Last-Minute Book Gifts For the Music Lover in Your Life

The Beatles photographed in 1965.
Courtesy Everett Collection

The Beatles photographed in 1965.

Stuck (again) searching for the perfect gift for your music lover beau, bud or extended relative? Not to worry -- 2016 proved a prolific one for music books -- from definitive biographies of legends like The Beatles' Paul McCartney and Skid Row's Sebastian Bach, to an insider's look at the legendary Motown imprint. Billboard tracked the best of the best this year to help you avoid the bargain bin or the hurried gift card by the cash register fate.

Bon Jovi: The Story by Bryan Reesman

The first fully illustrated comprehensive book paying tribute to the rockers contains original interviews and memorabilia, chronicling their rise to stardom with the release of the multi-platinum hit LP Slippery When Wet to the present. (Sterling, $18).

Paul McCartney: The Life by Philip Norman

Writing with the star's consent, the author of Beatles book Shout! and biographies of Mick Jagger and John Lennon serves up a definitive look at McCartney's life through interviews with family and friends who haven't spoken before. (Little, Brown and Company, $16).

Your Song Changed My Life by Bob Boilen

NPR's music guru asks dozens of artists about songs that inspired them. The answers are surprising and illuminating, and the roster of contributions is great: Jimmy Page, St. Vincent, Dave Grohl, Smokey Robinson and many more. (William Morrow, $26).

18 and Life on Skid Row by Sebastian Bach

The Skid Row singer recounts the metal band's successes and controversies (the bottle he threw at a fan, that time he wore an anti-gay T-shirt onstage) and explains how it endured for more than two decades. (Dey Street BOOKS, $28).

Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I'm Not Supposed to Tell by John Popper and Dean Budnick

The Blues Traveler frontman reflects on his New Jersey childhood, the late-'80s New York music scene that birthed the band, his love of guns and his struggles with obesity. (Da Capo Press, $27).

Kill 'Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride

An award-winning author journeys down South to meet the late icon's surviving friends and relatives. His account of the fight over Brown's fortune and burial is particularly compelling. (Spiegel & Grau, $28).

Delta Lady: A Memoir by Rita Coolidge and Michael Walker

A Billboard contributor teams with the '70s star who worked with Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Her story -- from her contributions to the split of Crosby, Stills & Nash to her marriage to Kris Kristofferson -- is getting strong pre-pub reviews. (HarperCollins, $26).

Motown: The Sound of Young America by Adam White, Barney Ales, Andrew Loog Oldham

From the Jackson 5 and Diana Ross to Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, the Motown label -- shepherded by Berry Gordy and his right-hand man Barney Ales -- became the most successful independent imprint in the world. In the first official visual history of the label, new research and unprecedented access lend new insight to the legend. (Thames & Hudson, $60).

?TRANNY: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace with Dan Ozzi

With some help from co-author Dan Ozzi of Noisey, Laura Jane Grace delves deep into her life from a perturbed childhood, through the punk rock scene and struggle with gender dysphoria in this touching memoir. (Hachette, $28).

Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me…What Pop Music Rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life by Steven Hyden?

Music journalist veteran Steven Hyden examines some of music’s biggest rivalries (both imagined and real) using both personal narratives and a cultural lens while relaying what all of this ultimately says about all of us. (Hachette, $28).


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