All I Ever Wanted: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir
Kathy Valentine, University of Texas Press, RRP$26.95
“What’s it like to be in an all-girl band?” the Go-Go’s were always asked in the 1980s. “There were no conversations about sexism or feminism,” writes their bassist Kathy Valentine. Her frank, fast-paced memoir (family dysfunction, drugs, rock chauvinism) tells what it was really like to be in her band.
Sing Backwards and Weep: A Memoir
Mark Lanegan, White Rabbit, RRP£20
Dig into the innards of grunge and you’ll find the blues. Mark Lanegan is a grunge veteran, formerly of the band Screaming Trees, whose memoir has the bereft, damned spirit of the purest blues. It’s an unflinching account of teenage alcoholism, heroin addiction, guilt and multiple deaths, including Lanegan’s friend, Kurt Cobain.
Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar
Oliver Craske, Faber, RRP£20
Ravi Shankar likened using Indian music in western pop songs to “learning the Chinese alphabet in order to write English poems”. Despite his puzzlement, the sitar maestro from Varanasi proved a key bridge between cultures, influencing The Beatles and playing at Woodstock. Oliver Craske’s substantial biography marks his centenary.
A New Day Yesterday: UK Progressive Rock & the 1970s
Mike Barnes, Omnibus Press, RRP£20
The maximalist world of prog rock gets the big, ambitious book it deserves. Named after a Jethro Tull song, A New Day Yesterday traces prog’s prehistory back to 1960s psychedelia and provides a wide-ranging guide to its glory days in the first half of the 1970s, before grandiloquence got the better of its initiates.
All this week, FT writers and critics choose their favourites — from politics, economics, science and history to art, tech, food and wellness. Novels, poetry and audiobooks feature too. Explore the series here
Join our online book group on Facebook at FT Books Café. Listen to our podcast, Culture Call, where FT editors and special guests discuss life and art in the time of coronavirus. Subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen.
Get alerts on Non-Fiction when a new story is published