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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Ruby Ray
Kalifornia Kool
Ruby Ray
Late '70s and early '80s San Francisco as captured by Ruby Ray, American photographer, well known for her photography of the early punk, post-punk and industrial movements in California.
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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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Jazz and Cocktails
Rethinking Race and the Sound of Film Noir
Jans B. Wager
Film noir showcased hard-boiled men and dangerous femmes fatales, rain-slicked city streets, pools of inky darkness cut by shards of light, and, occasionally, jazz. Jazz served as a shorthand for the seduction and risks of the mean streets in early film noir.—Recommended by Michael
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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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Don't Suck, Don't Die
Giving Up Vic Chesnutt
Kristin Hersh
"A longform creative obituary written to one of the great American songwriters of the last 25 years. Kristin Hersh (of Throwing Muses) offers this personal glimpse into her extremely complicated friendship with Chesnutt. Wounded, prophetic, dreamlike, charming, and bloody, just like Vic's music."––Recommended by Chris C., City Lights Publishers
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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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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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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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Tom Waits on Tom Waits
Interviews and Encounters
Paul Maher Jr.
Tom Waits, even with his barnyard growl and urban hipster yawp, may just be what the Daily Telegraph calls him: "the greatest entertainer on Planet Earth." Over a span of almost four decades, he has transformed his music and persona, not to suit the...
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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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The Vulture
Gil Scott-Heron
Digging the rhythms of the street, where the biggest deal life has to offer is getting high, this hip, fast-moving thriller relates the strange story of the murder of a teenage boy called John Lee...
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But Beautiful
A Book About Jazz
Geoff Dyer
"May be the best book ever written about jazz."--David Thomson, Los Angeles Times In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skillfully evokes the music and the men who shaped modern jazz. Drawing on photos, anecdotes, and, most important, the...
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The Elements of Music
Melody, Rhythm, and Harmony
Dr. Jason Martineau
An elegant primer on the principles and theories of music. This innovative book presents the elements of music by building upon the long-known fundamentals of acoustics, proportion and relationship—a kind of musical metaphor. In combination with...

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