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Jedd Beaudoin's Best Music Books of 2014

The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus (Yale University Press)

Greil Marcus is one of our greatest music and cultural critics—maybe even the greatest. In this latest volume he travels the distance between Etta James and Joy Division, Cyndi Lauper, Beyoncé and more for a poetic, thoughtful and incredibly well-paced read.

The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob by David Kinney (Simon & Schuster)

The only thing more eccentric than Bob Dylan? His fans. In some cases these obsessives take the Word of Dylan beyond the extreme, in other instances they’re harmless music lovers who want to know The Answers to Dylan’s Big Questions. A read that is impossibly entertaining, educational, and, sometimes, frightening.

A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man by Holly George-Warren (Viking Adult)

He was a teen idol with the Box Tops, part of an incredibly influential cult band with Big Star, then nearly faded into obscurity. Chilton’s story has been told before but never with the skill of this work. A must for anyone who wants to understand the man and music that influenced bands such as REM, The Replacements, Teenage Fanclub and others.

Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir by Joe Satriani (Ben Bella)

Joe Satriani is one of the most influential guitarists to emerge in American music since 1980. The New York native’s memoir is loaded with tales of his evolution from patient student to patient master, one who has not only managed to rise to worldwide acclaim but has also helped fellow guitarists such as Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and Larry LaLonde (Primus) find their voice. Satriani skips the sex and drugs and focuses on the rock ‘n’ roll that has made him one of the most beloved figures in rock guitar.

There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll by Lisa Robinson (Riverhead)

Robinson has hung with Bowie, Lady Gaga and U2 and she tells fantastic stories in this memoir about her life in rock and roll. The writing is even, patient, and always revealing.

See Chris Heim's Best Music Books of 2014 list here. And all of the music shows of KMUW selected their Best of 2014 music lists here.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.