Charlie Wilson's Memoir and Summer's 7 Other Music Must-Reads

Billboard's summer 2015 must read books.
Courtesy; Getty Images

Billboard's summer 2015 must read books.

Not sure what to toss in the bag before hitting the shore? Soak up the sun with these eight books.

Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear)

By Jon Fine (Viking, May 19, $28)

Punk guitarist-turned-award-winning journalist Jon Fine recalls his days playing for -- and then being booted from -- Bitch Magnet. The book then jumps ahead to show how the Internet gave new life to old cult bands, leading to a Bitch Magnet reunion that finds Fine, currently an editor at Inc., in middle age trying to juggle touring and his demanding day job.

Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul

By Mark Ribowsky (Liveright, June 1, $28)

Otis Redding died in a plane crash weeks before the release of 1967's (Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay, the first posthumous No. 1 in Billboard's history. This book looks at the bigger picture beyond the details of the soul legend's life, giving a sense of how he fit into the civil rights movement and music as a whole. Ribowsky spins some compelling what-ifs about Redding had he lived, speculating about his musical evolution and how he might have gotten along with later stars like Jimi Hendrix.

Otis Redding Makes Record Return to R&B/Hip-Hop Songs

Thank You, Goodnight: A Novel

By Andy Abramowitz (Touchstone, June 2, $26)

Think High Fidelity and About a Boy with a dose of Music & Lyrics thrown in. This novel tells the story of a one-hit-wonder band reuniting when the members learn they remain popular in a small corner of Switzerland a decade after breaking up. But they have to confront old rivalries, an old love and time -- the frontman is now a pudgy, late-30s lawyer.

How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy

By Stephen Witt (Viking, June 16, $28)

Already featured in a buzzy New Yorker excerpt, this book offers a comprehensive history of the "pirate generation," from the development of the MP3 to a PolyGram factory worker who single-handedly leaked thousands of albums to file-sharing sites.

Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll

By Fred Goodman (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 23, $27)

Six years after the death of one of the most influential managers in rock history -- who oversaw the careers of The Beatles and Rolling Stones -- this book offers a sympathetic biography with help from newly unearthed archives provided by Klein's son.

Charlie Wilson on Crippling Back Issues and Why 'There Are Going to Be a Lot of Babies Made' on His Tour

I Am Charlie Wilson

By Charlie Wilson (Atria, June 30, $25)

The seven-time Grammy winner's memoir details not only his run with The Gap Band and working with The Rolling Stones, Snoop Dogg and Justin Timberlake, but also his descent into drugs and, more surprising, homelessness. Now sober for 20-plus years, Wilson charts a remarkable life onstage and behind the scenes.

Dark Days: A Memoir

By D. Randall Blythe (Da Capo Press, July 14, $27)

The frontman of Virginia-based metal band Lamb of God recounts a horrifying incident and its aftermath: In 2010, a teenage Czech fan rushed the stage and Blythe pushed him away; at some point the fan hit his head and later died. Blythe spent 37 days in a Czech jail before being released on bail and returning stateside. Friends and lawyers told him not to go back to Prague for the trial, but he did --won his acquittal in 2013.

Alice in Chains: The Untold Story

By David de Sola (Thomas Dunne Books, Aug. 4, $28)

The early-'90s Seattle grunge band, long overshadowed by its hometown peers (Nirvana, Pearl Jam), gets its due in this debut book from a Georgetown graduate student. Taking center stage is original frontman Layne Staley who, like Kurt Cobain, found celebrity and success difficult and drugs an easy out. But there's also a deep dive into the band's musical influences and its impact on the broader rock scene, explaining both its roots and its reach.

This story originally appeared in the May 30 issue of Billboard.