It is undeniable that music significantly impacts us from our youngest to oldest years. It makes life better, intuitively and instinctually.

As the listener, the feedback loop between an artist and myself generates unique and rare energy- physical and emotional and I’m sure you can attest to the same.

Music can bring you joy and comfort/relaxation and can also be a motivational factor. Like me, you may rely on it to carry out tasks, to make events more lively, or to manipulate your mood.

Now, I know great music and great musicians are timeless, and many of us know lots of songs and their artists. But honestly, I have observed that this knowledge is not always evident when I ask someone if they know how their favorite composer, artist, or band came to be. This is what makes books about musicians excellent library additions.

Just like there are songs for each emotion, so are books for different music genres. Whether you consider yourself a one-genre person or don’t prefer to stick to one musical genre like me, these books are must-reads.

You will find classic music, icons, reggae, electronic music and also K-pop in the list. 

What Are The Best Books on Famous Musicians?

Fabulous Female Musicians, by Sammy Stein (2023)

Sammy knows how to speak to musicians and has shared many musician stories for a long time now. In this release, she celebrates 21 amazing female artists who made an unforgettable mark in the musical scene.

She has not concentrated on one country but has expanded her horizons to speak with female musicians worldwide. I found this to be a nice balance. As you will discover, these women broke barriers and became an inspiration to many others. This book is a must-read if you are a female artist looking to build a name for yourself in music.

It will teach you about the industry's tribulations and trials. The interviews in the book are candid accounts of what a musical career entails. They are heartfelt and highlight what music professionals do and feel for their art. The thrilling stories of each interviewee are captivating and will be great inspirations.

The women in this book have faced challenges but, at the same time, triumphed through many ordeals. Some have suffered abuse and bullying, but I admire and appreciate the advice they give on survival. I read this book and was utterly in awe of these deserving musicians.

Rasta Time, by Kathy Arlyn Sokol (2022)

It's time for reggae fans to gather. Rasta Time is the book you need to understand the journey of reggae music’s king, Bob Marley. In the book, Kathy takes you from Kansas to Japan, where she first encountered and toured with Bob to Jamaica, Miami, and the Bahamas, learning more about him and his music.

Kathy interviews Bob and does subsequent interviews with his friends and family, revealing his life’s philosophy.

You need this book if you love Bob’s music or are part of the Rastafari movement. It will help you understand Bob’s spiritual roots and social vision.

Kathy interviews profoundly, and you will discover details you may not have known even as a Bob Marley fan. For instance, the writer of the Buffalo Soldier and significant people who directed Kathy into meeting Bob.

The stories told by different people who were part of Marley’s life are purely golden and bring out details and the love that bred a movement that played a significant role in presenting Western civilization.

Rasta Time is an excellent tribute to Bob, bringing to light who he was and what he stood for. It is a testament to Bob’s moments that must be remembered, celebrated, and cherished.

One Love, One Life, by Billy Sloan (2023)

Billy was only a teenager when he saw The Who perform at a live show in Glasgow. This was the moment that would begin his relationship and love for music. Several years passed, and he had the chance to interview David Bowie and Keith Richards backstage. Since then, his life and career took a different turn and granted him some of the most incredible moments.

In this book, Billy gives an account of his story and experiences with the music industry stars he has met. He keeps a light note and even tells the story of how he skipped Christmas dinner for a chance to experience The Sex Pistols.

As you read along, you will learn about Billy's experiences with some of the biggest names in the music industry, the relationships he has forged, and the remarkable gigs he has attended. Some of his experiences include meeting Grace Jones, touring with Paolo Nutini, and engaging with Rod Stewart, U2, and Simple Minds.

This book is honest as it is entertaining. I loved that it offers a deeper perspective of the music industry while featuring some of the most acclaimed rock stars and backstage passes for fans.

Billy has brilliantly written every word with excellent craftsmanship. If you are curious to know what living as a radio presenter/an elite music journalist among musicians is like, this read is for you.

Beyond the Story, by B.T.S. & Myeongseok Kang (2023)

This list would not have been complete if I didn’t throw in a book about one of the most sensational boy bands of modern-day music. My daughter is an ardent B.T.S. fan, which is how I learned about them and read this book. It is everything you need to know about the band but in one volume.

This is an exceptional story of how the band came to be. It is skillfully written and excellently woven to demonstrate the band’s highs and lows, challenges and triumphs. Each page reminds you of their dedication, passion, hard work, and commitment to their craft and fans. You will appreciate their work from the anecdotes and stories about their career as you read.

If you are a B.T.S. fan, the book has hidden gems to make your reading experience more delightful. You will also greatly enjoy unearthing the moments that have given shape to the band’s trajectory. As the book’s title suggests, this story goes beyond what many of us see on the surface. It includes personal stories and behind-the-scenes stories about the band.

Even if you do not know about B.T.S. fully, I like that this book is chronologically written to illustrate the band’s earlier days up until their present day. I enjoyed the individual interviews, illuminating each member and their significance in the band’s musical journey.

Talking to My Angels, by Melissa Etheridge (2023)

Talking to My Angels is a real, brave, and honest read in which Melissa shares her soul. Regardless of the losses she has endured, Melissa chose to move on, and this is a reminder to us all that despite our failures and challenges, it is always best to find a way to propel forward and overcome our fears with and in love.

While she has lived, Melissa has had her share of blessings, from love, contentment, success, and spiritual awakening to gaining freedom and becoming a mother. She has excelled in her rock music career, recording eleven albums, going for world tours, and even winning an Oscar.

However, at the same time, she has had to suffer incomparable loss, grief, shame, heartache, guilt, and a breast cancer diagnosis. But through it all, she found the grace, courage, and strength to keep going.

As I read this book, my emotions were all over the place. It was sometimes challenging to read because of the context and content. But if you are a Melissa fan and want to understand her inspiration behind song creation, it will be your guide.

After reading this book, I have a different perspective on how tragedy can positively impact life. I also have a better understanding and judge people’s opinions and ways of life less harshly, but most importantly, I now know the power of musical art for the creator.

Tim – The Official Biography of Avicii, by Måns Mosesson (2021)

If you are familiar with electronic music, Avicii was one of the most significant talents in the DJ world in recent years. Tim Bergling, better known by his stage name Avicii, was a groundbreaking DJ who played a pivotal role in the global rise of Swedish and European house music. His unmatched sense for melodies cemented his reputation as a musical visionary.

Tim – The Biography of Avicii, authored by journalist Måns Mosesson, shows us what made Tim's world so special for music fans and young people.

Yet, behind the limelight, he was an introverted soul grappling with the rapid pace of fame. Health issues led him to stop touring in 2016, and in a deeply tragic turn, he took his own life two years later.

Through interviews with those close to Tim, Mosesson crafts a poignant narrative that celebrates Avicii's artistry while confronting the challenges he faced.

Quartet, by Leah Broad (2023)

This book is perfect if you are into classical music and fancy a music scene featuring women. As the title suggests, it is a beautifully written story about four legendary musical figures who were women. They worked hard, endured various struggles, failed, and succeeded in their careers as classical artists.

The four composers highlighted in the book are Dorothy Howell, Ethel Smyth, Doreen Carwithen, and Rebecca Clarke. You get to read about their lives, and each one is introduced in a family context and the time they lived.

Primarily, these ladies were composers, but you also get to see how different they were in their backgrounds, personalities, and experiences. Get to read about the issues they encountered while trying to get their pieces published, recognized, and performed.

I consider this book an incredible enlightenment about how the 20th century has shifted against women, and it will be a delight if you are a strong advocate for feminism. During their time, the four were ultimate celebrities. They seemed like spectral presences for some time, but I love that Leah has given them a voice.

I particularly loved Ethel, who I thought seemed like an infuriatingly fascinating and, at the same time, a painful human. Her love for dogs also highly resonated with me.

I enjoyed how this book portrayed these women and how emotionally impactful it is. Leah has written this book to make it accessible even if you do not know the artists she talks about. It is empowering and relatable.

50 Rappers Who Changed the World, by Candace McDuffie (2020)

Hip-hop and rap are about texture and context. Since their earliest incarnations, they have been a massive musical force, so I had to feature a book that rounds up the experiences of some legendary figures in the game.

With this book, you get to profile some of the biggest names in the rap industry from the 1970s. You will read about Afrikaa Bambataa, Run-DMC, and Grandmaster Flash if you love rap music from the 70s to the 80s. If you are more into the 90s era, Snoop, Tupac, and Biggie are featured. If you are more into the 2000s rap, Jay-Z and Eminem are part of the featured rappers.

Candace has also included women who changed the rap game, like Missy Elliot, MC Lyte, Salt-n-Pepa, and M.C.s such as Ice-T and N.W.A.

If you are into more recent rap and hip hop, there is something for you. Artists like Cardi B, Logic, Kendrick, and J.Cole are also highlighted.

Candace’s writing is thoughtful, and her lineup of the rappers featured in this book makes it more than ornamental. You will love how this book takes you on a reminiscing journey. It is a superb basis for rap debates among friends. I liked that the book features stylish illustrations and brief biographies of each artist.

50 Rappers Who Changed The World is simply a journey through the birth, growth, and epitome of rap and hip hop.

Bing and Billie and Frank and Ella and Judy and Barbra, by Dan Callahan (2023)

This is an epic tale about the significant interpreters of the American songbook. It looks into the life experiences and musical art of Holiday, Crosby, Garland, Fitzgerald, Sinatra, and Streisand.

Get to know how these legends dominated American music for over five decades.

During their time, they went through a roller coaster but eventually gained momentum and reached the peak of their magical creativity in the 1950s and 1960s. However, their ride crashed when the American songbook took over the airwaves alongside the racial equality fight.

I loved that this book captures the realities of these seminal artists’ lives, but I also enjoyed reading about the leaps and disappointments in their work, influences, and interrelationships.

Dan has written the story with depth and a lot of sensitivity, and it is evident that he is well-versed in the works of these exceptional artists and the voices many of us love and still love.

You will particularly enjoy this book if you love jazz. It is a masterpiece about temperament, race, passion, poignancy, and productivity by artists who lived through and became commercial forces during a magical era of American music.

Final Thoughts

Music is an unbeatable art. Whether you consider yourself musical or not, this list of musician stories will fill you in and stimulate your mind. Some may even be the leads to that creative music breakthrough you need. Why not grab a copy or several?

Would you like to dig deeper into music business? Or you are looking simply for fiction books that connect to somehow to music?

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