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James Brown is one fascinating man. He played 350 shows a year at his peak, had a strict no-drugs/alcohol policy for his entourage but later succumbed to drugs later, and had a spotty criminal record. But his contribution to soul music, as well as his activism made him a standout of the 70s and 80s.

James Brown: The Godfather of Soul, Bruce Tucker, James Brown

Bruce Tucker,James Brown

James Brown: The Godfather of Soul

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This one's a must-read, especially since it's not in your traditional longform format. This comic-book format pays tribute to Freddie Mercury's work in music, as well as his colourful life.

Freddie Mercury, Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch

Freddie Mercury

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Of all the personas that David Bowie rocked, which was the one that was closest to the real him? His portrayal of flamboyant, unisexual and bisexual behaviour, as well as his life of drugs, sex and rock and roll make him one very complex personality. This one's great for a whole and complete insight into his life and work.

David Bowie – The Man Who Changed the World, Wim Hendrikse

Wim Hendrikse

David Bowie – The Man Who Changed the World

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How did John Lennon, turn from a Beatle into one that has been upheld as a patron of peace globally? Philip Norman is a master biographer who takes a fresh and penetrating look at Lennon's life, even as it's been widely chronicled.

John Lennon: The Life, Philip Norman

Philip Norman

John Lennon: The Life

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Give it away, give it away, give it away now! This is the rock band who took to the stage wearing nothing but a sock on their bits, openly talked about their struggles with drugs, and rocked hard starting from the 80s all the way till today. This biography has 300 over photographs - making this journey super intimate.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers

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Here's one prolific multi-hyphenate: former model, film actress, singer with the Velvet Underground and darling of Andy Warhol's factory. She was interested in feeding her own heroin habit, but still made waves in assorted acts. And maybe proof that environment that creates a rock star.

Nico, Songs They Never Play on the Radio, James Young

James Young

Nico, Songs They Never Play on the Radio

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At just 27 years old, Amy Winehouse made the list of people who died way ahead of their time. In her short years on earth, we remember her pivotal music, her uncontrollable drug addiction, as well as the sparkle in her eye.

Amy Winehouse 1983 – 2011, Chas Newkey-Burden

Chas Newkey-Burden

Amy Winehouse 1983 – 2011

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If you're a big fan of jazz, you've probably heard of Miles Davis and even read his biography. But even if you're not, you're in for a treat because Miles himself was unhinged, and wild like a loose canon. If there's one musical character you need to get aquainted with, it's him.

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This one is not so much linear biography, but a compilation of interviews spanning over 50 years. There are some prolific writers like Robert Hilburn and Charles Shaar Murray, as well as one with the late Alexander McQueen detailing his interest in fashion.

Bowie on Bowie, Sean Egan

Sean Egan

Bowie on Bowie

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Crazy hair, a mad amount of cigarettes, that iconic top hat and you've got one hell of a guitarist. From Guns n Roses to Velvet Underground, Slash has proven to be one of the most valuable solo guitarists around. Plus, you can look forward to learning all about Slash and Axl Rose's relationship - perhaps one of the most volatile working duos in music history.

Slash – Surviving Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver and Rock's Snake Pit, Paul Stenning

Paul Stenning

Slash – Surviving Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver and Rock's Snake Pit

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There's a running joke that Keith Richards will outlive us all. To be honest, it's surprising that despite the drugs, alcohol and reckless lifestyle, he's still rocking the stage like he did in the 60s. So yes - what would Keith Richards do?

What Would Keith Richards Do?, Jessica Pallington West

Jessica Pallington West

What Would Keith Richards Do?

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If you've watched Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There", you'll realise that the multiple actors portraying Bob Dylan are the different, complex characters that layer over him. This biography is a reportage of first hand accounts, interviews and reports of a man who's shaped and shifted the folk scene.

The Ballad of Bob Dylan, Daniel Mark Epstein

Daniel Mark Epstein

The Ballad of Bob Dylan

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music". Through clippings, snippets and diary excerpts that his friends have collected, Starting at Zero is Hendrix's own way of telling his posthumous story.

Starting At Zero, Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

Starting At Zero

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Despite early criticism after the disbandment of Nirvana, Dave Grohl has come to become iconic in his own right. Learn how he's emerged from an environment of drugs and suicide, and read about his rise to being the frontman of one of the most popular grunge bands. Fun fact: did you know that he's never tried drugs throughout his entire life?

Dave Grohl – Times Like His: Foo Fighters, Nirvana & Other Misadventures, James Martin

James Martin

Dave Grohl – Times Like His: Foo Fighters, Nirvana & Other Misadventures

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1975 was an important year for Led Zeppelin as they traversed through America for their tour. This biography is an important one for Led Zeppelin and Stephen Davis both - with this being Davis' first gig as a rock music writer, and Led Zeppelin at their peak. Plus, you'll get a peek into the famous Boeing passenger jet that they travelled on, complete with deep shag purple carpet, electric pianos, girlfriends and star-struck hangers-on.

LZ-’75: Across America with Led Zeppelin, Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis

LZ-’75: Across America with Led Zeppelin

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Bruce Springsteen grew from a dishevelled, bearded singer of youthful street ballads to become one of America's hottest icons. This brief memoir examines the growth of Bruce Springsteen’s career, from the optimistic youth who wrote Born To Run to the respected heavyweight songwriter of today.

Bruce Springsteen, Peter Basham

Peter Basham

Bruce Springsteen

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The Rolling Stones may be a quartet most of the time, but arguably, it's Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who bring most of the gravitas and power to the band. He's responsible for enduring hits like “Paint It Black,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Gimme Shelter,” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” - songs that last through the ages. With Jagger being rather private, this autobiography may possibly be one of the most open and comprehensive look into his creative process, his life and struggles.

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Bookmateadded a post to the bookshelfRock of Ages last year

Who knew John Lennon better than Yoko Ono? Together with some of his closest friends and working partners and through photos, poems and drawings, Yoko pieced together a intimate, insightful image of John Lennon. As a Beatle, writer, activist, he's all of them.

Memories of John Lennon, Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono

Memories of John Lennon

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Unlike all the rockers out there, Patti Smith’s memoir isn't all sex, drugs, rock n roll and the wild life. Instead, she focuses on her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and their lives in New York in the Sixties and Seventies. It's painfully sweet, since the entire memoir is really about a young girl in love. Not the loud, crazy memoir you asked for, but one you need.

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