Home Read News Next Week in Music | April 3-9 • New Books

Next Week in Music | April 3-9 • New Books

Paging Paul Weller, Robert Johnson, Elton John, Samuel Barber, The Beatles & more.

The songs of Paul Weller, the mystery of Robert Johnson, the days when rock went disco, the American side of Beatlemania, the tunes of Elton John, the life of Samuel Barber, the world of Kerrang, the history of pub-rock and much, much more: It’s a busy week in the book world. Read all about it:


Magic: A Journal of Song
By Paul Weller & Dylan Jones

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In Magic: A Journal of Song, Paul Weller talks about his life and music through a personally curated selection of over 100 songs spanning his entire musical career. As one of the most innovative and remarkable songwriters of the last 50 years, Weller has proved to be the ultimate shapeshifter, moving from The Jam’s punk sensibilities to the genre-defying Style Council, and later through a remarkable 30-year solo career. Alongside John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Weller is one of few artists that has attained a U.K. No. 1 album over five consecutive decades, and has also received career defining awards from the BRITs (Lifetime Achievement Award), NME Awards (Godlike Genius Award) and a GQ Award for Songwriter of the Year. Magic: A Journal of Song is the definitive book of Weller’s songwriting career from founding The Jam in his teenage years, to creating The Style Council, through to his years as a solo musician. Offering unprecedented insight into Weller’s creative process, his lyrics are accompanied by more than 450 photographs and items of memorabilia, and an illuminating commentary of over 25,000 words. As told to journalist and author, Dylan Jones, Magic is Weller’s most candid and intimate account of his musical life to date.”

Biography of a Phantom: A Robert Johnson Blues Odyssey
By Robert Mack McCormick

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “When blues master Robert Johnson’s little-known recordings were rereleased to great fanfare in the 1960s, little was known about his life, giving rise to legends that he gained success by selling his soul to the devil. Biography of a Phantom: A Robert Johnson Blues Odyssey is musicologist Robert McCormick‘s all-consuming search, from the late 1960s until McCormick’s death in 2015, to uncover Johnson’s life story. McCormick spent decades reconstructing Johnson’s mysterious life and developing theories about his untimely death at the age of 27, but never made public his discoveries. Biography of a Phantom publishes his compelling work for the first time, including 40 unseen black-and-white photographs documenting his search. While knocking on doors and sleuthing for Johnson’s loved ones and friends, McCormick documents a Mississippi landscape ravaged by the racism of paternalistic white landowners and county sheriffs. An editor’s preface and afterword from Smithsonian curator John W. Troutman provides context as well as troubling details about McCormick’s own impact on Johnson’s family and illuminates through McCormick’s archive the complex legacy of white male enthusiasts assuming authority over Black people’s stories and the history of the blues. While Johnson died before achieving widespread recognition, his music took on a life of its own and inspired future generations. Biography of a Phantom, filled with lush descriptive fieldwork and photographs, is an important historical object that deepens the understanding of a stellar musician.”

When Rock Met Disco: The Story of How The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, KISS, Queen, Blondie and More Got Their Groove On in the Me Decade
By Steven Blush

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Disco began as a gay, black, and brown underground New York City party music scene, which alone was enough to ward off most rockers. The difference between rock and disco was as sociological as it was aesthetic. At its best, disco was galvanizing and affirmative. Its hypnotic power to uplift a broad spectrum of the populace made it the ubiquitous music of the late ’70s. Disco was a primal and gaudy fanfare for the apocalypse, a rage for exhibitionism, free of moralizing. Disco was an exclamatory musical passageway into the future. 1978 was the apex of the record industry. Rock music, commercially and artistically, had never been more successful. At the same time, disco was responsible for roughly 40% of the records on Billboard’s Hot 100, thanks to the largest-selling soundtrack of all time in Saturday Night Fever. The craze for this music by The Bee Gees revived The Hustle and dance studios across America. For all its apparent excesses and ritual zealotry, disco was a conservative realm, with obsolete rules like formal dress code and dance floor etiquette. When most ’70s artists “went disco,” it was the relatively few daring rockers who had the most impact, bringing their intensity and personality to a faceless phenomenon. Rock stars who “went disco” crossed a musical rubicon and forever smashed cultural conformity. The ongoing dance-rock phenomenon demonstrates the impact of this unique place and time. The disco crossover forever changed rock.”

Dear Beatle People: The Story of The Beatles North American Fan Club
By Sara Schmidt

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The story about the Beatles Fan Club in North America has never been told in over 50 years. This book tells the story of The Beatles fan clubs in the United States and Canada from 1963-1972. The Beatles had a lot of love and respect for their fan club members and frequently met them while they were touring North America. The stories of fan club members who met The Beatles are shared. The Official Beatles Fan Club in New York City did not meet the fans’ expectations, so many quit and started independent fan clubs. When The Beatles stopped touring, the fan club members traveled to London, and many met John, Paul, George and Ringo outside the recording studio and their homes. The Official Beatles Fan Club changed hands and threatened to sue the independent clubs, which was quite controversial. The fan club continued even after The Beatles had broken up and has impacted fans today. Dear Beatle People will take you back to the 1960s to relive the fan club era and imagine what it was like to have been in a fan club. Remember the wild and crazy teenage fan magazines that were popular in the 1960s, and have a new appreciation for the hard work and dedication it took to run a fan club.”

Elton John — All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track
By Romuald Ollivier & Olivier Roubin

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This first-of-its-kind catalog of Elton John’s decades-long career tells the story of one of rock’s all-time greatest artists, album-by-album and track-by-track. Organized chronologically and covering every album and song that Sir Elton Hercules John has ever released, All the Songs draws upon years of research to tell the behind-the-scenes stories of how each song was written, composed, and recorded, down to the instruments used and the people who played them. Spanning more than 50 years of work from Elton and his longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin, this book details the creative processes that resulted in seminal albums like Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Madman Across the Water and Tumbleweed Connection, as well as Academy Award wins for 1995’s Lion King and 2020’s Rocketman. Newer work like The Lockdown Sessions, which released in 2021, is also featured alongside Billboard stats, tour dates, producing and mixing credits, and other insider details that will keep fans turning pages. Starting with the artist’s early days working as a studio musician in London, and featuring interviews with actors, musicians, collaborators, and confidantes, All the Songs offers readers the most detailed portrait of the artist and his creative process that has ever been produced. Featuring hundreds of vivid photographs that celebrate one of music’s most visually arresting performers, this is the authoritative guide to one of rock ’n’ roll’s greatest stars.”

Samuel Barber: His Life and Legacy
By Howard Pollack

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A pivotal 20th-century composer, Samuel Barber earned a long list of honors and accolades that included two Pulitzer Prizes for Music and the public support of conductors like Arturo Toscanini, Serge Koussevitzky and Leonard Bernstein. Barber’s works have since become standard concert repertoire and continue to flourish across high art and popular culture. Acclaimed biographer Howard Pollack (Aaron Copland, George Gershwin) offers a multifaceted account of Barber’s life and music while placing the artist in his social and cultural milieu. Born into a musical family, Barber pursued his artistic ambitions from childhood. Pollack follows Barber’s path from his precocious youth through a career where, from the start, the composer consistently received prizes, fellowships, and other recognition. Stylistic analyses of works like the Adagio for Strings, the Violin Concerto, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 for voice and orchestra, the Piano Concerto, and the operas Vanessa and Antony and Cleopatra, stand alongside revealing accounts of the music’s commissioning, performance, reception, and legacy. Throughout, Pollack weaves in accounts of Barber’s encounters with colleagues like Aaron Copland and Francis Poulenc, performers from Eleanor Steber and Leontyne Price to Vladimir Horowitz and Van Cliburn, patrons, admirers, and a wide circle of eminent friends and acquaintances. He also provides an eloquent portrait of the composer’s decades-long relationship with the renowned opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti. Informed by new interviews and immense archival research, Samuel Barber is a long-awaited critical and personal biography of a monumental figure in 20th-century American music.”

Nick Lucas: The Crooning Troubadour and His Guitar
By Michael R Pitts

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For more than seven decades, Nick Lucas was an entertainer, beginning as a child street musician and becoming one of the most popular singer-guitarists of all time. He was a popular sideman in bands, and his solo career conquered radio, recordings, vaudeville, Broadway, films, night clubs and television. He is credited with being the first musician to replace the banjo with the guitar in big bands and on records, and with initiating the “intimate style” of singing, making him the first crooner. Lucas’s guitar playing contributed significantly to the instrument’s popularity, and he influenced generations of players with his instruction books and by having a line of popular guitar picks bearing his name. He was the first guitarist to have a custom-made model. This biography comprehensively covers Lucas’s career as he entertained audiences in the United States, England and Australia, becoming a beloved star and influencing popular music to the present day.”

The Yin and the Yang of It All: Rock ‘n’ Roll Memories from the Cusp as Told by a Mixed-Up, Mixed-Race Kid By John Kim Faye

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 1966 ― the Year of the Horse, not to mention Revolver and Pet SoundsJohn Kim Faye was born out of wedlock to a 40-year-old Korean mother and a 62-year-old Irish father. Faye grew up in the state of Delaware, where laws forbidding interracial marriage were still on the books until 1967. As the lead singer and primary songwriter of The Caulfields, Faye was one of the only mixed-race Asian American frontman to sign a major record contract in the alternative rock heyday of the 1990s. In an era that preceded K-Pop ― and even the rise of the internet ― Faye’s personal journey did not lead to superstardom. Instead, The Yin and The Yang of it All is a memoir about the discovery of a voice, a tribe, and a musical ethnicity that runs far deeper than his Korean/Irish roots. Bookended by the loss of this father against the backdrop of his tumultuous childhood in the post-Vietnam ’70s and his mother’s tragic passing in 2012, Faye’s story weaves a tapestry of revealing moments as told from his unique perspective on the cusps of identity, race, and fame.”

Revolutionary Spirit: A Post-Punk Exorcism
By Paul Simpson

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “If Morrissey was the Oscar Wilde of the 1980s indie scene, Paul Simpson was its William Blake; a self-destructive genius so lost in mystical visions of a new arcadia that he couldn’t meet the rent. Simpson’s career begins alongside fellow Liverpool luminaries Ian McCulloch, Bill Drummond, Will Sergeant, Pete Wylie, Pete Burns and Holly Johnson at the infamous club Eric’s, where, in 1976, he finds himself at the birth of the city’s second great musical explosion. He cofounds and christens the neo-psychedelic pop group The Teardrop Explodes with Julian Cope but walks out of the band just as they are about to break big and goes to work in a tearoom instead. He then forms The Wild Swans, the indie band of choice for literary-minded teens in the early 1980s, and Care with Ian Broudie of The Lightning Seeds, sharing a flat with a 17-year-old Courtney Love along the way. Marriage, fatherhood, tropical illness, and divorce follow, interspersed with artistic collaborations with Bill Drummond and members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, among others. Following an onstage reunion with Cope at the Royal Festival Hall, Simpson discovers that 7,000 miles away, in the Philippines, he is considered a musical god. Presidential suites, armed guards, police escorts — you couldn’t make it up, and, incredibly, he doesn’t need to. Revolutionary Spirit is the story of a musician driven by an unerring belief that artistic integrity will bring its own rewards. It concludes with an exorcism of sorts as Simpson finally rids himself of the debilitating demon of psychological depression that has, from the age of nine, run like malware in the background of his life.”

Behind The Voice: Dietro La Voce
By Anthony Callea

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “All Anthony Callea wanted was to sing. From his first memories of singing for his family, Anthony knew that he wanted to share his voice with the world. He had a strongly held dream but was as surprised as anyone when his breakout moment (his heart-stopping rendition of The Prayer on Australian Idol) turned him into a household name overnight. Now, in his own words, Anthony shares the joys and challenges of becoming celebrated for his voice, all while navigating the twists and turns of life. It’s a story of a kid from the working-class western suburbs of Melbourne with a big dream and an even bigger voice, who had to finish growing up in the spotlight. Anthony’s 20-year career has spanned stage, arena, and screen, and he now invites you backstage to share his journey. One day you are working at a suburban shopping centre as a Freddo Frog mascot, the next you are topping charts, winning awards and sharing stages with Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. These candid, courageous and, at times, very amusing anecdotes take us beyond the slick facade of showbiz, to the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to become one of Australia’s most enduring and beloved entertainers.”

Kerrang! Living Loud: Four Decades on the Frontline of Rock, Metal, Punk, and Alternative Music
By Nick Ruskell

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Celebrate 40 years of Kerrang! with this year-by-year review of the greatest artists and moments in metal and alternative music. Kerrang! has an unparalleled reputation as one of the world’s best-loved rock-focused publications. It continues to be at the forefront of alternative music, flying the flag for metal, hardcore, punk, and beyond, introducing millions to their new favorite bands. Anyone who’s anyone in the metal scene has featured Kerrang!’s hallowed pages and this unique book chronicles these appearances. If it happened in metal, Kerrang! covered it, as confirmed in this year-by-year survey of alternative music. By highlighting the heaviest albums, the most outlandish stars, the rowdiest mosh pits and the most incredible moments in rock history, fans are going to love it.”

The Williamsburg Avant-Garde: Experimental Music and Sound on the Brooklyn Waterfront
By Cisco Bradley

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In The Williamsburg Avant-Garde, Cisco Bradley chronicles the rise and fall of the underground music and art scene in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn between the late 1980s and early 2010s. Drawing on interviews, archival collections, musical recordings, videos, photos, and other ephemera, Bradley explores the scene’s social, cultural, and economic dynamics. Building on the neighborhood’s punk DIY approach and aesthetic, free jazz, post-punk, and noise musicians and groups ranging from Mary Halvorson, Zs and Nate Wooley to Matana Roberts, Peter Evans, and Darius Jones produced shows in a variety of unlicensed venues as well as clubs and cafes. At the same time, pirate radio station Free103point9 and music festivals made Williamsburg an epicenter of New York’s experimental culture. In 2005, New York’s rezoning act devastated the community, as gentrification displaced its participants further afield in Brooklyn and Queens. With this portrait of Williamsburg, Bradley not only documents some of the most vital music of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, he helps readers better understand the formation, vibrancy, and lifespan of experimental music and art scenes everywhere.”

Join the Future: Bleep Techno and the Birth of British Bass Music
By Matt Anniss

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Matt Anniss’s critically acclaimed alternative history of U.K. dance music in the acid house era returns in updated and expanded form. Named one of the best books on British music culture, Join The Future puts forward a persuasive new argument about the origins of U.K. club culture’s longrunning love affair with bass. Since the dawn of the 1990s, Britain’s dancefloors have moved to a string of styles built around skeletal rhythms and heavy sub-bass, including breakbeat hardcore, jungle, drum & bass, dubstep, U.K. garage, grime and bassline. Yet another previously overlooked sound pre-dated them all: Bleep and bass, or bleep techno, the first distinctly British form of electronic dance music.”

A Howlin’ Wind: Pub Rock and the Birth of New Wave
By John Blaney

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A fascinating study of how pub rock started, thrived and ultimately evolved into the New Wave. Blaney starts during the 1960s with the hippie roots of the movement, and then covers the main bands (Eggs Over Easy, Brinsley Schwarz, Ducks Deluxe et al). He explains how many of the Pub Rock bands re-invented themselves as New Wave acts (Kilburn and the High Roads becoming Ian Dury and the Blockheads, for example), often as a result of universities being awash with money and being able to pay over the odds for acts, thus putting the landlords of live music pubs out of business.”