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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The Jazz Standards
A Guide to the Repertoire
Ted Gioia
The Jazz Standards, a comprehensive guide to the most important jazz compositions, is a unique resource, a browser's companion, and an invaluable introduction to the art form. This essential book for music lovers tells the story of more than 250 key jazz songs, and includes a listening guide to more than 2,000 recordings. Many books recommend...
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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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Shotgun Seamstress
Zine Collection
Osa Atoe
Shotgun Seamstress collects all of the issues of a fantastic punk fanzine into one book that focuses on African American queer & feminist artists and musicians. Full of interviews, reviews, and so much more, Shotgun Seamstress was put out from 2006-2012
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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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Keystone Korner
Portrait of a Jazz Club
Kathy Sloane
During the 1970s, when jazz clubs all over America were folding under the onslaught of rock and roll and disco, San Francisco's Keystone Korner was an oasis for jazz musicians and patrons. Tucked next to a police...
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The Cello Suites
J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece
Eric Siblin
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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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Quadrivium
The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology
Anthony Ashton, Miranda Lundy, John Martineau,Dr. Jason Martineau, Daud Sutton
The quadrivium—the classical curriculum—comprises the four liberal arts of number, geometry, music, and cosmology. It was studied from antiquity to the Renaissance as a way of glimpsing the nature of reality. Geometry is number in space; music is...
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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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Delta Blues
The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music
Ted Gioia
“The essential history of this distinctly American genre.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution In this “expertly researched, elegantly written, dispassionate yet thoughtful history” (Gary Giddins), award-winning author Ted Gioia gives us “the rare...
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DownBeat - The Great Jazz Interviews (A 75th Anniversary Anthology)
Various, Frank Alkyer, Ed Enright
Culled from the DownBeat archives - includes in-depth interviews with literally every great jazz artist and personality that ever lived! Features classic photos and magazine covers from DownBeat's vast archives. In honor of its 75th anniversary...

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