More than a few notable musicians have crossed over to the literary world to share a different facet of their creativity. Through the printed word, these famous musicians give readers an inside look at the person behind the performance.

Ranging from autobiography to fiction to the philosophical and from rock to rap to country, here’s a curated list of 10 musician-authored books that make compelling reading for hard-core fans as well as a wider audience.

How Music Works by David Byrne

“How Music Works,” David Byrne

The former Talking Heads frontman Byrne draws on deep knowledge of world music and music-industry experience in a well-received, wide-ranging exploration of the musical art form. Recently updated to include a chapter of digital curation, “How Music Works” is an interesting read for fans of the multi-talented Byrne as well as anyone curious about the meaning of music in our lives.

“I’ll Never Get Out of This Alive,” Steve Earle

Set in 1963, this entertaining novel by singer-songwriter Earle explores the mysterious death of Hank Williams at age 29 and captures the feeling of a mournful country tune. Earle is performing around the country in intimate venues and music fests, including on April 27 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Braun Brothers Reunion Festival.

“Girl in a Band: A Memoir,” by Kim Gordon

A founding member of the band Sonic Youth, Gordon shares her story and insights on music, marriage and motherhood. Well-written, edgy and inspiring, this book brings back the lost New York City of the 80s and 90s.


“My Journey into the Wu-Tang Clan,” Lamont “U-God” Hawkins

The American rapper and hip-hop artist U-God was with the influential Wu-Tang since its start in Staten Island in the early 90s. He lays down the facts of the group’s rise and his legacy in a book that has been called classic, cathartic, mesmerizing and was named best nonfiction book of the year by “Esquire.”

Gucci Mane

“The Autobiography of Gucci Mane,” Gucci Mane

Platinum-selling hip-hop pioneer Gucci Mane shares the highs and lows of his legendary rise to stardom, his fall and his comeback. Described as blunt and candid, the book is ultimately an inspirational tale of transformation. was thrilled to host the Lollapallooza 2018 official after party at Prysm Night Club, where Gucci Mane delivered his trademark high-energy performance. Catch the prolific Atlanta-based rapper live at Rolling Loud Miami 2019.

willie nelson

“It’s a Long Story,” Willie Nelson

With eight decades of music industry experience, 10 Grammys and a tour underway, country music singer-songwriter Nelson is an American treasure. At age 80 he came clean with this comprehensive autobiography about the ups and down of his life and music. Like Nelson’s music, the book is warm, wonderful and down to earth.

patti smith

“Just Kids,” Patti Smith

An exhilarating, bittersweet memoir recalling the punk rocker’s relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe before the two future stars became famous. It’s a classic bohemian tale of young dreamers striving to make it in the big city, this one taking place at the dawning of the punk era on New York City’s Lower East Side.

bruce springsteen

“Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer tells the story of his rise to music stardom in the same plain-spoken words of his beloved songs. Fans already know most details of his humble Jersey roots, but the truly devoted will appreciate every word “The Boss” writes.

jeff tweedy

“Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back),” Jeff Tweedy, Wilco

Known for openness and honesty in his music, singer-guitarist Tweedy takes the same approach to sharing his life story. Not strictly an autobiography, the book covers Tweedy’s tumultuous career and the evolution of Wilco as well as conversations with Tweedy family members, including sons, Spencer and Sam, who perform with their father. Get tickets to see Jeff Tweedy touring solo this spring in support of his recently released album, “WARM.”

JayZ Decoded

“Decoded,” Jay Z

A highly praised mash-up of autobiography, music history, imagery and poetry, “Decoded” is essential reading for hip-hop fans. Written in the first person, Jay Z unpacks his songs to describe how he was inspired to create his memorable lyrics.