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Essential Biographical Books for Rock Music Fans

Updated on January 22, 2015

The Greatest Holiday Reads For The Rock Star In You!

Looking for a book to read on your summer holidays, but don't want the latest fictional bestseller? After an edge-of-your-sun-lounger read with a little more bite? Or just interested in find out out what your favourite rock stars are like when they're not melting faces onstage? Then read on, for my personal selection of the greatest rock autobiographies! Stories about fame, band disputes, and the odd drug overdose will be found on the pages of many of these. Trust me, you'll never think about your favourite rock musicians in the same way again!

Corey Taylor - Seven Deadly SIns

Corey Taylor, lead singer in Iowa metallers Slipknot, has lived an unusual life. But what would you expect from a vocalist in one of the world's unpredictable and diverse metal bands? His book tells the story of his life through his experiences of the Seven Deadly Sins, the mistakes he made, the conflicts he fought through, and how he brought his life back on track.

Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good
Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good

Both brutally honest and painfully humorous, Corey Taylor's story "perfectly captures the supercharged energy, aggression, and outrageousness of Slipknot's music" (Publisher's Weekly, 13th June 2011). From losing his virginity at 11, to cocaine binges and setting himself on fire, Corey has lived his life through the Seven Deadly Sins, and has emerged out the other side to tell his story.

 

Slash - The Autobiography

Guitarist Saul 'Slash' Hudson joined the newly-formed Guns and Roses in 1985, after moving from Staffordshire in the UK to Los Angeles when he was a young boy. Before G'n'R had even signed a record deal, they were already well-known as rebellious and loud, earning the monicker "The Most Dangerous Band in the World." But as time went on, not only did relationships begin to fray, but Slash also found himself with his own personal problems, his addiction to heroin...

Slash
Slash

This book is an honest and open insight into the history of Slash, considered by many to be one of the finest rock guitarists ever to have lived. From his early and teenage years, to joining Guns N Roses, right up to the forming of Velvet Revolver, his story is an addictive read. Dealing with his heroin and alcohol addictions, his volatile relationship with Axl Rose, and his various loves and losses, the book flows so fluently you'll find it hard to put the book down.

 

Ozzy Osbourne - I Am Ozzy

John Osbourne, frontman in Black Sabbath and proclaimed as 'The Godfather of Heavy Metal', but better known as just Ozzy, started life as a working class kid destined for factory work. Now at the ripe old age of 60, he's lived through substance abuse, rabies scares, and a direct hit with a plane, and is ready to tell you his story.

I Am Ozzy
I Am Ozzy

Almost as addictive as Ozzy's personality, his life story is one of the most unusual and astonishing tales you'll ever read. He may be the Prince of Darkness but he's down to earth and has never forgotten his roots. Whether you're a fan of his music or not, you'll find it hard to put this book down

 

Motley Crue - The Dirt

In their heyday, Motley Crue were the loudest, most obscene, and downright dirtiest metal band in existence. This is their story, an insight into the hard partying, drug consuming, world touring and heavy drinking that made up most of their off (and on) stage antics. Considered by many as one of the finest rock autobiographies ever to have been written, it reveals a side of the band that every rock fan knew about them, but with more detail than one would care to ask.

The Dirt (The Anniversary Edition): Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band
The Dirt (The Anniversary Edition): Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band

This book is named "Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band" for a good reason. The writing style does not hold back, there's no story considered too risqué, no backstage antic too obscene, or no drug binge considered too messy to describe. Its an incredible look into how the most dangerous and wildest band earned their infamous legend. A must-read for any rock fan

 

Nikki Sixx - The Heroin Diaries

'The Heroin Diaries' is a year in the life of Motley Crue guitarist Nikki Sixx. Instead of simply writing his story, he has collected a year's worth of diary entries from 1987. It's a painfully honest, unabridged look into the mind of a rock star, heroin addict, and occasional poet. Included alongside the entries are stories from those closest to him; bandmates, managers, ex-lovers, and friends

The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star
The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star

In 1987, Nikki Sixx was in trouble. His band Motley Crue were at their highest peak, yet Nikki was at his lowest. Fighting a dangerous addiction to heroin, while still trying to write an album and tour the world, he wrote his diary detailing the darkest days, and the highest points, coming to an incredible conclusion which sees him trying to recapture his control over life. A fascinating insight into the mind of the Crue songwriter, and because its a diary as opposed to a memoir, the detail included is outstanding. Also features interviews with his bandmates, friends, and management, as well as notes from himself about what the entries truly mean to him, its possibly the most in-depth autobiography you'll ever read.

 

Lemmy - White Line Fever

Lemmy Kilminster, frontman in Motorhead for over 30 years, has seen and done some incredible things in his life. After playing in various unsuccessful bands, he joined Hawkwind in 1971. Fired 5 years later for 'doing the wrong drugs', he goes on to form what he referred to as "the dirtiest rock 'n' roll band in the world". For a period of 5 years they were even in the Guinness World Record books as the loudest too.

White Line Fever: The Autobiography
White Line Fever: The Autobiography

Laced with his dry sense of humour, and tales even he struggles to remember, 'White Line Fever' follows Lemmy living his life in true rock star fashion: "Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll". In all fairness, even he is surprised he has survived this long. In 1980, doctors declared his blood as being so full of toxic chemicals, it could kill another human being. Starting out in local bands, to being Jimi Hendrix's roadie and 'drug scorer', to frontman of the worlds Loudest Rock Band, this book is sometimes hilarious, and always entertaining. A fascinating glimpse into the life of a (still somehow!) living legend.

 

Marilyn Manson - The Long Hard Road Out of Hell

Marilyn Manson is the world's most controversial rock star. Growing up as an outsider, to becoming the shock-rocker he is today. Wherever he went, controversy wasn't far behind. This book tell the story of the first 29 years of his life. His early years attending a Christian school in Ohio, to forming Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, right up to his controversial 'Dead To The World' tour

The Long Hard Road Out of Hell
The Long Hard Road Out of Hell

From a shy Christian schoolboy to the most obscene, feared, and outrageous celebrity in the USA, Marilyn Manson found fame at a price. That price was drug addiction, prison spells, and over 450 scars. He speaks about his unusual childhood, how his band found fame with the controversy they caused, and the various accusations by Christians, police, and other fans. An involving and eye-opening account of the man behind the make-up.

 

Did you favourite books appear? Or is there any essential rock star autobiographies I've missed out? Why not leave a comment!

Any Of These In Your Summer Reading List?

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    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 5 years ago

      I listened to your advice and I read The heroin diaries, this is great book. I will read other books too. Thank you for advice. The books are really impresing and showing us the real world. Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I don't really follow celebrities but those who do will find your list quite compelling I'm sure!

    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 5 years ago

      Good for you, you got a purple star!

    • chadwik05 profile image

      chadwik05 5 years ago

      I need to pick up the Corey Taylor book. Cool lens!

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      Great lens, I have grew up on G'n'R :)

    • danniblaze profile image

      danniblaze 5 years ago

      I have only read the dirt. I have heard there is a second one out. Great list I am going to get reading them.

    • ElBat profile image

      Eleni Bat 5 years ago from Greece

      I have the Slash book, and I am on it!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      I heard a great radio interview with Slash a few weeks ago and have been dying to read his book. He sounds like a real thinking unit.

    • profile image

      Sanja94 5 years ago

      Wow, this lens is great. Thanks. I'm happy that we listen the same music.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

      Great lens, very interesting!

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      This is a very unique and fun lens. My summer reading list is a lot tamer. Fun picks!

    • markadamdouglass profile image

      markadamdouglass 5 years ago

      They are not in my list. But I think it is great that they are in yours. Everyone has their passions, and I am glad you are indulging in yours.

    • ArthurF LM profile image

      ArthurF LM 5 years ago

      Wow, I think I just filled up my summer reading list with this lense. I think im getting the Maryolin Manson book first. Thank you!

    • alexis84 profile image
      Author

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      @Zodiacimmortal: I can't recommend them enough, they're incredible books!

      Check the Amazon links, you might be able to get them used for pretty cheap.

      And many thanks for adding me to one of your lenses! I'll be sure to check it out!

      Alex

      x

    • alexis84 profile image
      Author

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      @TLStahling: 'The Heroin Diaries' was put together in such an interesting way. Instead of him just describing his troubled past, you actually read him living through it. So every hangover, every messed-up drug session, you're almost seeing it through his eyes. Thanks for the comment!

      Alex

      x

    • alexis84 profile image
      Author

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      @StomachPain LM: He's gotta be one of the most versatile rock guitarists out there. He even features on a few Michael Jackson songs!

      Alex

      x

    • alexis84 profile image
      Author

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      @Nanciajohnson: Megadeth are incredible, but I've never read his book. I can imagine it being quite an interesting read, especially as he's had quite a troubled past from alcohol addiction and getting fired from Metallica.

      Alex

      x

    • alexis84 profile image
      Author

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      @TK2012 LM: I havn't read it personally, but I love the Chilis, and the band have been through so much in their history, so I'll be sure to check it out from your recommendation. Thanks for letting me know!

      Alex

      x

    • alexis84 profile image
      Author

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      @FionaCarroll: No worries! Glad you anjoyed the lens!

      Alex

      x

    • alexis84 profile image
      Author

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      @hessa johnson: Havn't read it myself, but I'm a fan of all musical writing, so I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Alex

      x

    • alexis84 profile image
      Author

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      @mattcut: Wowsers, many thanks for that dude! Really appreciate you taking time out of your day to do that for me, I really appreciate it!

      Alex

      x

    • alexis84 profile image
      Author

      alexis84 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      @SheGetsCreative: Its a great book, it was interesting to see the 'break-up' of Guns N Roses through his eyes. People look at the band now and see how Axel has basically dragged the GnR name through the dirt, but from the way Slash talks about the band, it shows he was like that from the 'Use Your Illusion' days!

      Alex

      x

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great lens - I think Slash's book would be on the top of my list.

    • anupma lm profile image

      anupma lm 5 years ago

      Great Lense. I am very fond of books, thanks for sharing.

    • mattcut profile image

      mattcut 5 years ago

      voted this lens of the day just now!

    • hessa johnson profile image

      hessa johnson 5 years ago

      Great ideas for summer reading. I really enjoyed Patti Smith's book "Just Kids".

    • mattcut profile image

      mattcut 5 years ago

      LOVE THIS LENS THANKS !

    • FionaCarroll profile image

      Fiona Carroll 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Terrific. I know wha to buy for my son for his upcoming birthday. He is a Slipknot and Motorhead fan. Thaks for the ideas! Great lens.

    • TK2012 LM profile image

      TK2012 LM 5 years ago

      One book you didn't mention was "Scar Tissue" written by Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chill Peppers. I personally loved this book, it is a very easy, quick read.

    • Nanciajohnson profile image

      Nancy Johnson 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      I would like to read I am Ozzy. Our friend who plays guitar in a heavy metal cover band loved reading Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir. Have you read it yet? I hear the reviews are good.

    • StomachPain LM profile image

      StomachPain LM 5 years ago

      I'm a huge Lenny Kravitz fan so when Slash was featured on Always On The Run, I became a Slash fan too!

    • TLStahling profile image

      TL Stahling 5 years ago from US

      I've been reading rock star autobiographies for many years now. Started with Janis Joplin. The Herion Diaries was a really good easy read. Nikki Sixx is very vulnerable in his writing.

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      I have alrady read Nikki Sixx's book I loved the art work done in it. How it looked like a 'graphic novel' as for Slash, Lemmy & Corey Taylor I need to either find them at a library or 2nd hand store. (already have a few shelves, boxes & a bag full of books to read!) Oh & I have also added your lens to my Lyrically Instramental Musings lens Keep Rocking

    • AliciaAnn89 profile image

      Alicia 5 years ago from New York

      The Heroin Diaries was great, read it last summer. Nice lens.

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 5 years ago

      great books , they are all my favorite rock stars.

    • MJsConsignments profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      I'm a book hound and I love biographies and memoirs. You've got a nice mix of the famous and the infamous here. Squid Angel blessed.

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Interesting reads! I will have to check out some of them.

    • winter aconite profile image

      winter aconite 5 years ago

      Read Ozzy and Slash. Marilyn next!!!! Great lens!

    • robertzimmerman2 profile image

      Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      I read "Life" by Keith Richards. That was a good one too.