2021 has been a busy year for music book releases. Between Brandi Carlile’s hard-hitting memoir, “Broken Horses,” and former New York Times music critic Kelefa Sanneh’s in-depth examination of popular music history in “Major Labels,” there are some great reads. to discover. We’ve made it easy for you to find the perfect read for every bookworm on your shopping list this year (and maybe get yourself a little something, too.)
For industry nerds
“Tarzan Economics” by Will Page (published April 1, 2021 via Simon & Schuster LTD)
Spotify Chief Economist Will Page talks about his experience leading the company through disruptive market changes. Business people in all fields will have something to learn from this book.
“The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music” by Dave Grohl (published October 5, 2021 via Simon & Schuster UK)
From Nirvana to The Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl has played roles in several training groups over the years. Finally, he writes about his experiences in industry, on the road and from the throne (the throne of the drum, that is to say) in his new autobiography.
“Long Players: Writers on the Albums That Shaped Them” edited by Tom Gatti (published June 10, 2021 via Bloomsbury Publishing PLC)
Fifty authors tell about the albums that influenced their writing in this compilation edited by Tom Gatti. An alluring marriage between the world of music and the world of literature, this book is perfect for industry nerds and book rats.
For history buffs
“The Musical Human” by Michael Spitzer (published April 13, 2021 via Bloomsbury Publishing)
Michael Spitzer explores the historical relationship between humans and noise in this insightful read. An in-depth look at how music consumption and production has evolved over time, this book is aimed at detail-minded people who don’t mind slow burn.
âBessie Smithâ by Jackie Kay (posted February 18, 2021 via Faber & Faber)
Children’s poet and author Jackie Kay takes a break from her usual style and chronicles the life of Bessie Smith in this new genre-changing book. This read is perfect for fans of the blues, Bessie, and non-traditional biographies.
âMusic is a Storyâ by Amir Questlove Thompson (posted October 19, 2021 via Abrams Image)
Amir Thompson (Questlove) offers a unique history lesson with music as the centerpiece from 1971 to the present in this new release. Each chapter focuses on a different year and features playlists, personal anecdotes, and an inviting journey into the musical past for readers.
For the fangirls
“You Are Beautiful And You Are Alone: ââThe Biography Of Nico” by Jennifer Otter Bickerdike (published August 10, 2021 via Hachette Books)
Jennifer Otter Bickerdike offers an in-depth look at the life of German singer-songwriter Nico in this 2021 biography. A meditation on the beauty, music, and roles they played in Nico’s life, this book is perfect for fans of the late The Velvet Underground singer.
“Willie Nelson’s Letters To America” ââby Willie Nelson and Turk Pippin (posted June 29, 2021 via Harper Horizon)
There are few country singers alive today more iconic than Willie Nelson. Nelson delves into his memories, his words and his life in his new book which reads like sitting down for coffee with an old friend.
For the kids
“Music and How It Works: The Complete Guide for Kids” by Charlie Morland (published November 17, 2020 via DK Children)
Instruments, genres and music from all over the world are to be discovered in this 2021 release by Charlie Morland. Morland’s Complete Guide is perfect for people of all ages who are just starting to dive into the world of music.
âMuse: a Dream-Filled, Interactive Musical Adventureâ by Pierre Hache (published August 21, 2021 via Library and Archives of Canada)
Lily meets Muse and his blue ukulele and the couple soon embark on a whirlwind adventure that is also quite educational. This beautifully illustrated book includes interactive activities that develop rhythmic skills and understanding of music.