6 Great Rock n’ Roll Biographies
By: Theresa and Izzi
Summer always permits more time, more sunlight, less homework (if you still do that stuff). Who wants to lay out in the sun and just lay there? No, these warm months provide a great opportunity to pick up a good book. We’ve compiled a list of 10 rock n’ roll biographies that will inspire you to pick up an instrument, go to a show, or just live a rockin’ life.
Tina Turner, I, Tina: My Life Story (1986). Tina Turner’s memoir records an extraordinary music career, her violent marriage to Ike Turner, and her strength to come out on top despite a racist and sexist music industry in the 1950s and 60s. It’s an inspirational tale, sure, but not because of any false narratives of transformation; what emerges is not a superwoman exactly, but instead a superwoman who simply does what she has to do to keep going.
Patti Smith, Just Kids (2010). You’ve read this already, right? Right? Because if you haven’t read Patti Smith’s tribute to her decades-long friendship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, you need to do so right now. One of the single most beautiful books ever written.
Viv Albertine, Clothes Clothes Clothes. Music Music Music. Boys Boys Boys (2014). I’m kind of obsessed with this book right now. Viv Albertine’s memoir traces the rise and fall of The Slits as well as Albertine’s life off the stage. We get a unique viewpoint and a unique writing voice (the first chapter, “Masturbation,” begins with the terse sentence “Never did it. Never wanted to do it.”) from one of the most important women in rock.
Bebe Buell, Rebel Heart: An American Rock n’ Roll Journey (2001). Bebe Buell’s autobiography tells the amazing story of her introduction to rock n’ roll, moving to New York City to become a model and falling in love with the rock n’ roll lifestyle. Buell dated many high profile rockstars and then became a musician herself. This book gives VIP access and intimate details about her life with musicians such as Todd Rundgren, Steven Tyler, Elvis Costello and many others!
Lydia Lunch, Paradoxia, A Predator’s Diary (1997). While not a long book, this is steamy read for the summer. Lunch writes of her sexcapades from a teen to adulthood in her bold and no-nonsense way. She is so poetic in her writing style that this edgy book flows like a twisted nightmare/daydream.
Alice Bag, Violence Girl (2011). We love Alice Bag, our Issue 001 cover girl!! Violence Girl tells the story of Alice’s youth and transformation into a badass musician. It also gives great history of the LA punk scene as well because she was there for it all!