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Reference eBooks

If you like Reference eBooks, then you'll love these top picks.
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  • How to Listen to Great Music

    A Guide to Its History, Culture, and Heart

    The perfect music gift from one of the most trusted names in continuing education. Learn how to better appreciate music in this guide that will unlock the knowledge you need to understand “the most abstract and sublime of all the arts.”Whether you're listening in a concert hall or on your iPod, concert music has the power to move you. The right knowledge can deepen the ability of this music to ... Read more

    $14.99 USD

  • Bessie

    The definitive biography of musical legend Bessie Smith: “A landmark in the writing of jazz history . . . First-rate” (The Washington Post).Known as the “Empress of the Blues,” Bessie Smith was a successful vaudeville entertainer who became the highest paid African American performer of the Roaring Twenties. This revised and expanded biography debunks many of the myths that have circulated since ... Read more

    $2.99 USD or Free with Kobo Plus

  • Revenge of the She-Punks

    A Feminist Music History from Poly Styrene to Pussy Riot

    A dazzling survey of women in punk, from the genre’s inception in 1970s London to the current voices making waves around the globe.As an industry insider and pioneering post-punk musician, Vivien Goldman has an unusually well-rounded perspective on music journalism. In Revenge of the She-Punks, she probes four themes—identity, money, love, and protest—to explore what makes punk such a liberating ... Read more

    $2.99 USD or Free with Kobo Plus

  • The Beatles

    Celebrating 50 Years of Beatlemania in America

    by Ben Nussbaum ...
    A celebration of the four longhaired, oddly dressed chaps who took over America—filled with facts, stories, and photos.Within just two months of the Beatles’ debut on Ed Sullivan’s variety hour, the band had secured all five top spots on Billboard’s Hot 100, and before year’s end would sell an astonishing ten million records. Filled with dozens of color and black and white photographs, The Beatles ... Read more

    $8.99 USD or Free with Kobo Plus

  • The Ox

    The Authorized Biography of The Who's John Entwistle

    by Paul Rees ...
    Unearth a piece of music history with this definitive, no-holds-barred biography of John Entwistle, The Who's legendary bass guitarist.It is an unequivocal fact that in terms of rock bands, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who represent Year Zero, the beginning of all things, ground-breakers all. To that incontrovertible end, John Entwistle—The Who's beloved bassist—remains an enigmatic ... Read more

    $12.99 USD $2.99 USD

  • Last Train to Memphis (Enhanced Edition)

    The Rise of Elvis Presley

    Written with grace, humor, and affection, Last Train to Memphis has been hailed as the definitive biography of Elvis Presley. It is the first to set aside the myths and focus on Elvis' humanity in a way that has yet to be duplicated.A New York Times Notable BookWinner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award"Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all oth... ... Read more

    $9.99 USD

  • The Flatlanders

    Now It's Now Again

    by John T. Davis ...
    series American Music Series
    “Conservative West Texas spawns radical creativity and lifelong bonds of friendship in this story of an unlikely band” from the renowned music journalist (Kirkus Reviews).A group of three friends who made music in a house in Lubbock, Texas, recorded an album that wasn’t released and went their separate ways into solo careers. That group became a legend and then—twenty years later—a band. The ... Read more

    $2.99 USD or Free with Kobo Plus

  • Zen and the Art of Recording

    by Mixerman ...
    “Without belaboring the technical, he encompasses the creative, spiritual, practical, and business aspects in a simple and entertaining read.” – Ron Saint Germain (U2, Mick Jagger, 311, Whitney Houston) ... Read more

    $26.99 USD

  • Ornette Coleman

    The Territory and the Adventure

    by Maria Golia ...
    With striking photographs and personal insight, a compelling biography of the great American saxophonist and free jazz innovator Ornette Coleman.Ornette Coleman’s career encompassed the glory years of jazz and the American avant-garde. Born in segregated Fort Worth, Texas, during the Great Depression, the African-American composer and musician was zeitgeist incarnate. Steeped in the Texas blues ... Read more

    $14.99 USD

  • A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers

    Will Friedwald’s illuminating, opinionated essays—provocative, funny, and personal—on the lives and careers of more than three hundred singers anatomize the work of the most important jazz and popular performers of the twentieth century. From giants like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland to lesser-known artists like Jeri Southern and Joe Mooney, they have created a ... Read more

    $24.99 USD

  • How Music Works

    by David Byrne ...
    **Updated with a new chapter on digital curation*How Music Works* is David Byrne’s incisive and enthusiastic look at the musical art form, from its very inceptions to the influences that shape it, whether acoustical, economic, social or technological. Utilizing his incomparable career and inspired collaborations with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and many others, Byrne taps deeply into his lifetime of ... Read more

    $13.99 USD $4.99 USD

  • Sound of the Beast

    The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal

    by Ian Christe ...
    The definitive history of the first 30 years of heavy metal, containing over 100 interviews with members of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Slipknot, Kiss, Megadeth, Public Enemy, Napalm Death, and more.More than 30 years after Black Sabbath released the first complete heavy metal album, its founder, Ozzy Osbourne, is the star of The Osbournes, TV's favourite new reality ... Read more

    $14.99 USD

  • Dvorak's Prophecy: And the Vexed Fate of Black Classical Music

    **A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2021A provocative interpretation of why classical music in America "stayed white"—how it got to be that way and what can be done about it.**In 1893 the composer Antonín Dvorák prophesied a “great and noble school” of American classical music based on the “negro melodies” he had excitedly discovered since arriving in the United States a year before. But ... Read more

    $18.99 USD

  • Let's Do It

    The Birth of Pop Music: A History

    by Bob Stanley ...
    The must-read music book of the year—and the first such history bringing together all musical genres to tell the definitive narrative of the birth of Pop—from 1900 to the mid-1950s.Pop music didn't begin with the Beatles in 1963, or with Elvis in 1956, or even with the first seven-inch singles in 1949. There was a pre-history that went back to the first recorded music, right back to the turn of ... Read more

    $22.99 USD

  • Young Marble Giants' Colossal Youth

    series 33 1/3
    Welsh post-punk band Young Marble Giants released one LP in 1980 and then, like their vanishing portraits on the album's cover, disappeared. Even though Colossal Youth received positive reviews and sold surprisingly well, Young Marble Giants quickly slid into the margins of rock 'n' roll history-relegated to cult status among post-punk and indie rock fans. Their lasting appeal owes itself to the ... Read more

    $12.99 USD

  • Duran Duran's Rio

    by Annie Zaleski ...
    series 33 1/3
    In the '80s, the Birmingham, England, band Duran Duran became closely associated with new wave, an idiosyncratic genre that dominated the decade's music and culture. No album represented this rip-it-up-and-start-again movement better than the act's breakthrough 1982 LP, Rio. A cohesive album with a retro-futuristic sound-influences include danceable disco, tangy funk, swaggering glam, and Roxy ... Read more

    $12.99 USD

  • Major Dudes

    A Steely Dan Companion

    A “thoughtful, loving, and thorough portrait” of the pioneering musicians behind Steely Dan, featuring interviews, essays, reviews and more (PopMatters).At its core, Steely Dan is a creative marriage between guitarist Donald Fagen and keyboardist Walter Becker. It recorded several of the cleverest and best-produced albums of the 1970s, making them one of the most successful bands to be inducted ... Read more

    $14.99 USD or Free with Kobo Plus

  • Loft Jazz

    Improvising New York in the 1970s

    The New York loft jazz scene of the 1970s was a pivotal period for uncompromising, artist-produced work. Faced with a flagging jazz economy, a group of young avant-garde improvisers chose to eschew the commercial sphere and develop alternative venues in the abandoned factories and warehouses of Lower Manhattan. Loft Jazz provides the first book-length study of this period, tracing its history amid ... Read more

    $24.99 USD

  • Under the Big Black Sun

    A Personal History of L.A. Punk

    Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it's never been told before. John Doe of the legendary band X and co-author Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary West Coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length tales from the authors ... Read more

    $11.99 USD

  • Steely Dan on track

    by Jez Rowden ...
    series On track
    One of the biggest names in the musical landscape of the 1970s, Steely Dan released a string of albums that pushed the boundaries of what was possible in a recording studio. With albums like The Royal Scam and Aja, the songs of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen drew from their love of jazz, their ability to write memorable pop hooks and their penchant for subversive humour, to produce a catalogue of ... Read more

    $9.99 USD or Free with Kobo Plus

  • The Indispensable Composers

    A Personal Guide

    An exploration into the question of greatness from the Chief Classical Music Critic of the New York TimesWhen he began to listen to the great works of classical music as a child, Anthony Tommasini had many questions. Why did a particular piece move him? How did the music work? Over time, he realized that his passion for this music was not enough. He needed to understand it. Take Bach, for starters ... Read more

    $14.99 USD $9.99 USD

  • The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums

    The author of the magisterial A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers now approaches the great singers and their greatest work in an innovative and revelatory way: through considering their finest albums, which is the format in which this music was most resonantly organized and presented to its public from the 1940s until the very recent decline of the CD. It is through their albums ... Read more

    $10.99 USD

  • Temperament

    How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization

    Few music lovers realize that the arrangement of notes on today’s pianos was once regarded as a crime against God and nature, or that such legendary thinkers as Pythagoras, Plato, da Vinci, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Newton and Rousseau played a role in the controversy. Indeed, from the time of the Ancient Greeks through the eras of Renaissance scientists and Enlightenment philosophers, the ... Read more

    $10.99 USD $7.99 USD

  • Strings of Memories

    by Jim LaDiana ...
    During the 1930s and ‘40s, the Big Band Era and national radio broadcasts found the guitar slowly emerging from its status as a rhythm instrument to a viable, natural melodic voice. A minute number of guitarists would later capture the infectious sound of the guitar in the recording studios, releasing lasting audio impressions of the instrument, on a grand scale, onto the masses via records, early ... Read more

    $9.99 USD