Audiobooks are good for anybody who prefers listening to studying, particularly on the subject of the likes of Keith Richards and Debbie Harry speaking about their heroin use, or Henry Rollins explaining the hyperlink between Nirvana and the Flamin’ Groovies. Our information to the perfect audiobooks about music isn’t in depth, but it surely’s a jumping-off level, overlaying a spread of genres from rock ’n’ roll to gangster rap.
Audible is the go-to for audiobooks, and new prospects can nab a free 30-day trial. Most entries in our information to the perfect audiobooks about music common round eight to 9 hours in size, so that you’ll get by a good few throughout your free trial. Audible isn’t the one audiobook supplier by any means, so that you’ll additionally discover music audiobooks on websites like Simply Audiobooks, Nook Audiobooks, and Audio Bookstore.
A few of the selections under additionally characteristic in our roundup of the best books about music ever written, however hopefully you’ll come throughout one thing new too. And in case you like to combine up the way you devour books, try our information to the best eReaders too. For now, let’s get you began with some nice audiobooks about music, starting with one which has Bob Dylan’s seal of approval…
The most effective audiobooks about music: Louder’s selection
The King has been immortalised in lots of books, however Bob Dylan reckons none captures the Mississippi-born rock’n’roll trailblazer fairly like Peter Guralnick’s biography. “Elvis steps from the pages. You may really feel him breathe,” Dylan gushed.
Final Practice To Memphis is predicated on tons of of interviews and over 10 years of analysis. It rockets alongside from Elvis’s delivery, and noses round his fledgling Solar Data recordings and early hits reminiscent of That’s All Proper and Heartbreak Resort. Grammy-winner Guralnick attracts on phrases from the person himself, in addition to these closest to Elvis throughout his first 24 years.
No matter whether or not you dig Elvis Presley’s music or not, if you wish to see how a star is born, bred and bottled, and what an unshakeable, nearly mystical self-faith can conjure, that is the perfect audiobook to obtain now.
Take heed to a clip from Final Practice To Memphis: The Rise Of Elvis Presley
Why will we price this as the perfect audiobook for music followers? As a result of to many, The Beatles are music. Extra a set of spoken essays than a straight music audiobook, Revolution In The Head drops you smack-bang into the experimental 60s, and nerds out on all issues ‘Beatles songs’. Ian MacDonald bled ink as Assistant Editor of the NME from 1972-75, and has left no stone unturned in his analysis right here.
This audiobook is an nearly claustrophobically shut take a look at the most important Beatles juggernauts and early noodlings, and has been up to date to incorporate materials from the Anthology sequence, plus The Beatles Stay on the BBC. MacDonald typically lets rip with the songwriting terminology, however the wealth of information packed into this e-book is spectacular.
Revolution In The Head begins with The Beatles’ beginner recordings in 1957, and lowers the curtain on 1995’s Actual Love. When you suppose you understand every part about each Beatles music, this audiobook would possibly simply have a shock or two in retailer for you.
Take heed to a clip from Revolution In The Head
Michael Azerrad has dedicated to paper a few of the best phrases ever written in regards to the American indie underground, so no surprises that Our Band May Be Your Life is the perfect audiobook in regards to the motion. Corey Taylor (Slipknot / Stone Sour), Laura Jane Grace (Towards Me!), Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and others narrate, unbolting the storage doorways on a transformative second in music historical past.
Whereas the contact paper was lit in America, the impression of this motion hit far and huge, with Black Flag, Minor Menace, Fugazi and others difficult the established order. Our Band May Be Your Life chronicles the interval of 1981-1991, and appears on the politics, medicine, bands and labels that formed the American indie underground at the moment.
Spanning over 21-hours in size, it is a meaty music audiobook for positive, however one that may immerse you, face first, into the sweat-drenched mosh pits of the 80s to very early 90s, and the musical fireplace that erupted from inside them.
Take heed to a clip from Our Band May Be Your Life
Like a sure different audiobook on this listing, Life by Rolling Stones‘ guitarist Keith Richards typically reads like a window into a unique time, one the place ladies have been known as “chicks”, and the place you have been the odd one out if Jack Daniel’s and cocaine weren’t one in every of your main meals teams. Keef’s audiobook swaggers confidently into drug memoir territory, however there’s extra to it than tongue-numbing extra. And thank god, as a result of we’ve heard so many of those tales earlier than.
As one in every of rock’n’roll’s true guitar legends, Richards has lived an unlimited a part of his life caught within the flash and glare of stage lights and paparazzi alike. However in Life he takes us again to a childhood spent in post-war Kent, the place he later wore the wax skinny on Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters information. We’re with him when he kinds a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, when he steals Anita Pallenberg from Jones, and when he writes the Satisfaction riff (and many different Stones belters).
Tax exile, the dying of Jones, feuds with Jagger, guitar porn, hero worship, heroin, a chaotic private life… it’s all right here, and now you get to listen to granddad Richards inform you about it in that sluggish, deep rasp that’s nearly as well-known as his favorite (butterscotch) blonde, Micawber the Telecaster.
Take heed to a clip from Life
Reckon you’ve been caught in some embarrassing conditions by your mother and father? Strive having your mom tweeze crabs out of your pubic hair. Yeah. That was Viv Albertine’s lot, and we thank each rock god that it didn’t occur to us. Albertine, after all, performed guitar in all-girl punk band The Slits, was buddies with Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious earlier than they have been anybody of word, and blazed a fiery path for others to observe.
“‘Punk’ was the one time I fitted in.” She wrote. “Only one tiny sliver of time the place it was acceptable to say what you thought.” Amen to that. The e-book delivers on its title in spades, so we see into each nook of Albertine’s life, together with her battle to be taken critically as a musician, rightly savaging hecklers at her solo gigs, and surviving an ovarian most cancers prognosis.
Albertine’s no-shit system works simply as effectively in audiobook kind because it does on stage. Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys grabs you by the hand and walks you thru main moments in her life. That is no self-aggrandising, standard rock memoir – it’s a crabs-and-all take a look at a girl carving out her personal house, coping with her shit (and there’s some horrible shit at occasions), and serving up an enormous center finger to anybody who tells her “No”.
Take heed to a clip from Garments Garments Garments, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys
Comedy and heavy steel collide in Andrew O’Neill’s take a look at the delivery of the style, lots of the bands that solid it into form, and the fractions that plunged it into darkness. A Historical past of Heavy Steel started as a stand-up present, showing at Obtain and Edinburgh’s Fringe Competition, earlier than it was expanded and transfigured into e-book kind.
Legends of Lemmy, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden and Metallica get an airing on this eight-hour+ audiobook, with O’Neill additionally browsing the New Wave of British Heavy Steel (NWOBHM), and searching on the arson and murder-pocked Norwegian black steel scene. This isn’t a definitive information to the entire-history-of-heavy-metal-that-ever-was, but it surely’s amusing and would possibly encourage you to mud off your outdated Anthrax information.
Learn our A History of Heavy Metal review
Take heed to a clip from A Historical past Of Heavy Steel
Even ‘again then’, there was a lot mistaken with The Filth. All of us knew it, but dog-eared copies handed from rocker to rocker like shared sips from the bottle of bourbon pictured on its cowl. The Filth was of its time; a peak behind the grubby curtain of rock’s most notorious, no holds barred band.
The Filth is among the most notorious rock books ever written. It’s countless intercourse, medicine and rock’n’roll, as cliched as that sounds, but it surely additionally doesn’t flinch on the subject of dependancy, overdose, and loss. It additionally will get underneath the hood of a few of Motley Crue’s largest hits, however liking the band’s music will not be a prerequisite to downloading the audiobook.
At the present time, it’s actually arduous to put in writing about The Filth and never be hyper-aware of how a lot has modified because it was first launched 20 years in the past. A lot of what occurred again then wouldn’t fly right now, and thank god. So we’ll simply say this: if you wish to know what it was actually like being in Motley Crue on the top of their fame, and also you’re ready to snort no matter comes your manner, then hear. However, you understand, perhaps stick some headphones on.
Take heed to a clip from The Filth
It appeared like we have been ready without end for Face It, however getting Debbie Harry to run a stocktake on her life was apparently no simple job. However right here we’re, with a memoir that hooks into some main moments within the Blondie singer and co-founder’s profession and private life.
Harry drops some severe names in Face It, with the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Talking Heads, Andy Warhol, David Bowie and Joan Jett, amongst a metric ton of others, getting a point out. She has seemingly met everybody of word in music, and has a narrative for each event. Harry talks about her creativity, the formation of Blondie, her once-in-a-lifetime relationship with guitarist Chris Stein, and her picture; what it has given her in addition to value her. There’s darkness too, with Harry recalling her heroin use, being raped throughout a theft, and a near-abduction by a person she thinks may have been Ted Bundy.
There’s lots to unpack in Face It, and except you’re a Debbie Harry superfan, loads of it will likely be information to you. Mainstay Blondie band members, plus unique bass participant Gary Valentine, are readily available to assist out with the narration, together with Harry herself. Whereas Face It is most positively a memoir, it doesn’t plot a direct course, so anticipate just a few interludes and sidebars alongside the best way.
Take heed to a clip from Face It
The Historical past of Gangster Rap has one of many highest buyer scores of any e-book in our information to the perfect audiobooks about music, and needs to be your first port of name in case you’re craving a deep dive into the genesis and evolution of gangster rap.
Over the course of 11 hours, writer and narrator Soren Baker picks his manner by the style, specializing in the primary gamers (N.W.A, Schoolly D, and many others), the defining moments, and the juiciest conspiracy theories. Snoop Dogg and Ice-T, amongst others, go on the report for The Historical past of Gangster Rap, with Baker speaking us by its social and political historical past, in addition to dissecting key lyrics.
Whether or not you watched Straight Outta Compton and have been left with a need to be taught extra in regards to the style, otherwise you’re a diehard fan in search of the trivia of gangster rap, you’re in secure palms with this in-depth audiobook.
Take heed to a clip from The Historical past Of Gangster Rap
In some respects, The Historical past of Rock N Roll In Ten Songs may come throughout as making an attempt to be far too cool for its personal good. Even pretentious, maybe. However in case you get pleasure from heading off the overwhelmed observe, and are eager to listen to a well-respected music critic boil the whole historical past of rock’n’roll down to only 10 songs – and sure some you’ve by no means heard of – then this might be the perfect audiobook for you.
Creator Greil Marcus doesn’t current info in true chronological order, and as an alternative takes a extra liberating method when learning every music and linking it to varied different genres, bands and occasions. The Flamin Groovies’ Shake Some Motion is up first, adopted by the completely electrifying Transmission by Pleasure Division. From there the audiobook journeys by a bunch of requirements, classics and obscurities spanning 1956 to 2010.
The Historical past of Rock N Roll In Ten Songs takes an uncommon method to a much-covered topic, and can attraction to anybody who has an curiosity in how rock ’n’ roll as we all know it (or not) got here to be and what it gave to the world.
Take heed to a clip from The Historical past Of Rock N Roll In Ten Songs