Ten Great Music Biographies
Sylvie Simmons author of the new Leonard Cohen biography was out last month for the Sydney Writers Festival, and we think it’s one of the best music biographies out there, so we thought we’d let you know what we think are 10 of the best.
I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons
The ultimate Cohen guide, Simmons gives fans a detailed insight into the life of a young kid from Montreal to the highly proclaimed author, poet and lyrical god – “the singer-songwriter’s singer-songwriter”. I’m Your Man documents the high’s as well as the low’s of Cohen’s long-lived and often hypnotic career. Finally a fabulous rendition that properly credits it’s subject. “Hallelujah!”
Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis
For a musician who has spent the better half of his life completely wasted or on some form of drug high, it is truly amazing that Anthony Kiedis was able to write this book let alone front one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Kiedis gives sobering account of his not so sober life in a way that could not and should not be told by any other.
Life by Keith Richards
Shortlisted for the Galaxy National Book Awards: Telegraph Biography of the Year in 2011, Keith Richards’ Life is a tell all bio that spares the secrets and reputation of no-one… Not even his own. A great rock-story that shares Richards’ life of music, women and everything in between.
Heavier Than Heaven by Charles R. Cross
When it comes to biographies of the music worlds great Charles R. Cross can do no wrong. Heavier Than Heaven gives the ultimate behind-the-scenes account of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. With references from over 400 interviews with friends and family and excerpts from Cobain’s very own Journals this biography gives a gritty and truthful account of Cobain’s 27 years.
How to Make Gravy by Paul Kelly
“Give him two verses with a chorus or 550 pages, but he won’t waste a word” – We could not put it any better. How to Make Gravy is an A-Z of Paul Kelly’s songs with a tale that follows after. Each one different to the next, the stories touch on his personal and family life as well as times on tour. Kelly even throws in some song writing how-to’s and personal confessions which make this book one-of-a-kind.
Pleasure and Pain: My Life by Chrissy Amphlett
Her story, told her way. From life in Geelong , touring with The Divynals and everything inbetween, Pleasure and Pain gives a personal account of Amphlett’s sometimes thrilling, sometimes heart breaking life. A must read for the fans.
Amy, My Daughter by Mitch Winehouse
Following her death in 2011, Winehouse’s father tells her story, the entire story. Mitch Winehouse takes you on a journey through her troublesome youth, her rise to stardom and dissects her overly publicized struggle with addiction. All in all, this book is tribute to a much loved daughter and an iconic music figure who has truly left her mark on the music world.
Room Full of Mirrors by Charles R. Cross
Another tale of a music great taken too young. A well researched, and meticulous account of the short lived life of Jimi Hendrix. Even with the 40 year gap since Hendrix has taken the stairway to rock and roll heaven, Cross truly enables fans to visit his challenging childhood and adolescence in Seattle, and his incredible yet short-lived rise to celebrity, making this book a full-on Experience.
Slash: The Autobiography by Slash and Anthony Bozza
This is Slash unplugged, the inside story of Guns ‘N’ Roses and how they came to be a band who’s music defined an era. One would assume it’s just another rock ‘n’ roll cliche, which in a way it is, but the thing that sets it apart is the rawness of the content and the brutal honesty that comes from such a notoriously private guitarist.
Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young
‘Waging Heavy Peace’, is one of Neil Young’s most insightful pieces of writing, reflecting on his youth in Canada, to his times with Buffalo Springfield Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crazy Horse, and all the way through his highly successful solo career. There’s been plenty of bios on old Mr Young, but his long awaited, highly anticipated story written by Neil himself stands a little higher above the rest.