David P. Szatmary

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Dangerous Rhythms: Jazz and the Underworld

Though sometimes touching on non-jazz artists (like Bobby Darin) and violence unrelated to the mob (e.g., a beating of Miles Davis), English’s book adroitly chronicles jazz music’s iron-clad, often-unspoken ties to the mob.

Bon: The Last Highway; The Untold Story of Bon Scott and AC/DC’s Back in Black, Updated Edition of the Definitive Biography

Though sometimes obsessed with Scott’s debauchery, Fink delivers a page-turning account of the complicated character and significant contributions of Bon Scott that metalheads will devour.

Why Patti Smith Matters

Readers will be better served by Victor Bockris and Roberta Bayley’s Patti Smith: An Unauthorized Biography. Not recommended.

Take a Sad Song: The Emotional Currency of “Hey Jude”

Not hiding his obsession for “Hey Jude,” Campion delivers an in-depth account of an important song; Beatlemaniacs will be pleased.

Long Train Runnin’: Our Story of the Doobie Brothers

Though they’re sometimes repetitive, Johnston and Simmons ably and vividly recount the Doobie Brothers’ hard-working, highly successful 50-year career. Their account will appeal to fans of ’70s rock.

Corporate Rock Sucks: The Rise and Fall of SST Records

Supplementing previous works, such as Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life and Steven Blush’s American Hardcore, with new in-depth interviews, Ruland expertly conveys the importance of SST to the rise of hardcore and indie rock and the challenges faced by a small label in the cutthroat corporate music industry. Rock fans will be fascinated.

Music and Mystique in Muscle Shoals

Though mired in minutiae and scholarly lingo, Reali’s work successfully shatters misconceptions about soul music and an identifiable Shoals sound and will appeal to academics and music aficionados.

Tim: The Official Biography of Avicii

Mosesson’s poignant demonstration of the tragic costs of superstardom for an introverted, highly creative, anxiety-ridden young man will resonate with anyone interested in popular culture. Highly recommended.

From the Streets of Shaolin: The Wu-Tang Saga

Fernando brilliantly reconstructs the Wu-Tang story and, in the process, sketches a concise history of hip-hop and illuminates the challenges the group members encountered growing up. Whether readers are long-time Wu-Tang Clan fans or have never listened, they’ll be captivated.

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