Music Memoirs on Audio
8 Behind-the-Music Audiobooks to Blow Your Mind

In the midst of summer playlist fever, find the ultimate listen by going straight to the source: an audiobook written and narrated by a favorite artist. The musicians below have contributed to the soundtracks of our lives—so we’re curious, what’s been the soundtrack to theirs? How do they feel about their own histories, and what are the backstage realities that have informed their lives and careers? Hear clips and read more about these just-released listens below, and keep an ear out for more in the fall from Prince (the one and only), Patti Smith, and Liz Phair.

Sequel to Grammy-nominated bestseller Under the Big Black Sun, More Fun in the New World continues the up-close and personal account of the L.A. punk scene from 1982 to 1987, as its stars took to the national—and often international—stage. Detailing the eventual splintering of punk into various sub-genres, John Doe and Tom DeSavia take listeners on a journey of west coast punk history and the rich cultural diversity of the movement and its characters. This audiobook also pays tribute to many of the fallen soldiers of punk rock, the pioneers who left the world much too early but whose influence hasn’t faded.

Nirvana came out of nowhere in 1991 to sell nearly five million copies of their landmark album Nevermind, whose thunderous sound and indelible melodies embodied all the confusion, frustration, and passion of the emerging Generation X. Originally published in 1993, Come As You Are is the close-up, intimate story of Nirvana and the only audiobook with exclusive in-depth interviews with band members Kurt Cobain, Krist Noveselic, and Dave Grohl as well as friends, relatives, former band members, and now updated to include a new final chapter detailing the last year of Kurt Cobain’s life, before his tragic suicide in April 1994.

“Amazingly raw and candid…Come As You Are is as good as rock bios get.”—Billboard

Author: Ben Folds
Read By: Ben Folds

From the genre-defying musician Ben Folds comes a memoir that is as nuanced, witty, and relatable as his cult-classic songs. In his inimitable voice, Folds digs deep into the life experiences that shaped him, imparting hard-earned wisdom about both art and life. Collectively, these stories embody the message Folds has been singing about for years: Smile like you’ve got nothing to prove, because it hurts to grow up, and life flies by in seconds.

Beginning with the battle hymns of the revolution and taking us through songs from the Civil War, the fight for women’s suffrage, the two world wars, the Great Depression, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and into the twenty-first century, Meacham and McGraw explore the songs that defined generations. Listeners will discover the power of music in the lives of figures such as Harriet Tubman, Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and will learn more about some of our most beloved musicians and performers, including Marian Anderson, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Carole King, Bruce Springsteen, and more.

Author: Ani DiFranco
Read By: Ani DiFranco

In this frank, honest, passionate, and often funny audiobook, Ani DiFranco shares her eventful and radical journey to the age of thirty. Ani is living proof that you can overcome all personal and societal obstacles to be who you are and to follow your dreams.

“[DiFranco] manages to shed new light on how a young, talented woman created enough momentum to slingshot herself beyond her town’s suffocating gravitational pull and create an entirely new solar system, populated with an orbit of planets and moons of her own devising.”—Rolling Stone

Coming Soon in Fall 2019!:

From Prince himself comes the brilliant and exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death. Prince was a musical genius, one of the most talented, beloved, accomplished, popular, and acclaimed musicians in history. He was also a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of “Uptown” to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of “Paisley Park.” But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, the greatest pop star of his era. The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince—a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him.

Author: Patti Smith
Read By: Patti Smith

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids and M Train, a profound, beautifully realized memoir in which dreams and reality are vividly woven into a tapestry of one transformative year. Following a run of New Year’s concerts at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore, Patti Smith finds herself tramping the coast of Santa Cruz, about to embark on a year of solitary wandering. For Smith—curious, always exploring, tracking thoughts, writing—the year evolves as one of reckoning with the changes in life’s gyre: with loss, aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America.

Author: Liz Phair
Read By: Liz Phair

From the two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter behind the groundbreaking album Exile in Guyville comes a haunting memoir in stories in the tradition of Patti Smith’s M Train.

When Liz Phair shook things up with her musical debut, Exile in Guyville—making her as much a cultural figure as a feminist pioneer and rock star—her raw candor, uncompromising authenticity, and deft storytelling inspired a legion of critics, songwriters, musicians, and fans alike. Now Liz Phair tells the story of her life and career in a memoir that reveals the stubborn moments that have stayed with her.

Still ready to rock? Check out our complete Musicians and Music History Collection.