Riot Recommendation

Riot Recommendation: 24 of Your Favorite Musician Memoirs

Vanessa Diaz

Managing Editor

Vanessa is a writer, reader and generally bookish Latina from San Diego. If loving Agatha Christie is wrong, she doesn't want to be right. Vanessa’s penchant for books, travel and tea is rivaled only by her serious addictions to milk, avocado and floral lattes. When not reading books or selling them, she can be found blogging, working on her first novel or cozying up at a library.

A Drop of Midnight by Jason Diakité

A portrait of race, meaning, and the search for self across centuries and continents. From hip-hop artist Jason Diakité comes a stunning account of growing up between worlds, riding a delicate cultural and racial divide. A Drop of Midnight is Jason’s remarkable memoir and an unflinching look at not only his own history, but that of generations affected by the trauma of the African diaspora, then and now. Jason draws on conversations with his parents, research, and personal experiences to paint a vivid picture of race, discrimination, family, and ambition. Read or listen for free with Prime.

Stories of musical legends have long intrigued us, from their early lives to their ascent to fame and beyond. Some of you have never toggled between channels to try and catch the latest music videos and it shows. I, however, am old enough to remember being glued to the television set whenever a new episode of Behind the Music came on; the impossible highs and crushing lows, the battling of demons, the exacting price of fame—the people behind the ballads and bops that move us are as complex as they are fascinating.

This is of course why we love a musician memoir; we get the most personal version of the story straight from the source. The last year alone has brought us memoirs by some true musical icons: there’s the Rocket Man himself Elton John; the incomparable musical genius that is Prince; the elusive chanteuse Mariah Carey (Lambily fam, where you at!?). We knew our Riot readers would have some excellent recommendations for us, so we asked you to share your musician memoirs. We now have plenty to add to our TBRs (not to mention our playlists). Without further ado, here are your favorite musician memoirs!

Blues All Around Me by BB King

Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen

Celia: Mi Vida by Celia Cruz

Chronicles by Bob Dylan

Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton

A Dream About Lightning Bugs by Ben Folds

Fight the Power: Rap, Race, and Reality by Chuck D, Yusuf Jah

Girl In a Band by Kim Gordon

The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx

Hit So Hard by Patty Schemel

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones

Just Kids by Patty Smith

Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holiday, William Dufty

Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) by Jeff Tweedy

Miles: The Autobiography by Miles Davis

Miss Rhythm by Ruth Brown

Mo’ Meta Blues by Questlove

My Own Devices by Dessa

My Voice by Angie Martinez

Natural Woman: A Memoir by Carole King

The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur

The Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band by Michelle Cruz Gonzales

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello