What's almost as enjoyable as listening to music? Reading about it! At Paradise Found, we have a large selection of new and used music books. Here are a few of my favorites of the genre. If you can't find it on our shelves, let us know and we'll order it for you.
Bob Dylan--Chronicles Volume 1
This 2004 release read more like a fever dream than a traditional autobiography, focusing on Dylan's state of mind as he discovered and rediscovered his muse at different points of his prolific career. With precise recollection and stunning artistry, the man from Hibbing showed everyone else how it's done. Notable passages included the author struggling for inspiration in 1987 only to be shown the way by soon-to-be accompanist and Dylan fanboy Jerry Garcia, and arguing with famed producer Daniel Lanois about the ethereal sound that would come to define Time Out of Mind, his 1997 comeback LP.0
Steve Gorman--Hard to Handle
Gorman founded The Black Crowes with brothers Chris and Rich Robinson in the suburbs of Atlanta. What sets this 2019 book apart from most rock autobiographies is the massive amounts of vitriol the drummer unleashes on his former bandmates. Whether he's taking the older Chris to task for shifting positions regarding corporate sponsorship or berating the younger Rich for alienating Jimmy Page at a time when he was helping resurrect the band's career, Hard to Handle is essentially one long diatribe--without even the obligatory section on the author's youth--that casts the classic rockers in a new and negative light. One highlight is Kurt Russell advising Gorman to bet the under on the likely length of the union between his stepdaughter Kate Hudson and Chris as they celebrated at the couple's glitzy Aspen wedding.
It's common knowledge that Richards is a great rhythm guitar player who's imbibed every intoxicating substance on earth while still living to talk about it. But who knew that he'd be such a funny, highly engaging author? 2010's Life finds Richards dishing about hanging with blues legends and diving deep into his relationship with brother-from-another-mother Mick Jagger.
The late Levon Helm's This Wheel's on Fire, released in 1993, was a compelling look at life inside The Band. Helm made no bones about his displeasure with Robbie Robertson's disbanding the group after The Last Waltz concert/film in 1978. Robertson's 2016 memoir told his side of the story in persuasive fashion, with the author standing his ground but also displaying regret about the way the relationships between him and other band members faded in the years after the split. Robertson's notable tales include going on the road as a teenager, reconnecting with his Jewish gangster biological father, and playing "The Weight," arguably his most famous composition, for Bob Dylan for the first time. (Robertson will be interviewed at the Boulder International Film Festival on March 6 as part of a showing of Band of Brothers, the new Band documentary inspired by this book.)
Patti Smith--Just Kids
Smith has been setting her spoken word poetry to music from the beginning of her career, so it certainly wasn't unexpected that she'd take to memoir writing like a fish to water. This 2010 book--the first and best of the three she's penned in the last decade--focused mostly on her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe but also gave readers a front-row seat to the bohemian energy oozing out of so many rooms at the famed Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan in the sixties and seventies, the setting referenced in songs by Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and many others.
Five more worth your time: Bill Graham/Robert Greenfield--My Life Inside Rock and Out; Peter Guralnick--Last Train to Memphis; Todd Snider--I Never Met a Story I Didn't Like: Mostly True Tall Tales; Warren Zanes--Tom Petty: The Biography; Crystal Zevon--I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon.