The 6 Best Rock n’ Roll Autobiographies – a Very Personal List

There have been many memoirs from many rockers, most detail the backstage antics and lavish lifestyles, many  include intense  stories of addiction (and recovery), some seem to have been written only to settle scores, a few focus on what it takes to create the music but only a handful are well written, wonderful to read, and interesting even if you aren’t a fan. This list represents those books.

Life
by Keith Richards

I am not asking you to choose between The Beatles and The Stones but if you choose the Stones then the choice has to naturally be between Mick and Keith and I am pretty sure after you read this book, you'll choose Mr. Richards. Beautifully told, you get the gossip, score settling, and stories of the highs and lows you expect from a good rock autobio but mostly you get a really great tale told by a charming warm man who seems to have never met a guitar or person he didn't like. But do not mess with his food.

Waging Heavy Peace
by Neil Young

A lively, rollicking, high-spirited, and reflective memoir, that covers everything from his early years in Ontario and struggling to get his music off the ground to recording with Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Crazy Horse to his many friendships with the likes of Joni Mitchell, (her song Circle Game is for him), Linda Ronstadt, Springsteen etc. from writing songs and making music to his family and what he plans to do tomorrow. Exactly the great autobio you expect from the man behind all those wonderful songs.

Just Kids
by Patti Smith

Patti Smith’s National Book Award Winning first book of prose, offers the story of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the New York City of the late sixties and seventies when the world hovered in a time between then and now and a girl from New Jersey was finding her voice as an artist .

I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp
by Richard Hell

What can you say about a beautifully written memoir from a kid who grew up in Kentucky and moved to NYC and was at ground zero in creating the punk scene? Well, he tells a great story, and he has one about everyone who was there: Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Tom Verlaine and The Ramones to name a few. This is a memoir about a time and a place when it was easy to create something that changed everything when everything was ripe for change.

Slash
by Slash and Anthony Bozza

The story of how Guns N' Roses came together, how they created their music, how they survived insane, never-ending tours, how they managed to survive themselves for so long, and, ultimately, how it all fell apart. This is a front seat on the roller-coaster ride that was one of history's greatest rock 'n' roll machines, always on the edge of self-destruction, even at the pinnacle of its success. Better by far than anything Axl will ever write.

Chronicles: Volume One
by Bob Dylan

By turns revealing, poetical, passionate and witty, Chronicles: Volume One is a mesmerizing window on Bob Dylan's thoughts and influences. Dylan's voice is distinctively American: generous of spirit, engaged, fanciful and rhythmic. Utilizing his unparalleled gifts of storytelling and the exquisite expressiveness that are the hallmarks of his music, Bob Dylan turns Chronicles: Volume One into a poignant reflection on life, and the people and places that helped shape the man and the art.