Books on Van Halen, McCartney lyrics, The Doors and more

Shopping season is pretty much over this year and if you’re struggling to find something to entice the music lover in your life, Rock Music Menu is here with the annual gift guide to help. This week we take a look at 10 of 2021’s best books on rock and roll and beyond.

Whether it’s a coffee table-sized look at Led Zeppelin’s bootleg vinyl, memoirs of rock and roll legends, or tributes to a guitar icon, there’s sure to be a title. for someone on your list. Look closely and, for the second year in a row, you will even see something from yours truly.

‘THE LYRICS: 1956 TO NOW’
Paul McCartney

In this extraordinary two-volume set, Paul McCartney chronicles his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career. From his early childhood compositions to the legendary Beatles decade, through Wings and his solo albums to the present day. Organized alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological narrative, it establishes for the first time the definitive texts of the lyrics of the songs and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places who inspired them, and what he thinks about it now. Macca said that’s as close to a memoir of him as it gets, and that’s more than enough.

‘THE STORYTELLER: TALES OF LIFE AND MUSIC’
DAVE GROHL

Speaking of memoirs, “The Storyteller” offers Dave Grohl the opportunity to shed some light on the life he led while achieving his dreams. From learning the drums on pillows to graduating from high school to touring European clubs and squats at 18, his years in Nirvana and his decades in Foo Fighters, it’s been quite the journey. He also details performing with Tom Petty on Saturday Night Live, jamming with Iggy Pop, swing dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, having Paul McCartney for a visit, bedtime stories with Joan Jett and a chance encounter with Little Richard and the simple pleasures of family life.

‘VAN HALEN: THE ERUPTION AND THE REPLICA’
MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER

There are three major Van Halen books published this year around the first anniversary of Eddie Van Halen’s death, and let’s eliminate the most obvious and biased first. Rather than looking at the guitarist’s life, I wanted to take a look at the overall history of the band from the early days to the last gigs in 2015 where the story ended. Along with exclusive new interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Ratt, Pantera and more, there’s also a wealth of never-before-seen commentary from Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Gary Cherone. A true labor of passion, there is something for the newcomer or even the most hardcore Van Halen fan to learn.

‘ART SHEEVES: ALBUM COVER BY ARTISTS’
DB BURKEMAN

A time capsule of visual arts and music culture, “Art Sleeves: Album Covers by Artists” showcases the most important record covers designed by visual artists and graphic designers over the past forty years. Curated by DB Burkeman, the eclectic list of visual artist-musician collaborations featured span art and music genres as well as generations, including Ryan McGinley for Sigur Rós, Peter Saville for Joy Division, Jeff Koons for Lady Gaga and Stanley Donwood for Radiohead. , just to name a few.

‘SETTING THE NIGHT ON FIRE: TO LIVE, DIE AND PLAY GUITAR WITH THE DOORS’
ROBBY KRIEGER

Kreiger is the last Doors member to publish a memoir following the untimely death of frontman Jim Morrison in 1971. Through a series of vignettes, the guitarist takes readers to the pawnshop where he bought his first instrument, the prison cell where he was thrown. after a teenage drug spree, his first songwriting sessions with Jim Morrison, the studios where their iconic songs were recorded and the concert halls that erupted in riots. “Set the Night on Fire” offers a new perspective on the most infamous moments of the band’s career.

‘ERUPTION: CONVERSATIONS WITH EDDIE VAN HALEN’
BRAD TOLINSKY AND CHRIS GILL

“Eruption” sees music journalists Brad Tolinski and Chris Gill delve into the story of one of history’s most innovative guitarists, based on more than 50 hours of never-before-seen interviews they recorded with Eddie Van Halen over the years. Most of them were conducted in the legendary 5150 studios at Eddie’s home in Los Angeles, and the heart of the book is drawn from these intimate and varied interviews, as well as conversations with family, friends and loved ones. colleagues.

‘MEMORIES’
SINEAD O’CONNOR

Throughout ‘Rememberings’, Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor recounts her painful story of growing up in a dysfunctional and abusive home in Dublin. Inspired by a brother’s Bob Dylan records, she escaped into music and recounts her first forays with local bands. She talks about finishing her debut album while eight months pregnant, hanging out with Rastas in the East Village, and achieving unimaginable popularity with her cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2U.” Unsurprisingly, the book is intimate, filled with candid anecdotes, and told in a singular form true to his unconventional career, making it a truly remarkable chronicle.

‘LED ZEPPELIN VINYL’
ROSS HALFIN

Led Zeppelin only released eight studio albums, but somehow there are over 1,000 singles and 2,000 full albums out there if you look closely. Not all of them are official of course, but for vinyl collectors and hardcore fans of the band, this is where some of the pure gold lies. The ‘Led Zeppelin Vinyl: The Essential Collection’ coffee table book illustrates some of the rarest and most interesting of them in full color, including unique rarities, bizarre regional variations, official albums and underground concert recordings legendary, sometimes featuring handmade artwork or colored vinyl.

“UNCHAINED: THE EDDIE VAN HALEN STORY”
PAUL BRANNIGAN

What’s most interesting about ‘Unchained’ is how it’s been touring for so many years with different titles – it was released in Europe this summer as ‘Eruption’ – and is due out in 2015 Is it worth the wait, especially with so many other fun Eddie Van Halen titles? The answer is a simple “Yes”. Brannigan has already written some excellent tomes on Metallica and Dave Grohl, so while many of these stories are familiar, there’s still enough new interviews and material to glean from to keep diehards happy.

‘NÖTHIN’ BUT A GOOD TIME: THE UNCENSORED STORY OF THE ’80s HARD ROCK EXPLOSION’
TOM BEAUJOUR AND RICHARD BIENSTOCK

To be completely honest, it was somewhat disappointing as it was billed as being filled with new interviews and new takes on the hair metal explosion, but the reality is anything but, with much of it culled from secondary sources. and pre-existing memories. However, for those with even a passing curiosity about the rise and fall of the genre, there are all the major players that make up a solid oral history.

Rock Music Menu’s “Vinyl of the Week” will return in 2022

To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, email rockmusicmenu@gmail.com. Also check out his blog at thechroniclesofmc.com