Go into any well-stocked bookstore and you can be sure of finding a music section containing not only books on theory and learning to play particular instruments but also on the lives of individual artists and histories of certain movements. The quality of these is very variable, from coffee-table froth to serious if sometimes overponderous studies. Part of the problem with subjects in the areas of rock and pop is that any attempt to make an objective assessment is always in danger of being overshadowed by the "celebrity" aspect of the artist(s) involved. On the other hand, while much music of this genre is trivial, those who adopt a disdainful attitude towards it for that reason sometimes appear to forget that much if not most art at root, other than that meant for worship, is designed to entertain: and entertainment can be uplifting if it is good entertainment.
The following pages look at various books under different genre headings. These are not exhaustive reviews but rather a flick through some of what is out there. And at the end of the day, opinions are just that: opinions. While I have tried to be as fair as possible, you may read the same book and come away with a different impression to the one I received.
Lives of the Artists - biographies of groups and individuals
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