The 11 Best Rock Music Books

7 min read

Rock music has been around for generations and captivated the hearts of many. With its unique sound and hard-hitting lyrics, it is no wonder readers everywhere have a deep appreciation for rock’s lasting influence on society. To honor this beloved genre, here are some of the best books about rock music that offer an insightful look into its history and culture. From biography to trivia, these reads explore all aspects of rock from various angles—allowing readers to get up close and personal with their favorite artists in an engaging way.

  1. The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music

    The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music
    Dave Grohl
    Published in 2021

    The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music is an inspiring New York Times Bestseller by Dave Grohl, a musician with experience ranging from Nirvana to the Foo Fighters. Written in his own hand, this book chronicles Grohl’s life as he navigates through dreams of being a young musician while exploring collaborations with icons such as Iggy Pop or Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall. With humorous anecdotes and honest writing, The Storyteller provides readers insight into music stardom alongside tales of fatherhood that will leave you feeling inspired. His journey shines light on what it means to be an artist dedicated to their craft, making for essential reading for any fan or aspiring dreamer alike. A captivating account packed full of stories about performing at the Academy Awards or jamming with AC/DC and Little Richard; The Storyteller not only makes its way onto Audible’s ‘Best Of The Year list’ but also receives recognition from CNN, Rolling Stone Magazine, Billboard & more! For anyone seeking creative inspiration – there really is no better place to start than here.

  2. The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present

    The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present
    Paul McCartney, Paul Muldoon
    Published in 2021

    The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present is a two-volume set of books that celebrates the decades-long career and musical genius of Paul McCartney. Containing 154 definitive song lyrics accompanied by captivating, personal narratives from his life experiences, this collection gives readers unparalleled insight into how these iconic songs were written and who inspired them. The accompanying images from McCartney’s private archives are worth exploring in their own right as they include hundreds of previously unseen photographs, handwritten texts, and paintings. As a whole package – with its excellent design quality – it makes for an unmissable experience for any fan or music enthusiast looking to deepen their appreciation of one of the greatest songwriters ever known. Undoubtedly deserving its #1 New York Times Bestseller status, The Lyrics is both educational and enjoyable in equal measure; offering up thrilling stories behind each piece while allowing readers to explore uniquely intimate moments between artists and admirers alike.

  3. Jimmy Page: The Anthology

    Jimmy Page: The Anthology
    Jimmy Page
    Published in 2020

    Jimmy Page: The Anthology provides an extraordinary insight into the life and career of one of rock’s greatest figures. In this lavish tome, fans are granted unprecedented access to Jimmy Page’s private archive with photographs depicting iconic items such as his double neck guitar, dragon-suit stage outfits and white embroidered poppy suit. Alongside these artefacts is a collection of handwritten diaries, rare vinyl pressings and previously unpublished photos which form an impressive visual record of the legendary musician’s past six decades. His own personal narrative also offers readers a unique glimpse inside his creative process; from what inspired him in early days as a session musician to how he crafted Led Zeppelin’s timeless songs. This book truly captures the history behind music iconography that has stood the test of time – making it essential reading for any fan or collector interested in exploring the fascinating journey of Jimmy Page’s career.

  4. Rock Trivia Madness

    Rock Trivia Madness
    Bill O’Neill, Ray Connor
    Published in 2017

    Rock Trivia Madness is the perfect book for fans of music trivia and rock history. Co-authors Bill O’Neill and Steve Murray have collated fascinating facts about Rock stars spanning from the 1960s to 1990s, making this an essential compendium for anyone keen on learning more about their favorite artists. From Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” to Nirvana’s “Nevermind”, readers will discover how these iconic albums helped shape our lives, as well as uncovering wild stories behind them; such as The Velvet Underground helping overthrow communists in Poland or Sarah McLachlan saving a hip hop legend’s life. Furthermore, with sections dedicated to each decade plus quizzes at the end of each chapter it serves as both informative entertainment and interactive fun! Well worth investigation by any die hard fan looking to get schooled in rock music history!

  5. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

    Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
    Legs McNeil, Gillian McCain
    Published in 2016

    Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain is an essential read for any music lover. It provides a vivid insight into the turbulent birth of punk rock with riveting interviews from its key players including Iggy Pop, Richard Hell, and the Ramones. This twentieth anniversary edition features new photos and an afterword which adds to this thrilling narrative. Full of sex, drugs, and mayhem – it’s easy to see why this book continues to captivate readers in 2021 as much as when it was first published over two decades ago. Engagingly written with plenty of anecdotes about each artist’s experience during that era- Please Kill Me offers a raw glimpse into one of the most nihilistic musical movements ever seen. An unmissable journey through time that will leave you wishing you were there!

  6. Acid for the Children: A Memoir

    Acid for the Children: A Memoir
    Flea, Patti Smith
    Published in 2019

    Acid for the Children: A Memoir is a captivating coming-of-age story of Red Hot Chili Peppers co-founder Flea’s life before fame. Through hilariously witty anecdotes and poetic meditations, this raw and riveting memoir takes readers on an intimate journey through his formative years in Australia, New York City suburbs, and Los Angeles. From partying to petty crimes to finding music as a higher meaning that opened him up to new possibilities, Flea shares with us his personal struggles with insecurity and family dynamics while embracing the potential fun or danger around every corner. His dreamy prose brings 1970s/80s LA alive full of vibrant characters from within the artistry community he found himself part of – ultimately leading him to create one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest bands. An inspiring read about resilience despite hardship; Acid for the Children is sure to be enjoyed by fans old and new alike!

  7. Led Zeppelin All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track

    Led Zeppelin All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track
    Jean-Michel Guesdon, Philippe Margotin
    Published in 2018

    This latest offering in the fan-favorite ‘All The Songs’ series is an informative and eye-opening look into the groundbreaking recording history of Led Zeppelin. Through detailed studio stories, readers can learn about how their classic hits such as ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘The Lemon Song’ were created amidst a chaotic schedule while on tour; carrying masters of recordings around in steamer trunks! There are also details about lyrics, albums covers, instruments used and engineers who helped create iconic sounds like that from “When The Levee Breaks”. With over 500 photographs and fascinating facts to boot, this book is essential for music fans – both those familiar with the band’s immense musical output or not – looking to explore more deeply into the legacy of one of rock’s most influential bands ever.

  8. Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen

    Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen
    Brad Tolinski, Chris Gill
    Published in 2021

    In Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen, music journalists Brad Tolinski and Chris Gill delve into the life of the celebrated rock guitarist who passed away in October 2020. This book is based on more than 50 hours of previously unreleased interviews they conducted with Eddie throughout his career, as well as conversations with family members, friends and colleagues. It gives readers an intimate look at how he overcame struggles early on to become a groundbreaking musician renowned for popularizing the tapping guitar solo technique. The authors also examine his brilliance as an inventor who changed the face of guitar manufacturing and take an unflinching look at his lifelong issues with social anxiety and substance abuse. Offering insights into both his triumphs and challenges, this definitive oral history is essential reading for fans new or old looking to get closer to one of rocks most influential figures ever – Eddie Van Halen

  9. Long Road: Pearl Jam and the Soundtrack of a Generation

    Long Road: Pearl Jam and the Soundtrack of a Generation
    Steven Hyden
    Published in 2022

    Long Road: Pearl Jam and the Soundtrack of a Generation by music critic Steven Hyden is an exploration into why one fan loves this legendary rock band. The book looks at how the group has transcended generations, selling 85 million albums worldwide and even being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Structured like a mix tape, each chapter serves as a reminder of their incredible journey – from early grunge days to now – while highlighting what made them so impactful for Gen-Xers growing up in uncertain times. With his signature blend of personal memoir, criticism and journalism, Hyden examines themes around progressivism and traditional male-dominated genres that have been pertinent across Pearl Jam’s career trajectory. Through exploring their vast catalogue with reverence, he helps readers connect with the legacy that these artists forged together; ultimately teaching us all how to remain true to ourselves through growth without compromise or concession. This book will be warmly welcomed by fans both old and new alike who are looking for ways to appreciate why Pearl Jam’s music resonates deeply today more than ever before.

  10. Life

    Life
    Keith Richards, James Fox
    Published in 2011

    Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life, is an engrossing and honest account of the guitarist’s extraordinary life. Starting from his early musical influences to becoming a founding member of the Rolling Stones, readers are given insight into Keith’s formative years and what inspired him to pursue music as a career. His relationship with Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg and Patti Hansen are explored in great detail alongside his notorious drug busts that have created an enduring image as an outlaw folk hero. Through candid anecdotes, he conveys something unique about playing on stage with his band mates among both small crowds or large stadiums alike. What makes this book so compelling is its disarming honesty throughout; it offers detailed and vivid images of how rock ‘n’ roll swept Britain and America by storm whilst also reflecting upon Richard’s own deep soul hunger for music which never left him over time. An endearing classic not just for fans but anyone interested in finding out more about one of modern culture’s most iconic figures; Life is truly spellbinding storytelling at its finest!

  11. Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me

    Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me
    Pattie Boyd, Penny Junor
    Published in 2008

    Pattie Boyd’s autobiographical book, Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me is a captivating read that provides an intimate look into her turbulent life as the muse of two of twentieth century music’s most iconic figures. With candidness and clarity in her prose she narrates how it felt to be bound to these men – both notorious for their wild lifestyles – while still managing to keep a gentle aura around them. Despite the heartbreaking aspects of this story, there are also light-hearted moments; making this memoir one that will draw you in from start to finish. An absolute must-read for any admirer of rock ‘n’ roll culture or anyone simply looking for some insight on what it means to live through a whirlwind romance with some of history’s greatest legends!

Additional resources

If you’re looking to learn more about rock music, the following blogs and websites provide useful and informative information:

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an interactive museum dedicated to the history of Rock Music.
  • AllMusic is a comprehensive online music database with reviews and artist biographies.
  • NPR Music provides a variety of articles, interviews, and reviews about Rock Music.
  • Rolling Stone Magazine is a popular magazine that covers the latest news and reviews in the rock music industry.
  • Ultimate Guitar is a website dedicated to providing guitar tabs and chords for all music, including many tabs for rock.
  • Our list of the best heavy metal books might also interest you.

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