World book day 2015 feature: Top five music books

For World Book Day 2015, we’ve gathered a selection of the best books about music around. If you’re after something to read then we have some suggestions for you.

Disco, House
You Better Work!, Kai Fintschler (2000)
‘You Better Work!’ is the first detailed study of underground dance music or UDM, a phenomenon that has its roots in the overlap and cross-fertilization of African American and gay cultural sensibilities that have occurred since the 1970s. Taking New York City as its geographic focus, Kai Fikentscher goes beyond stereotypical images of club and disco to explore the cult and culture of the DJ, the turntable and vinyl recordings as musical instruments, and the vital relationship between music and dance at underground clubs. (Amazon)

Tony Allen: An Autobiography of the Master Drummer of Afrobeat (2013)
Tony Allen, the rhythmic engine of Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat tells his story. It spans Allen’s early years and career playing highlife music in Lagos and his fifteen years with Fela, from 1964 until 1979, his struggles to form his own bands in Nigeria, and his emigration to France. His story conveys a love of his craft along with the specifics of his practice. It also provides invaluable first-hand accounts of the explosive creativity in postcolonial African music, and the personal and artistic dynamics in Fela’s Koola Lobitos and Africa 70, two of the greatest bands to ever play African music. (Amazon)

Hip Hop
The Gospel of Hip Hop, KRS-One (2009)
Set in the format of the Christian Bible, this 600-page opus is a life guide manual for hip hop followers and it’s no surprise that KRS-One considers hip hop his religion. Combining classic philosophy with faith and practicle knowledge, this is an in-depth exploration of hip hop as a life path by one of its leaders. Known as The Teacha, he developed his unique outlook as a homeless teen in Brooklyn, engaging his philosophy of self-creation to become one of the most respected emcees in hip hop history. He painstakingly details the development of the culture and ways in which its future should be preserved. (Amazon)


Stand Up Tall: Dizzee Rascal and the Birth of Grime, Dan Wilcox (2013)
Ten years ago before this book was written, an extraordinary new sound exploded out of London’s council estates that would change music forever. While New Labour were flooding urban Britain with ASBOs and CCTV, teenagers like Dizzee looked up at the gleaming towers of Canary Wharf and contemplated their own poverty; telling stories of devastating bleakness and lyrical wit, backed by music that shone with the futurism of a brighter tomorrow. (Amazon)

Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk, Dan Sicko (1999)
Though its hard to dispel the feeling that the great book on techno has yet to be written, Dan Sicko’s Techno Rebelsis a worthy historical overview, and hasn’t been surpassed since its publication in 1999 (a revised edition appeared a couple of years ago). Warm, wise and rich in anecdote, the book is at its strongest when focussing on Detroit, particularly the cultural climate that gave rise to techno’s first wave, and it goes off the rails when it begins trying to track the global dissemination of the sound. (FACT) (Amazon)


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