Mar 7, 2019

World Book Day: music books I have read and should have read

This World Book Day piece on the Official Charts website reminds me that I haven't read as many music biographies as I should have done.

I remember reading Chuck D's Fight the Power: Rap, Race, and Reality twenty years ago and thinking he talked a lot about making money. And I tried to read Morrissey's List of the Lost before firing out this status update on Facebook:
"Morrissey's novel. I read some of it yesterday. You know how sometimes people write like teenagers with no knowledge of the well-worn amateur mistakes a lot of beginner writers make? The kind of adverb-strewn purple prose on which we look back and blush, with the sentences all imprecise and confused because when we were young that's how our minds worked? Morrissey should aim to get to that level before putting out another book."
A friend once gifted me John Lennon's nonsensical books, and I really value them. And I've probably read more histories of rave than is wise for one person. I inhale almost anything Underworld-related. Oh and I used to read the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles even though it was just lists.

The problem is when you're buying a musician's book, it could be coffee table dribble with glossy but anodyne photographs, or some kind of ego trip from a lyricist who thinks they can write something other than lyrics.

Or if you're Madonna, just a load of people having sex all over the pages and everything sticking together. Yeeps.

The most interesting one in those Official Charts picks is Stormzy's Rise Up, which launches his #Merky Books imprint that's dedicated to encouraging young writers with submission opportunities and internships. He's a good chap, that Stormzy.

As for my should-read pile, I should read How Music Works by David Byrne. I need to get my hands on that Beastie Boys Book that came out before Christmas. And I'd read a right-riveting biography of Kate Bush, if there's one knocking about.

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