face the music

Fall 2019’s Top Five Must-Read Music Memoirs

25 September 2019

Everyone wants to know the intimate details of their favorite musicians’ stories. Whether the memoirs are autobiographical or come from someone close to the source, these collections of remembrances give a raw look into the lives and struggles faced by those in the music industry, covering everything from relationships, politics, sexuality, creativity, and substance abuse. While we may never be able to see or speak to some of these artists ever again, their legacy lives on in our memories and on these pages.

Make sure to check out these five music memoirs coming out this fall:

“Year of the Monkey” by Patti Smith

Largely considered the leading lady of the punk-rock movement in the 70s, Patti Smith has evolved into an internationally-acclaimed author for her memoir Just Kids. In Year of the Monkey, a new, outwardly-focused, and pointed piece of autobiographical nonfiction, Smith examines the musical, personal, and societal implications of the political climate in 2016, which was the year of the monkey according to the Chinese zodiac. A book that tests the boundaries between dreams, memories, and reality, asking what revolutionary minds like that of renowned American poet, Allen Ginsberg, would think of how things have progressed. Year of the Monkey comes out on September 24th, and is currently available for pre-order.

“High School” by Tegan and Sara Quin

An outspoken coming-of-age memoir co-written by the queer Canadian sisters Tegan and Sara Quin, High School examines the parallel journeys of self-discovery that inspired their joint indie-pop path into the music scene. An honest transcript of their high school histories, this memoir details all the feelings and firsts, from writing songs, raving at parties, exploring their sexualities, to shaving their heads the day they signed their first demo deal. High School hits shelves on September 24th, just ahead of Tegan and Sara’s next album “Hey, I’m Just Like You,” which features recorded songs written during their time in high school.

“Face It” by Debbie Harry

One way or another, Face It by Blondie’s front-woman Debbie Harry will be coming out on October 1st, providing readers with a look behind the scenes and into the reality of the Harry’s time in the band and afterwards. With an extensive career that has dabbled in everything from creative musical expression to acting in film and serving as one of Warhol’s many muses, Harry offers her audience the opportunity to experience unique and unknown anecdotes from the brightest and darkest eras of her life. These dark chapters include her infamous brush with and attempted kidnapping by serial killer Ted Bundy, her experience with sexual assault, and an honest description of her personal struggle with drug addiction.

“Wham! George Michael, and Me” by Andrew Ridgeley 

Written by one-half of Wham!, Andrew Ridgeley’s memoir, Wham! George Michael, and Me, takes a look at the relationship between the members of one of the most internationally successful pop duos at the height of their fame in the 80s. Beginning with Ridgeley’s childhood and the unlikely friendship he fostered with George Michael at Bushy Meads School in 1975, the book elaborates on how their relationship struggled and endured their rocky musical beginning to the very last concert at Wembley Stadium in London and everything in between. The memoir comes out on October 8th, with pre-orders already available.

“The Beautiful Ones” by Prince

An unfinished autobiography by an icon whose legacy will continue to persist far into the future, The Beautiful Ones was posthumously published as a tribute to the late legend and the artist formerly known as Prince. Published in its incomplete state, this book features Prince’s original unfinished manuscript as it was on the day of his death, as well as photos, scrapbooks, and handwritten lyric sheets in order to replace the fifty unfinished, handwritten pages Prince had yet to turn in by his untimely passing. The crown jewel of the memoir is considered to be a hand-written treatment of Prince’s original composition for what many consider his greatest achievement– “Purple Rain.”

Chronicling the journey from childhood in Minneapolis and the ups and downs of his four-decade long career creating and performing music, The Beautiful Ones manages to maintain the trademark mystery and mystique that shrouded his public persona. The memoir is slated to be released on October 29th, and has already been made available for pre-order.