Your favourite music biography?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by punkjazzben, Nov 23, 2013.


  1. punkjazzben

    punkjazzben Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    The two music biographies/histories I have enjoyed the most are 'Dream Brother' by David Browne and 'The Cello Suites' by Eric Siblin. Dream Brother is the story of both Tim and Jeff Buckley, and The Cello Suites is a combination of the biographies of J S Bach and Pablo Casals.

    What are your favourite musician biographies? Any must-reads?
  2. dlargent

    dlargent

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    Carrboro, NC
    The autobiography of Miles Davis is really great!
  3. HeavyJazz77

    HeavyJazz77 Supporting Member

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    Jan 26, 2013
    Location:
    Virginia
    +1 !!

    The Bill Bruford book is also fantastic.
  4. ack

    ack Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    The biography of Jim Morrison, "No One Here Gets Out Alive" was an interesting read.
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  6. thejumpcat

    thejumpcat thejumpcat Supporting Member

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    Location:
    metro-Detroit
    "Straight Life" Art Pepper
  7. DannyBob

    DannyBob

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

    Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favourite band, and even though this isn't by Flea, it's still a brilliant read
  8. ASATMAN

    ASATMAN Supporting Member

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    May 30, 2003
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    Kentucky
  9. Big John66

    Big John66

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    Feb 12, 2008
    I've gone through several books lately. The Sammy Hagar one was really entertaining. I just finished the Townshend book. If you're into the Who at all, it's a really good read.
  10. kylejamesbaker

    kylejamesbaker

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    Jul 7, 2011
    +1 for the Miles Davis autobio. I really wanna read Lemmy's. I bet that one is gnarly.
  11. synaesthesia

    synaesthesia

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    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    Read that, didn't like it - Read a few - made decision to stop, kills the taste of the music. Art Pepper lost some shine for me, and Paul Simon - what an arsehole he is to me now.

    Best bio - To be or not to be , Dizzy Gillespie
  12. ghostfather

    ghostfather

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2013
    Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, the two part Peter Guralnick biography of Elvis Presley is a really good read. Guralnick is a very strong writer - it would work well as a work of fiction. Amazing that it is based on an actual events and a real human.

    Dylan's Chronicles was good.

    My favorite music autobiography is How Bluegrass Destroyed My Life and Vampire Vultures by John Fahey. Hard to parse out the real from the unreal but such is life.
  13. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Non Serviam Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Scotia NY
    +1 to the Miles and Bruford books.

    Don't miss Mingus' "Beneath The Underdog", an autobiography told in novel form.

    "The Real Frank Zappa Book" is wildly entertaining and a quick read.
  14. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

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    Apr 2, 2013
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I used to read a lot of music biographies, but not so much these days. A few standouts that I recall:

    Miles Davis autobiography

    Hammer of the Gods (Led Zep)

    Grateful Dead biography (I forget the name of it)

    All the above will make you lose respect for the artists, especially Miles, but they are interesting reads.
  15. TigerInATrance

    TigerInATrance

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    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    NW New Jersey
    Searching For The Sound: My Life With The Grateful Dead by Phil Lesh
    Saucerful of Secrets: A Pink Floyd Odyssey by Nicholas Schaffner
  16. mpace

    mpace

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    J Garcia - Darkstar, and An American Life are good reads and I often go back to them for reference with shows, time periods, etc.
  17. Duuuuuuuuuude

    Duuuuuuuuuude

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Hawaii
    George Jones autobigraphy - I Lived to Tell It All. No mater what page you flip it open to it's a hilarious drinking story. "Well, there was this one time I git to drinkin'..."

    At one point he lived in in his Cadillac with a life size cutout of Hank Williams. He drank so much that he developed multiple personalities with different voices. One was Old Man that talked like Gabby Hayes and another was a duck named Dee-Doodle the Duck that quacked/talked like Donald Duck. He would get so drunk the two would argue with each other and the Hank Williams cutout. He once did a gig so plastered he sang the entire night as Dee-Doodle the Duck.

    He claims later in life that the mafia took out a giant life insurance policy on him and then would kidnap him and force him to do massive amounts of cocaine for days on end so he would OD. But George had such a high tolerance that he couldn't die.
  18. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Cincinnati
    +1's for "Miles" autobiography and "Beneath the Underdog". Both great reads with cool information and wonderfully controlled BS.
    Schindler's biography of Beethoven is quite good, they were personal friends.
    Stafford's bio of Charles Ives is informative, if you're a fan of Ives' music.
    And "Pops" the bio of Louis Armstrong is very good too.
  19. JimK

    JimK

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 1999
    Read all those (well, except Bruford's ...which has been on my radar since it's release).
    Recently read the Zappa book you mentioned-
    On a tangent, ex-Mother, ex-Turtle Howard Kaylan's recent bio is even better, IMO. Wildly entertaining.
  20. JimK

    JimK

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 1999
    ...been looking for a good Ives' bio. Thanks!

    EDIT: Is the author Jan Swafford?
  21. punkjazzben

    punkjazzben Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    Sounds like I need to check out the Miles Davis autobiography.

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