The best books on Rock Music, recommended by Peter Lawlor

Successful musicians don’t necessarily need formal training or 10,000 hours of practice under their belt; what they must have is a feel for music, an innate gift. But many of rock’s brightest burning stars were lost to drugs. Here, Peter Lawlor—who combined a career as a senior economic advisor with that of an award-winning songwriter, producer and record label executive—selects five of the best books on rock music, focusing on revelatory biographies that peer behind the veil.

The best books on Punk Rock (in 80s America), recommended by Kevin Mattson

Punk is more than just a musical genre. It is an ethos. Channelling one’s anger against the triteness of the culture industry’s offerings can be a spontaneous and creative act of resistance and rebellion. Moreover, as Kevin Mattson shows in this selection of books about punk in the 1980s in America, attending a rock concert by a band like the Dead Kennedys was a formative political experience for a generation of citizens, akin to attending a rally or a party convention. It was a spirit of constructive anarchy that can still channel the political anger of the alienated in the 21st century.

The best books on Rock and Roll, recommended by Craig Brown

We might console ourselves with the thought that rock stars are generally miserable, but the truth is that most of them seem to have a great time. Journalist, satirist and Beatles biographer Craig Brown selects five of the best books on that rock and roll lifestyle.

The best books on Heavy Metal, recommended by Keith Kahn Harris

Metal music, developed in the sixties and seventies, is notorious for its dark and disturbing imagery and its aggressive sound. But there’s nothing to be afraid of, says sociologist and fan Keith Kahn-Harris: it’s all part of the mythmaking of metal.