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Selected Biographies and Memoirs
Here are some biographies and autobiographies of musicians. Find more in the catalog by utilizing search terms such as:
- Singers -- Biography
- Rock groups -- Biography
You can search by performer or musician name, as well as by music genre.
Call Number: ML420 .W553 A3 1986
Wilson and her three Detroit high school friends had big dreams when they formed the Primettes in 1959, but it wasn't until Motown's Berry Gordy reduced them to a trio, suggested a name change, and insisted Diana Ross sing lead that things started to happen. By summer 1965, eight months after their first #1 single, the Supremes were Motown's biggest act. Success meant furs, limos, lunches with royalty; also jealousies and friction, especially after the ambitious Ross became the star.
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl
Call Number: ML420.B8196 A3 2015
From the guitarist of the pioneering band Sleater-Kinney, the book Kim Gordon says "everyone has been waiting for" and a New York Times Notable Book of 2015-- a candid, funny, and deeply personal look at making a life--and finding yourself--in music. Before Carrie Brownstein became a music icon, she was a young girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest just as it was becoming the setting for one the most important movements in rock history. Seeking a sense of home and identity, she would discover both while moving from spectator to creator in experiencing the power and mystery of a live performance. With Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein and her bandmates rose to prominence in the burgeoning underground feminist punk-rock movement that would define music and pop culture in the 1990s. They would be cited as "America's best rock band" by legendary music critic Greil Marcus for their defiant, exuberant brand of punk that resisted labels and limitations, and redefined notions of gender in rock.
Call Number: ML420.D78 R6 2007
Born on February 18, 1965 to a sixteen-year-old single mom, Andre Young, AKA Dr. Dre, co-founded the notorious rap group N.W.A. The group was one of the most successful hip-hop groups of the late 1980s and, most importantly, started what the media quickly dubbed Gangsta Rap. His departure from N.W.A. was a story right out of a pulp fiction novel. His new mentor, Suge Knight, allegedly used guns, baseball bats and a kidnap threat to get Dr. Dre released from his contract. Dre and Knight went on to build Death Row Records and turned it into a multi-billlion dollar company. Yet despite its unprecedented success with stars such as Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac Shakur, the company quickly unraveled in a firestorm of rivalries, greed, violence, and scrutiny by both the government and the media. Not one to fade into the background, Dr. Dre's next move was to start his own record company, Aftermath Entertainment. As CEO, he discovered and created new stars like Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game, and Eve. In this essential addition to any music section, award-winning author Ronin Ro details the rise, fall, and resurrection of one of the biggest names in rap music.
The Ballad of Bob Dylan
Call Number: ML420.D98 E67 2011
Drawing on revelatory interviews, a rich analysis oflyrics, and a lifelong study of one of the greatest songwriters of our time,Daniel Mark Epstein delivers a singular, nuanced, and insightful examination ofBob Dylan--the poet, the musician, and the man. Interweaving in-depthconversations with Dylan collaborators and contemporaries, including Eric Andersen,Tom Paxton, Woody Guthrie's daughter Nora Guthrie, Ramblin'Jack Elliott, Pete Seeger, Maria Muldaur, John P.Hammond, and many others, Epstein crafts a vivid and unforgettable portrait ofthe inimitable poet and performer. Readers of Christopher Ricks' Dylan's Visions of Sin, the Dylanautobiography, Chronicles, or Sean Wilentz's Dylan inAmerica, as well as fans enthralled by expository musician stories, such asKeith Richards' Life and PattiSmith's Just Kids, will be captivatedby Epstein's unprecedented and incisive look at Bob Dylan, music's mostineffable creator.
Respect: the Life of Aretha Franklin
Call Number: ML420.F778 R57 2014
The definitive biography of the Queen of Soul from acclaimed music writer David Ritz. Aretha Franklin began life as the golden daughter of a progressive and promiscuous Baptist preacher. Raised without her mother, she was a gospel prodigy who gave birth to two sons in her teens and left them and her native Detroit for New York, where she struggled to find her true voice. It was not until 1967, when a white Jewish producer insisted she return to her gospel-soul roots, that fame and fortune finally came via "Respect" and a rapidfire string of hits. She has evolved ever since, amidst personal tragedy, surprise Grammy performances, and career reinventions.
Call Number: ML420.H387 A3 2010
The founder of a cult rock band shares her outrageous tale of growing up much faster than planned. In 1985, Kristin Hersh was just starting to find her place in the world. After leaving home at the age of fifteen, the precocious child of unconventional hippies had enrolled in college while her band, Throwing Muses, was getting off the ground amid rumors of a major label deal. Then everything changed: she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and found herself in an emotional tailspin; she started medication, but then discovered she was pregnant. An intensely personal and moving account of that pivotal year, Rat Girl is sure to be greeted eagerly by Hersh's many fans.
Call Number: ML420.N6 H69 2015
Lyrical visionary, enduring style icon, and one indispensable fifth of post-Peter Green megaband Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks is one of the most recognizable figures in rock 'n' roll history--very much Fleetwood Mac's "Queen Bee," as Mick Fleetwood himself described her. With gold and qua#65533;druple platinum solo albums under her beaded belt, Stevie Nicks has enjoyed the ultimate in rock 'n' roll success as a recording artist--but this charmed life has come as a result of hard graft, self-belief, and a devotion to creativity above all; hers has been a journey of intense highs and lows. This new biography, a celebration of the Stevie Nicks phenomenon, takes us on her journey from peripatetic Midwest childhood to her explosion onto the music scene as chiffon-swathed rock goddess, right up to present day.
Books on music history and criticism
We have a strong collection of resources on music history and criticism. Below you will find some of our latest additions. You can browse the shelves; similar books are located in ML section of the stacks. Or search the catalog for more.
Suggested subject headings:
- Popular music -- United States -- History and criticism
- Rock music -- United States -- History and criticism
To search for critiques of a particular musician, add the phrase "criticism and interpretation" after the artist's name. Such as:
- Springsteen, Bruce -- Criticism and interpretation
Call Number: ML3477 .P44 2016
We are what we listen to. That's the premise of this study of 100 songs that have shaped and defined the American experience, from the Colonial period to the present. Explores numerous subtopics related to the songs. Uses a research-based approach to explore the historical and cultural background behind America's hits.
More Songwriters on Songwriting
Call Number: ML3477 .Z64 2016
This book goes to the heart of the creative process with in-depth interviews with many of the world's greatest songwriters. Covering every genre of popular music from folk, rock 'n' roll, Broadway, jazz, pop, and modern rock, this is a remarkable journey through some sixty years of popular songwriting.
Hip Hop Raised Me
Call Number: ML3531 .D48 2016
The definitive volume on the essence, experience, and energy that is hip hop, and its massive and enduring impact over the last forty years. It examines the crucial role of hip hop in society.
The History of Rock and Roll
Call Number: ML3534 .W32 2016
This book covers the first half of the history of rock & roll--from the 1920s, when the music of rambling medicine shows mingled with the songs of vaudeville and minstrel acts to create the very early sounds of country and rhythm and blues, to the rise of the first independent record labels post-World War II, and concluding in December 1963, just as an immense change in the airwaves took hold and the Beatles prepared for their first American tour.
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Call Number: ML3470 .S73 2014
A monumental work of musical history, tracing the story of pop music through individual songs, bands, musical scenes, and styles. It covers the birth of rock, soul, R&B, punk, hip hop, indie, house, techno, and more.
Books on music theory and composition
Here are some selected books on music theory and composition. Search the catalog for more. Or browse the shelves in the ML-MT section of the stacks.
- Music theory -- Elementary works
- Music -- Instruction and study
Basic Elements of Music
Call Number: ML460 .P3115 2016
Introduces readers to a wide range of knowledge essential for a well-rounded understanding of music. This primer surveys the history of music and the composers who made that history; the history of instrument families and how the instruments function; an introduction to the science of sound and sound production; the various types of ensembles; and the fundamentals of music theory, form in music, musical notation, and music vocabulary.
Basic Music Theory
Call Number: MT7 .H25 2009
Takes you through the sometimes confusing world of written music with a clear, concise style that is at times funny and always friendly. The book is written by an experienced teacher using methods refined over more than ten years in his private teaching studio and in schools.
Composing Electronic Music
Call Number: MT724 .R73 2015
Electronic music evokes new sensations, feelings, and thoughts in both composers and listeners. Opening the door to an unlimited universe of sound, it engages spatialization as an integral aspect of composition and focuses on sound transformation as a core structural strategy.
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