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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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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Black Music
LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka)
"Jones has learned—and this has been very rare in jazz criticism—to write about music as an artist."—Nat Hentoff Black Music is a book about the brilliant young jazz musicians of the early 1960s: John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Ornette...
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Blues and the Poetic Spirit
Paul Garon
Paul Garon knows the blues, from the music itself to the poetry and psychology that are the impetus of its creation. The author of biographies of such blues icons as Peetie Wheatstraw and Memphis Minnie, Garon focuses on the social and political...
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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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Can't Stop Won't Stop
A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
Jeff Chang, DJ Kool Herc
Many good books have been written about the history of hip-hop music and the generation that nurtured it. Can't Stop Won't Stop ranks among the best. Jeff Chang covers the music--from its Jamaican roots in the late 1960s to its birth in the Bronx...
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Chronicles
Volume One
Bob Dylan
"I'd come from a long ways off and had started a long ways down. But now destiny was about to manifest itself. I felt like it was looking right at me and nobody else."
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Coltrane
The Story of a Sound
Ben Ratliff
John Coltrane left an indelible mark on the world, but what was the essence of his achievement that makes him so prized forty years after his death? What were the factors that helped Coltrane become who he was? And what would a John Coltrane look...
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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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Early Work
1970-1979
Patti Smith
Collected here are selections from Smith's writings over the decade in which she made a lasting impact on America's underground literary and rock scene. Some of the works selected are unpublished pieces from journals, performances and Smith's personal...
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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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Gypsy Cante
Deep Song of the Caves
Will Kirkland
Over centuries, Andalusian Gypsies developed cante jondo, or deep song, which grew from the experience of exile and marginalization. Although flamenco music enjoys wide popularity today, the words of the songs are often lost in the passion of the...
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I'm Your Man
The Life of Leonard Cohen
Sylvie Simmons
Beautifly written, impossible to put down, and an absolute must for any Cohen fan! Or, for that matter, for any fan of the worlds of travel, religion and poetry, as well as the inner workings of the music industry. Cohen was such an interesting man...
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Jazz Poems
Ever since its first flowering, jazz has had a powerful influence on American poetry; this scintillating anthology offers a treasury of poems that are as varied and as vital as the music that inspired them.From the Harlem Renaissance to the beat...
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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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