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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Hip Hop Family Tree 1
1970s-1981
Ed Piskor
This is a well-documented history of the beginnings of hip hop. Beautifully drawn in Old School comic form; hilariously written and sharply dissected. Open to any page and you'll be hooked. New York City, DJs and graffiti in the late 70s? You can't beat it, because "the beat don't stop til the break of dawn!"—Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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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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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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Miles
The Autobiography
Miles Davis
For more than forty years Miles Davis has been in the front rank of American music. Universally acclaimed as a musical genius, Miles is one of the most important and influential musicians in the world. The subject of several biographies, now Miles speaks out himself about his extraordinary life.
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The Anthology of Rap
Adam Bradley, Andrew DuBois
From the school yards of the South Bronx to the tops of the Billboard charts, rap has emerged as one of the most influential cultural forces of our time. In "The Anthology of Rap", editors Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois demonstrate that rap is also a...
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The History of Jazz
Ted Gioia
Ted Gioia's History of Jazz has been universally hailed as a classic--acclaimed by jazz critics and fans around the world. Now Gioia brings his magnificent work completely up-to-date, drawing on the latest research and revisiting virtually every...
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Why Jazz?
A Concise Guide
Kevin Whitehead
What was the first jazz record? Are jazz solos really improvised? How did jazz lay the groundwork for rock and country music? In Why Jazz?, author and NPR jazz critic Kevin Whitehead provides lively, insightful answers to these and many other fascinating questions, offering an entertaining guide for both novice listeners and long-time fans.
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Thelonious Monk
The Life and Times of an American Original
Robin D.G. Kelley
Thelonious Monk is the critically acclaimed, gripping saga of an artist's struggle to "make it" without compromising his musical vision. It is a story that, like its subject, reflects the tidal ebbs and flows of American history in the twentieth...
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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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Girls to the Front
The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution
Sara Marcus
In the early 1990s a group of friends in Olympia, Washington decided to tell the world what it felt like to be young and female in America. Through consciousness-raising meetings, zine exchanges, and numerous kick-ass all-girl punk bands, with the...
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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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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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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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