Music has come to form a major aspect of the UK’s national identity over the years. Since the likes of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones first came to prominence nearly half a century ago, Britain has prided itself on producing a steady stream of top musicians. If you’re an avid reader, the chances are you don’t want to waste your time reading a leaden tome that offers nothing in the way of entertainment of enlightenment. Luckily, there are some excellent music-related books out there which are well worth delving into.
Life – Keith Richards
The Rolling Stones guitarist and legendary rock ‘n’ roll wild man takes a look back at his tumultuous career in Life, his long-awaited autobiography. From his initial adolescent infatuation with Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry records to touring the world with one of the most successful bands in the history of rock music and narrowly avoiding a lengthy spell in a Canadian prison along the way, Richards shines a light on his complex personal life – and tells us more about those classic tunes while he’s at it.
Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
As frontman of the era-defining Madchester band the Happy Mondays, Shaun Ryder’s unique take on life on the fringes of respectable society propelled him to superstardom and earned him the undying admiration of Factory Records head honcho Tony Wilson. In Twisting My Melon, Ryder tells us about the ups and downs of his fame, from the heights of headlining Glastonbury Festival to the lows of his hard drug addiction and the turbulent recording of the Happy Mondays’ fourth album, Yes Please, which eventually split the band. Since reinvented as a reality TV star and once again fronting a reunited Mondays, Ryder finally tells his unique story in his own words.
Death of a Polaroid: A Manics Family Album – Nicky Wire
One of the most important British bands of the ’90s, the Manic Street Preachers’ unique blend of killer riffs, personal struggle and socialist politics earned them a devoted fanbase that continues to stick loyally by them even today, more than a quarter of a century after their formation. The Caerphilly trio even rebounded from the disappearance of guitarist Richey Edwards to hit new commercial heights in the mid-1990s. In Death of a Polaroid, chief lyricist Nicky Wire lets us take a look at the personal visual history of the band he has compiled over more than 20 years. The book illustrates the group’s evolution from angry punks to elder statesmen of British rock music.