

3. Neil Young and Phil Baker – To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Mission to Save High-Quality Audio (Sept. 9)


When Young isn’t releasing new music with Promise of the Real or Crazy Horse or participating in any number of films and reissues, he’s a man on a mission to improve digital audio quality. His newest book follows the sonic de-evolution of music consumption from analog to CDs to low-quality digital files, and it also chronicles his commitments to changing audio as we know it. “It takes you through how the sound was and is compromised by the tech and record companies, and instead of improving over time like other technologies, it has become worse,” Young says. “Our book also tells the business and development story behind Pono, and then, when people wanted the convenience of streaming, how we developed Xstream high resolution streaming, the highest quality streaming in the world, as you hear it at NYA [Neil Young Archives].” Preorder here. —Lizzie Manno

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.07.05 PM.png

4. Tegan and Sara – High School (Sept. 24)


Veteran indie-pop duo and identical twin sisters Tegan and Sara have been crushing teen hearts since the late ‘90s. The influential Canadian pop powerhouse and LGBTQ firebrand are now 20 years removed from their debut album Under Feet Like Ours, and they’ve decided to share the story of their formative years, rather than their rise to fame, in a new memoir called High School. It’s a coming-of-age story about their Calgary upbringing written by the pair in alternating chapters. Per a press release, “the book is a raw account of the drugs, alcohol, love, music, and friendship they explored in their formative years. High School captures the tangle of discordant and parallel memories of two sisters who grew up in distinct ways even as they lived just down the hall from each other.” Preorder here. —Lizzie Manno

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.07.05 PM.png

5. Patti Smith – Year of the Monkey (Sept. 24)


Whether it’s guttural, poetic lyricism or compassionate nonfiction, Patti Smith’s writing style and ability are truly unrivaled. As the National Book Award winner for 2010’s Just Kids and the author of another stunning memoir, 2015’s M Train, Smith is unveiling a new book titled Year of the Monkey—a collection of her writing from 2016 onwards. Smith’s words are paired with her own Polaroids as she explores aging, grief and the dire global embrace of right-wing nationalism. According to a press release, the book stretches across “California to the Arizona desert; to a Kentucky farm as the amanuensis of a friend in crisis; to the hospital room of a valued mentor; and by turns to remembered and imagined places, this haunting memoir blends fact and fiction with poetic mastery.” Preorder here. —Lizzie Manno

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.07.05 PM.png

6. Iggy Pop – ‘Til Wrong Feels Right (Oct. 1)


Iggy Pop, former frontman of The Stooges and one of punk’s first true greats, is releasing a collection of lyrics to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Stooges’ self-titled debut album. Iggy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with The Stooges in 2010, and he’s collaborated with everyone from David Bowie and Debbie Harry to Jarvis Cocker and Josh Homme in his five-decade-long career. ’Til Wrong Feels Right features original photos, illustrations, never-before-seen notes and memorabilia, short pieces by Iggy and commentary from music figures like Danny Fields and Blondie’s Chris Stein. This book is Iggy’s first official collection of lyrics, and it captures the mind of a punk giant, a Detroit legend and a vigorous, loose cannon. Preorder here. —Lizzie Manno

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.07.05 PM.png

7. Liz Phair – Horror Stories (Oct. 8)


Alt-rock hero Liz Phair released her groundbreaking debut album Exile in Guyville 25 years ago, and her feminist ethos has rubbed off on so many singer/songwriters, past and present. Rather than basking in past glory by taking a relatively safe trip down memory lane with her debut memoir Horror Stories, Liz Phair embraces the moments where she wasn’t necessarily proud of herself. Per a press release, the book “gathers up all our isolated shames” and “takes readers inside the most intimate junctures of Phair’s life, from facing her own bad behavior and the repercussions of betraying her fundamental values, to watching her beloved grandmother inevitably fade, to undergoing the beauty of childbirth while being hit up for an autograph by the anesthesiologist.” Preorder here. —Lizzie Manno

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.07.05 PM.png

8. Phoenix and Laura Snapes – Phoenix: Liberté, Égalité, Phoenix! (Oct. 15)


If there was ever a time to release a Phoenix book, it’s now. Band members Laurent Brancowitz, Christian Mazzalai, Thomas Mars, and Deck d’Arcy collaborated with journalist Laura Snapes to create Phoenix: Liberté, Égalité, Phoenix!, an oral history and archive that arrives 30 years after the band’s inception, about 20 years since their first album United and 10 years after their commercial breakthrough Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. When one of the best music journalists/critics around gets together with one of the best rock bands around, the result could only be something close to magic. Preorder here. —Ellen Johnson

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.07.05 PM.png

9. Questlove – Mixtape Potluck (Oct. 15)

unnamed (4).png

Questlove has forged a lot of waters in his creative endeavors. As the drummer for The Roots, he’s an all-star musician and collaborator, and he’s worked with everyone from Elvis Costello to Erykah Badu. But now he can add another name (and another endeavor) to his already-impressive list: Martha Stewart. The businesswoman and creative expert wrote the foreword for Questlove’s new cookbook, Mixtape Potluck, which incorporates favorite recipes from over 50 friends and personalities. Among the names are Natalie Portman, Amy Poehler and Stanley Tucci. To pair with the recipes, Questlove chose a song for each one of his guests, which he feels “best captures their unique creative energy.” Like the perfect playlist, a potluck is a conglomeration of different ideas that work together, and I can’t think of a better guide to show us how it’s done. Preorder here. —Ellen Johnson

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.07.05 PM.png

10. Joni Mitchell – Morning Glory on the Vine (Oct. 22)


If you’ve heard a Joni Mitchell album, you’ve seen her artwork. The songwriter and poet has painted self-portraits for a number of her albums, including Clouds and Both Sides Now. Now you can finally get your hands on reproductions of a whole bunch of her watercolor paintings (30, to be exact), as well as lyrics and poems, in the form of Morning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and Drawing. Mitchell originally assembled the book in 1971 and released about 100 copies to friends and family, and now it’ll be available to the public for the first time. The new book also includes a new foreword by Mitchell. Preorder here. —Ellen Johnson

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin