Books·Holiday Gift Guide

10 books for the music lover on your list

Here are 10 books that will have them singing your praises.

Have a music lover on your holiday shopping list? Here are 10 books that will have them singing your praises.

You can see the complete CBC Books gift guide here.

Lightfoot by Nicholas Jennings

Lightfoot chronicles the remarkable life of legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. (Penguin Canada, Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito)

What it's about: Gordon Lightfoot has been called Canada's greatest songwriter. Known for classic songs like The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and If You Could Read My Mind, Lightfoot helped define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s. Journalist and biographer Nicholas Jennings had total access to the legendary troubadour in order to document a long and storied career. 

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane with Neil Martinez-Belkin

Gucci Mane is a U.S.-based hip-hop artist. (Simon & Schuster/Wikimedia Commons)

What it's about: Gucci Mane is one of hip-hop's most prolific artists. He began writing his memoir while serving two years in a maximum-security prison for federal weapon charges. He was released in 2016, and The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, co-written with music journalist Neil Martinez-Belkin, reflects back on the artist's career and shares his transformation from a troubled young artist into a sober, positive person.

Beautiful Scars by Tom Wilson

Beautiful Scars is the long-awaited memoir from Hamilton-born rock musician Tom Wilson. (Doubleday Canada)

What it's about: Blackie and the Rodeo Kings' Tom Wilson asked his parents a lot of questions growing up. Why were his mother Bunny and his father George so much older than his friends' parents? Why didn't they have any photos of him as a newborn? As he became known around the world for his music, he grew more haunted by the feeling that he didn't know himself. He didn't learn the truth until he was 53 years old: his parents were really his great-aunt and uncle and he had been adopted. He shares this remarkable journey in Beautiful Scars.

Good Booty by Ann Powers

Good Booty is an explorative look at how sexual attitudes have shaped today's music. (HarperCollins/Wikimedia Commons)

What it's about: Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music may just be the definitive record of how music and sexuality intersect in American pop music. It takes you on a journey through the last couple centuries of American music — from gospel to blues to jazz; from rock to disco to pop — to tell the story of how sex gave pop music its meaning and in turn, how pop music changed the way we see sex. Powers highlights artists like Beyoncé, the Beatles, Jim Morrison, Florence Mills and others in the book.

Lou Reed by Anthony DeCurtis

Lou Reed Lewis was an American musician, singer and songwriter. (Hodder & Stoughton)

What it's about: Lou Reed was an immensely influential songwriter, both as a member of The Velvet Underground and as a solo artist. From songs like Kill Your Sons, about undergoing shock treatment as a teen, to Walk on the Wild Side, about the characters he knew at Andy Warhol's Factory, this guide to Reed's music aims to look at his story, as told to us over the years through his songs. 

Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe

Reckless Daughter, written by music critic David Yaffe, is a biography of folk icon Joni Mitchell. (Nick Procaylo/Canadian Press)

What it's about: Joni Mitchell is considered one of the most distinctive voices in Canadian music. Rolling Stone called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever." Music critic and professor David Yaffe spent nearly 10 years interviewing Joni Mitchell, along with more than 60 people who knew her to produce this definitive biography.

Something Is Always On Fire by Measha Brueggergosman

Opera star Measha Brueggergosman has documented her life story in Something Is Always On Fire. (Craig Cooper/CBC/HarperCollins)

What it's about: Opera singer Measha Brueggergosman has led a remarkable life. Her Grammy-nominated voice was heard by more than three billion viewers at the opening of the Olympic Games in 2010 and she has soloed in prestigious concert halls all over the world. The memoir, Something Is Always On Fire, gives a candid account of the former Canada Reads panellist's highs and lows of her life and career.  

A Newfoundlander in Canada by Alan Doyle

Musician and author Alan Doyle grew up in Petty Harbour, N.L. (CBC q)

What it's about:  The Great Big Sea frontman explores his journey from leaving his hometown to discovering Canada for the first time in his latest memoir. Heartwarming, candid and eye-opening, A Newfoundlander in Canada is a series of memorable stories about going off on your own, following your dreams and discovering not only who you are, but what — and who — makes up this great big country. 

Sticky Fingers by Joe Hagan

Sticky Fingers looks at Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone magazine. (Knopf Canada)

What it's about: Journalist Joe Hagan spent four years researching and writing this comprehensive and eye-popping biography of Jann Wenner, the reclusive and iconic founder of Rolling Stone. Sticky Fingers is a look at  rock 'n' roll, politics, media and pop culture, from the Summer of Love to the Internet age.

Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman

In Meet Me in the Bathroom, journalist Lizzy Goodman chronicles the "rock 'n' roll renaissance" in New York City in the early 2000s. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

What it's about: Lizzy Goodman is a music journalist who spent her 20s going to rock shows in New York City in the early 2000s. At the time, Goodman was a regular at the music venues on New York's Lower East Side and she also got to know the bands that played there: The Strokes, Interpol, LCD Soundsystem. Goodman calls this time a rock 'n roll renaissance. In her new book, Meet Me in the Bathroom, she interviews more than 200 musicians to make the case. 


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