Music
Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.

   
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Burning Down the Haus
Punk Rock, Revolution, & the Fall of the Berlin Wall
Tim Mohr
This secret history of East German punk rock is not just about the music; it is a story of extraordinary bravery in the face of one of the most oppressive regimes in history.
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Devotion (Paperback)
Patti Smith
In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture's beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.
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Astral Weeks
A Secret History of 1968
Ryan Walsh
A fascinating exploration of the strange portal world that was Boston's counterculture in 1968, loosely centered around Van Morrison's recording of Astral Weeks there. The frightening Mel Lyman cult, oddball forgotten Psych bands, James Brown and the Velvet Underground all make guest appearances, and it’s riveting. —Recommended by Michael
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New Analog
Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World
Damon Krukowski
—Recommended by Elaine & Andy
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Collected Lyrics
1970 - 2015
Patti Smith
Initially published in 1998, Patti Smith's Complete Lyrics was a testimony to her uncompromising poetic power. Now, on the fortieth anniversary of the release of Horses, Smith’s groundbreaking album, Collected Lyrics has been revised and expanded with more than thirty-five additional songs and liberally illustrated with...
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Just Around Midnight
Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination
Jack Hamilton
By the time Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, the idea of a black man playing lead guitar in a rock band seemed exotic. Yet a mere ten years earlier, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley had stood among the most influential rock and roll performers. Why did rock and roll become "white"? Just around Midnight reveals the interplay of popular music and racial...
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Conversations in Jazz
The Ralph J. Gleason Interviews
Ralph J. Gleason, Toby Gleason
During his nearly forty years as a music journalist, Ralph J. Gleason recorded many in-depth interviews with some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. These informal sessions, conducted mostly in Gleason's Berkeley, California, home, have never been transcribed and published in full until now.
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A Listener's Guide to Free Improvisation
John Corbett
Improvisation rattles some listeners. Maybe they're even suspicious of it. John Coltrane's saxophonic flights of fancy, Jimi Hendrix's feedback drenched guitar solos, Ravi Shankar’s sitar extrapolations—all these sounds seem like so much noodling or jamming, indulgent self-expression. "Just" improvising, as is sometimes said.
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Lit Up Inside ***Unsigned Version***
Selected Lyrics
Van Morrison
Van Morrison selects his best and most iconic lyrics, spanning 50 years of writing and representing his entire creative journey. Gorgeous hardcover edition now available.
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Hip Hop Family Tree 1975-1983
Gift Box Set
Ed Piskor
A special slipcover and a special comic are included in the smash hit's gift set. To celebrate the resounding critical and commercial success of the first two volumes of Ed Piskor's unprecedented history of Hip Hop, we are offering the two books in a mind-blowingly colorful slipcase, drawn and designed by the artist.
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The Nigger Factory
Gil Scott-Heron
Originally published in 1972, Gil Scott-Heron's striking second novel, The Nigger Factory, is a powerful parable of the way in which human beings are conditioned to think, drawing inspiration from Scott-Heron’s own experiences as a student...
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Love Goes to Buildings on Fire
Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever
Will Hermes
Punk rock and hip hop. No wave, disco and salsa. The loft jazz scene and the downtown minimalists. In the mid-1970s, New York City was teeming with musical innovators and cross-pollinations thereof. Hermes paints a breathtaking and panoramic portrait of the era. —Recommended by Michael, City Lights Books. Also recommended by Jeff, City Lights
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The Grey Album
On the Blackness of Blackness
Kevin Young
Taking its title from Danger Mouse's pioneering mashup of Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' The White Album, Kevin Young’s encyclopedic book combines essay, cultural criticism, and lyrical chorus to illustrate the African American tradition of...
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Just Kids
Patti Smith
Just Kids illuminates the impressive lover of literature that Patti Smith is. Her memoir will be of particular interest to City Lights enthusiasts as she is our quintessential reader, a fan of the Surrealists...

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