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Next Week in Music | Nov. 25 – Dec. 1 • New Books

Words about the music of B.B. King, Cornelius, Jay-Z, Paul Simon and plenty more.


This week’s new books run the gamut from the ABCs of Metallica to the story of Jay-Z — and everything between. Read all about it below:

Jay-Z: Made in America
By Michael Eric Dyson

THE PRESS RELEASE:Jay-Z: Made in America is the fruit of Michael Eric Dyson’s decade of teaching the work of one of the greatest poets this nation has produced, as gifted a wordsmith as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost and Rita Dove. But as a rapper, he’s sometimes not given the credit he deserves for just how great an artist he’s been for so long. This book wrestles with the biggest themes of Jay-Z’s career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he’s always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As he enters his fifties, and to mark his thirty years as a recording artist, this is the perfect time to take a look at Jay-Z’s career and his role in making this nation what it is today. In many ways, this is Jay-Z’s America as much as it’s Pelosi’s America, or Trump’s America, or Martin Luther King’s America. Jay-Z has given this country a language to think with and words to live by.”

The ABCs of Metallica
By Metallica, Howie Abrams,, Michael “Kaves” McLeer

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Featuring hard-rocking rhymes and bold illustrations, The ABCs of Metallica looks back at the remarkable history of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most celebrated groups. Each letter of the alphabet highlights a significant moment along the band’s journey, from their humble Garage Days, to their numerous classic albums such as …And Justice for All and Master of Puppets, to biographical information on the band members themselves. The book is sure to entertain young readers as well as diehard fans of all ages. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation, which is dedicated to creating sustainable communities by supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services.”

How Sweet It Is: A Songwriter’s Reflections on Music, Motown and the Mystery of the Muse
By Lamont Dozier & Scott B. Bomar

THE PRESS RELEASE: “As part of Motown’s legendary songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Lamont Dozier is responsible for such classics as Baby I Need Your Loving, You Can’t Hurry Love, I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), Stop! In the Name of Love, Heat Wave, Baby Love, It’s the Same Old Song, Nowhere to Run, You Keep Me Hanging On, Reach Out I’ll Be There, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You), and many more. After leaving Motown, he continued to make his mark as an influential songwriter, artist, and producer with hits such as Give Me Just a Little More Time, Band of Gold, and Two Hearts, a chart-topping Phil Collins single that earned the pair an Academy Award nomination and a Grammy win. In How Sweet It Is Lamont takes us behind the scenes of the Motown machine, sharing personal stories of his encounters with such icons as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and Berry Gordy. He reveals the moments that inspired some of his timeless songs — and pulls back the curtain on the studio secrets that helped him and his colleagues create “the sound of young America.”

Where’s My Guitar?: An Inside Story of British Rock and Roll
By Bernie Marsden

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Touring with AC/DC. Befriending The Beatles. Writing one of the world’s most iconic rock songs. This is the story of a young boy from a small town who dreamt of one day playing the guitar for a living – and ended up a rock n’ roll legend. It follows Bernie Marsden’s astonishing career in the industry – from tours in Cold War Germany and Franco’s Spain, to meeting and befriending George Harrison and touring Europe with AC/DC. It’s a story of hard graft, of life on the road, of meeting and playing with your heroes, of writing iconic rock songs – most notably the multi-million selling hit Here I Go Again – and of being in one of the biggest rock bands of all time. At age 30, Bernie left Whitesnake due to serious conflict with his management, something he explores in this memoir for the very first time. Packed with stories and encounters with the likes of Ringo Starr, Elton John, Cozy Powell, Ozzy Osborne, B.B. King and Jon Lord, this is not just a remarkable look into the highs and lows of being a true music legend, but an intimate account of the revolutionary impact rock and roll music has offered to the world.”

Shut Up You Animals!! The Pope is Dead. A Remembrance of Dirk Dirksen: A History of the Mabuhay Gardens
By Dirk Dirksen

THE PRESS RELEASE:Dirk Dirksen almost single-handedly made the early beginnings of Punk Rock possible in San Francisco, by providing an all-ages, low-admission-charge venue where anybody could play and almost nobody was rejected. He suffered 7 broken noses, a broken ankle, an above-elbow replacement and various internal injuries while fending off deluded humans who mistakenly equated “Punk Rock” with violence–a notion implanted by corporate media, the enemy of authentic cultural evolution everywhere. From 1974-1984 (or was it 1986?) Dirk curated thousands of shows at the Mabuhay Gardens, 443 Broadway, and the upstairs On Broadway Theater. This is Dirk Dirksen’s story told to us by Dirk Dirksen and some of his friends, enemies, onlookers and assorted hangers on.”

The Life and Legacy
of B.B. King: A Mississippi Blues Icon

By Diane Williams

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Blues legend B.B. King spent his life sharing the music of his soul, which shone relentlessly through hardship and triumph alike. He never wavered from his vocation, even as he gathered up other musicians in his wake and melded them into the harmony of his animating passion. In this intimate portrait of King, author Diane Williams offers a brief account of the monumental blues man’s life before settling in for a series of interviews with his bandmates and beloved family members, offering readers an invaluable opportunity to feel like they know King too.”

Paul Simon FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Legendary Singer and the Iconic Songs
By Dave Thompson

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Here is a fascinating, all-encompassing journey through the life and career of one of America’s most influential, and literate, songwriters. Beginning with Simon’s earliest days as an aspiring teenage idol and Tin Pan Alley songsmith, Paul Simon FAQ takes readers through Simon’s sometimes tempestuous relationship with singing partner Art Garfunkel, with whom he established the most popular musical duo in rock history. The book goes behind the scenes of Simon’s groundbreaking work at the forefront of world music and follows him to his emotional 2018 final concert before his retirement-from performing live. In addition, Paul Simon FAQ features chapters dedicated not only to Simon’s music but also his stage, screen, and television work, his devotion to charity, and more. Influences such as Bob Dylan, The Everly Brothers, and the Child Ballads are examined, while his songwriting is documented not only through his own recordings but also those of the myriad other artists who have covered his compositions. Fact-filled sidebars serve up a wealth of statistics and lists. In short, Paul Simon FAQ is the ultimate guide to the consummate performer.”

Adrian Rollini: The Life and Music of a Jazz Rambler
By Ate van Delden

THE PRESS RELEASE:Adrian Rollini (1903–1956), an American jazz multi-instrumentalist, played the bass saxophone, piano, vibraphone, and an array of other instruments. He even introduced some, such as the harmonica-like cuesnophone, called Goofus, never before wielded in jazz. Adrian Rollini: The Life and Music of a Jazz Rambler draws on oral history, countless vintage articles, and family archives to trace Rollini’s life, from his family’s arrival in the US to his development and career as a musician and to his retirement and death. A child prodigy, Rollini was playing the piano in public at the age of five. At sixteen in New York he was recording pianola rolls when his peers recognized his talent and asked him to play xylophone and piano in a new band, the California Ramblers. When he decided to play a relatively new instrument, the bass saxophone, the Ramblers made their mark on jazz forever. Rollini became the man who gave this instrument its place. Yet he did not limit himself to playing bass parts—he became the California Ramblers’ major soloist and created the studio and public sound of the band. In 1927 Rollini led a new band that included such jazz greats as Bix Beiderbecke and Frank Trumbauer. During the Depression years, he was back in New York playing with several bands including his own New California Ramblers. In the 1940s, Rollini purchased a property on Key Largo. He rarely performed again for the public but hosted rollicking jam sessions at his fishing lodge with some of the best nationally known and local players. After a car wreck and an unfortunate hospitalization, Rollini passed away at age 53.”

Cornelius’s Fantasma (33 1/3 Japan)
By Martin Roberts

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In Tokyo in the early 1990s, an indie band called Flipper’s Guitar was at the forefront of a new wave in Japanese popular music known as Shibuya-kei. The band’s founder, Keigo Oyamada, would go on to produce, under the name Cornelius, a series of albums that are among the most innovative in Japanese popular music of the past two decades. Oyamada’s third album under his Cornelius alter-ego, Fantasma (1997), played a key role in putting J-pop on the world map for Western music fans, and Oyamada himself is today one of the most respected figures in the Japanese music industry. This book tells the story of Fantasma‘s emergence from the Shibuya-kei scene and considers the wider impact of Oyamada’s work both internationally and on Japanese popular music today.”

Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music
By Sandra Choron & Robert Essel

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Charting a century’s worth of innovation and experimentation in the creation of music, Soundbreaking offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of new sounds―and features original interviews with 21 of the most celebrated artists, producers, and music industry pioneers of our time. This book was inspired by the eight-part Grammy– and Emmy-nominated film series Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music, one of the most wide-ranging series on the art of music recording and the last project of the late legendary music producer Sir George Martin. Featuring a special foreword by Martin and original artist profiles by Grammy Museum founding executive director Robert Santelli, Soundbreaking highlights twenty-one artists from across eras and a wide spectrum of genres. In intimate interviews, these music legends share their personal insights in passages from longer interviews conducted between 2008 and 2015: Sir George Martin, Les Paul, Pete Seeger, Tony Bennett, Frankie Valli, Smokey Robinson, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Benson, Joni Mitchell, Michael Tilson Thomas, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Mark Knopfler, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Petty, Steven Van Zandt, Rosanne Cash, Sheila E., and Darryl McDaniels.”

A Social History of Early Rock ‘n’ Roll in Germany: Hamburg from Burlesque to The Beatles, 1956-69
By Julia Sneeringer

THE PRESS RELEASE:A Social History of Early Rock ‘n’ Roll in Germany explores the people and spaces of St. Pauli’s rock’n’roll scene in the 1960s. Starting in 1960, young British rockers were hired to entertain tourists in Hamburg’s red-light district around the Reeperbahn in the area of St. Pauli. German youths quickly joined in to experience the forbidden thrill of rock ‘n’ roll, and used African American sounds to distance themselves from the old Nazi generation. In 1962 the Star Club opened and drew international attention for hosting some of The Beatles’ most influential performances. In this book, Julia Sneeringer weaves together this story of youth culture with histories of sex and gender, popular culture, media, and subculture.”