You’ve heard of The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, but how much do you really know about punk? Or hip-hop? Or even reggae? Here’s some recommended reading for those of you looking to find out more about you favorite genre of music and learn some kick ass music trivia:
Cinderella’s Big Score: Women of the Punk and Indie Underground by Maria Raha – How many female punk rockers can you name? What about indie rockers? Contrary to what most “Best of” and “Crucial Album” lists would have you believe, the punk and indie scenes are full of women who can rock just as hard as the boys. How many women? Enough to fill a rather large book, actually. Raha gives lady rockers from the Runaways to the Raincoats the recognition they deserve. The back of the book even contains full discographies for many of the women profiled.
Please Kill Me : The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain – The story of the birth and death of punk from the people who were there. Unlike most histories, which focus mainly on the musicians involved, Please Kill Me includes interviews not only with musicians but also with venue owners, producers, managers, journalists and fans. While some of the people featured attempt to debunk the mythology surrounding punk’s explosion in the the music world, others try to add to it. This book makes it clear that punk, like most music movements, was about people who wanted their voices to be heard.
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation by Jeff Chang – At some point in my educational career, I realized that if I was going to major in music industry, I needed to know more about hip-hop. A casual listener, I didn’t know much about the origins of the music or the culture that surrounds it. Enter Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. While it’s clear from page one that this is as well-researched as any music reference book, it reads less like a text book and more like a page-turner. The reader gets a thrill from watching Chang piece together the political, social and economic climates that came together in a perfect storm to create what we know now as hip-hop culture.
Rough Guide To Reggae by Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton – The title of this book is a little misleading. The Guide actually covers Jamaican music from the 1950s to the present day, running the gamut from mento to ska to rocksteady to dancehall. In addition to pictures and information on the genre’s stars, it offers recommendations of artists’ best records and records that best represent the genres. The Rough Guide music books are a great way to discover lesser-known but talented artists in a genre you are already a fan of.