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10 Fascinating Books About Rock Stars

Learn about the lives of your favorite musicians by reading books about rock stars that unveil their personal journey to stardom.

 

Three things that are certain in the lives of rock stars: sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It is through these three things that make each one of their individual lives unique, fascinating, and worth reading about. If you are a fan of any rock star, then you may as well already know the consistent patterns of early drug use, quick rises to fame, and rags to riches stories. Rock stars live a life that we can only dream of, which makes these stories about their lives so fascinating to read about. 

Memoirs and autobiographies often shed light on the personal lives of these rock stars, and lead us to realize that they are people with real life problems, too. From Mick Jagger to Patti Smith, these household names have endured everything from whirlwind rock star romances to addictions and personal struggles. Books about rock stars open up another world into the lives of our heroes, and offer a backstage pass on their journey to becoming who they were meant to be.

From Cradle to Stage by Virginia Hanlon Grohl

In this memoir, Virgina Grohl, mother of Dave Grohl (frontman of the Foo Fighters), collects stories from mothers who raised rock star sons. A rock star's life always begins with his or her mother. It was through their initial encouragement and push towards individuality that lead their sons and daughters to becoming rock stars. 

With her son in the music industry for countless years, Virginia created relationships with other rock star mothers while spending her time backstage and on the road. In this book, Virginia speaks with the mothers of Dr. Dre, Amy Winehouse, Michael Stripe, Mike D., and many more. The stories follow the rock stars from childhood, to high school, and up until the big stages. After reading this book, you begin to notice the patterns in behaviors that these rock stars have at a young age, and how mothers encouraged their children to use their abilities to their fullest potential.

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis and Larry Sloman

Written as an autobiography from Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, the frontman exposes his life and everything that lead up to the moment of publication. He tells tales of his drug use, how his music evolved at an early age, and all of the influences in his life. 

Through this book, Kiedis proves to be as much as a memoirist as he is a musician. If anyone were to be classified as a rock star, it would be Kiedis. He embodies everything it means to be a rock star—his love for everything (darkness, death, and disease) goes beyond his music, and is all part of his passionate journey of life. Scar Tissue is a story about addiction, recovery, and redemption.

Mick Jagger by Philip Norman

The Rolling Stones are arguably one of the most well-known and respected rock bands in the world. One can only imagine the sort of life that comes with such a high caliber lifestyle. For Mick Jagger, it all came natural. 

Mick Jagger is classified as an overachiever, extrovert, and egotist, and all of that was easily perceived through his music; but off stage, he couldn't have been more opposite. Through five decades as the lead singer to The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger has gone through it all. His persona of being a narcissistic superstar eventually led him to heavy drug use, and made him part of one of the most famous scandals in rock history. Now, at 75 years old, Mick Jagger has done everything but slow down.

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Patti Smith is an enigma, and her story is among the best musician memoirs every fan must read. She lived through the most interesting era in American history. Patti Smith first started off as a poet and a performer. Through her art, she met Robert Mapplethorpe, who was a huge part of her journey to life, love, and self-discovery. 

Both artists unraveled in the streets of Coney Island and NYC, finding themselves in iconic landmarks, such as the Hotel Chelsea, where they spent most of their time getting inspired by influential artists. This story begins with a rock star romance and ends in serious reflection. It is not only a memoir of Patti Smith, but also a tale of New York City in the 60s and 70s.

Life by Keith Richards and James Fox

The Rolling Stones would never have been as legendary as they are now if it wasn’t for Keith Richards. He lived the original rock and roll lifestyle. In his book Life, Richards tells the story of the origin of The Rolling Stones, and how he learned guitar and formed a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones. Throughout their time in the spotlight, The Rolling Stones endured multiple drug busts, which ultimately led to their notoriety. Keith Richards and the rest of the band mates were recognized as outlaws, leading him to live a life of isolation and addiction after his love story with Patti Hansen and the death of Brian Jones.

The Sinners on Tour Series by Olivia Cunning

One thing is for certain about Olivia Cunning: The tabloids love her. There was a moment in time where all anyone was talking about was her affair with her bodyguard, which she goes into detail in her memoir. While she was touring as a rhythm guitarist for Exodus End, she couldn’t help but be the center of attention because of the speculation against her and her band-mates. 

In reality, while media assumed Cunning was cheating on her rock star boyfriend, she was actually participating in threesomes with guitarist Trey Mills and bodyguard Ethan Connor. On the inside, her relationship with both men was loving and satisfying, but with the harsh backlash of the media and family, it took a toll on her personal, public, and professional life. In this seven book series, unfold the life and scandals of Olivia Cunning.

Anger Is an Energy: My Life Uncensored by John Lydon

John Lydon, popularly known as Johnny Rotten, is the lead singer of the Sex Pistols, and lived a life of controversy and notoriety. It is safe to say that John Lydon is one of the most culturally influential musicians within the past 50 years. His time with the Sex Pistols gave him fame and influence in the mid-70s that led to an entire generation of change. 

While he obtained his position with the Sex Pistols, Lydon made it his mission to become someone different, and to keep evolving in the eyes of the public. He created Public Image Ltd., another band that served as a creative outlet and group that made powerful anthems. John Lydon is both captivating and dynamic, all of which can be grasped through his storytelling.

I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne and Chris Ayres

Ozzy Osbourne—the man who can bite a bat’s head off on stage, survive multiple STDs and a suicidal overdose, and still manage to sell out arenas worldwide. The story of Ozzy Osbourne is the epitome of a rock and roll story. Osbourne has always been drawn to the dark side, resulting in him pursuing poor choices in his life, especially sex and drugs. As the lead vocalist for punk band Black Sabbath though, you can expect nonetheless.

Slash by Slash and Anthony Bozza

Slash is one of those household names that you are never going to forget. In his autobiography, he redefines sex, drugs, and rock and roll. He begins by telling the story of how the legendary band Guns N' Roses came together, their creative process, how they survived under the pressure of fame, and how it all fell apart.

As a member of Guns N’ Roses, Slash had to survive insane, never-ending tours, his band mates, and sometimes even himself. As one of the most iconic guitarists of this generation, Slash didn’t get there over night. He spent years of hard work and dedication perfecting one of the top guitar solos of all time, as well as being at the right place at the right time, which is all outlined in his autobiography.

It's so Easy: and Other Lies by Duff McKagan

Who said a rockstar’s life is easy? As told by Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver founding member, Duff McKagan, that is far from the truth. With the amazing history of rock and roll comes the unimaginable stories and obstacles that can only be read through books about rock stars, which offers an insider's perspective to their personal lives. From stories of fame and fortune to struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction, McKagan's story has it all. It is as if he has lived 10 lives in one.

Throughout his life, he has transformed into a man of wisdom, and is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Dealing with heroin addiction was only one battle, but finding himself at the pinnacle of his fame was just as difficult. After living out of his car in LA for a few weeks, McKagan came across an ad for a wanted bass player to play alongside a mysterious man named ‘Slash.’ You can rightly assume that the audition went well; and thus, the most widely recognized rock band in the country, and maybe even the world, was born.

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