Conversations, VOLUME 6

Band Books Week: Celebrate With Us!!!

As you might already know, this week is Banned Books Week.

But really… Isn’t there only so much you can say about banned books? Make a list, tell stories about why and where they were banned, etc. Important work, but it does get a wee bit tired after while.  So, my  friend (and SLOW CHURCH co-author), wittily suggested that for something completely different, somebody should re-spin this event as BAND Books week.

So, taking John up on his idea, in honor of the very first Band Books Week, we are proud to offer our list of 20+ essential books on bands and popular music.

(This list is based largely on contributions from music writers and booksellers including: Kester Smith, Adam P. Newton, Dan Gibson, Sheldon Lesire and Josh Langhoff.  Huge thanks to our contributors!!!!

Use the comments below to tell us:
What books are missing from this list?
What books do not belong on this list and why?


 The Very Best of the Best…
(Start Reading Here)

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0316787531″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”222″ alt=”Celebrate Band Books Week!” ]
[easyazon-link asin=”0316787531″ locale=”us”]Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991[/easyazon-link]

By Michael Azerrad
This is the never-before-told story of the musical revolution that happened right under the nose of the Reagan Eighties–when a small but sprawling network of bands, labels, fanzines, radio stations, and other subversives reenergized American rock with punk rock’s do-it-yourself credo and created music that was deeply personal, often brilliant, always challenging, and immensely influential. This sweeping chronicle of music, politics, drugs, fear, loathing, and faith has been recognized as an indie rock classic in its own right.

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0312425791″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”222″]
[easyazon-link asin=”0312425791″ locale=”us”]Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation[/easyazon-link]

By Jeff Chang

Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop has been a generation-defining global movement. In a post-civil rights era rapidly transformed by deindustrialization and globalization, hip-hop gave voiceless youths a chance to address these seismic changes, and became a job-making engine and the Esperanto of youth rebellion. Hip-hop crystallized a multiracial generation’s worldview, and forever transformed politics and culture. But the epic story of how that happened has never been fully told . . . until now.

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0452289181″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”222″]  
[easyazon-link asin=”0452289181″ locale=”us”]Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music[/easyazon-link]
By Greil Marcus
Catch a train to the heart of rock ‘n’ roll with this essential study of the quintessential American art form. First published in 1975, Greil Marcus’s Mystery Train remains a benchmark study of rock ‘n’ roll and a classic in the field of music criticism. Focusing on six key artists — Robert Johnson, Harmonica Frank, Randy Newman, the Band, Sly Stone, and Elvis Presley — Marcus explores the evolution and impact of rock ‘n’ roll and its unique place in American culture.
[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0679720456″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”214″]  
[easyazon-link asin=”0679720456″ locale=”us”]Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic [/easyazon-link]
By Lester Bangs
Vintage presents the paperback edition of the wild and brilliant writings of Lester Bangs–the most outrageous and popular rock critic of the 1970s–edited and with an introduction by the reigning dean of rack critics, Greil Marcus.


[ Click to continue reading – Band Books Week… ]


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  1. While I do think Band Books is a fun idea, as a teacher educator, I always appreciate the celebration of Banned Books Week and think Christians ought to be the first to celebrate and advocate for freedom of reading materials in schools, classrooms and library. All too often, I am horrified to find that the group of protesters on the rampage about something is a group of Christians who oppose the inclusion of books, plays, poetry, and performances they have never actually seen or read.

  2. Erin Keane’s The Gravity Soundtrack would be a fine poetic contribution to this list!