Be a Musician

There's more to being a musician than fame, fortune, and adulation from adoring fans, as the books and movies on this list reveal.

  • Can't Stop, Won't Stop : A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

    2005 by Jeff Chang

    "Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop became the Esperanto of youth rebellion and a generation-defining movement. In a post-civil rights era defined by deindustrialization and globalization, hip-hop crystallized a multiracial, polycultural generation's worldview, and transformed American politics and culture."—Publisher

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  • The Musician's Handbook : A Practical Guide to Understanding the Music Business

    2008 by Bobby Borg

    "This revised edition of a practical yet no-nonsense guide to making it in the music business is chock-full of great advice. A well-known music business educator and consultant, Borg has over 25 years of experience. Here, he covers four major areas: pursuing a career in the music business, types of business relationships, key players in one's career, and sources of revenue. The first of the book's 13 chapters tackles the hows and whys and offers basic advice on entry into the music business."—Library Journal Review

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  • Chronicles

    2004 by Bob Dylan

    "I’d come from a long ways off and had started a long ways down. But now destiny was about to manifest itself. I felt like it was looking right at me and nobody else.” So writes Bob Dylan in Chronicles: Volume One, his remarkable book exploring critical junctures in his life and career. Through Dylan’s eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan’s New York is a magical city of possibilities—smoky, nightlong parties; literary awakenings; transient loves and unbreakable friendships. Elegiac observations are punctuated by jabs of memories, penetrating and tough. With the book’s side trips to New Orleans, Woodstock, Minnesota, and points west, Chronicles: Volume One is an intimate and intensely personal recollection of extraordinary times.—Amazon

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  • American Pop

    1998 by Ralph Bakshi

    "The story of four generations whose lives revolve around the beat of American popular music. The story is told in animation with songs by The Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Pat Benatar, and Lou Reed among others."—Publisher

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  • The Sapphires

    2013 by Wayne Blair

    "Inspired by a true story, it's 1968, and four young, talented Australian Aboriginal girls learn about love, friendship, and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertain the US troops in Vietnam."—Publisher

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  • The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

    1989 by Oscar Hijuelos

    "It's 1949 and two young Cuban musicians make their way from Havana to the grand stage of New York City. It is the era of mambo, and the Castillo brothers, workers by day, become stars of the dance halls by night, where their orchestra plays the lush, sensuous, pulsing music that earns them the title of the Mambo Kings. This is their moment of youth, exuberance, love, and freedom—a golden time that decades later is remembered with nostalgia and deep affection."—Amazon

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  • Sing Street

    2016 by John Carney

    "See 1980s Dublin through the eyes of fourteen-year-old Conor, who is looking for a break from a home strained by his parents' relationship and money troubles while trying to adjust to his new inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious, über-cool Raphina. With the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band's music videos. There's only one problem: he's not part of a band yet."—Publisher

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  • A Visit from the Goon Squad

    2010 by Jennifer Egan

    "Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs confront their pasts in this powerful story about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn, and how art and music have the power to redeem."—Publisher

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  • Bellweather Rhapsody

    2014 by Kate Racculia

    "A young music prodigy goes missing from a hotel room that was the site of an infamous murder-suicide fifteen years earlier, renewing trauma for a bridesmaid who witnessed the first crime and rallying an eccentric cast of characters during a snowstorm that traps everyone on the grounds."—Publisher

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  • Mo' Meta Blues : The World According to Questlove

    2013 by Questlove

    "Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture."—Amazon

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