07.06.2019

Highly anticipated music memoirs hitting the shelves in 2019

Photo: Jørund Føreland Pedersen (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Words by Kate Streader

Last year, music dominated the cinema world and films like Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born took a choke hold of Hollywood. This year, it seems musicians are re-positioning the lens to tell stories in their own words, with a strong list of memoirs set for publication before 2019 is over. While social media offers a peek at our idols’ lives behind closed doors – albeit, a curated one – there is nothing quite like sifting through the thoughts and memories compiled in a memoir. Whether you’re a bookworm, a music fan or both, here are some highly-anticipated titles set for publication this year to add to your reading list.

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

Almost a decade on from the release of her first memoir, Just Kids, which remains one of the most revered pieces of writing by a musician, Patti Smith is set to add another title to her lengthy list of published works with Year of the Monkey. Following a run of concerts at San Francisco’s iconic Fillmore in 2016, Smith spent the year wandering the country in solitude, penning musings and snapping Polaroids along the way. Detailing the tense political climate in America, ageing and loss through her poetic scope and artistic eye, Year of the Monkey is sure to mark yet another literary success for Smith. It is due for publication via Knopf on Tuesday September 24.

The Beautiful Ones by Prince and Dan Piepenbring

In 2016, Prince hosted an intimate invitation-only performance to announce a book deal for his forthcoming memoir, titled The Beautiful Ones. The musical icon passed just a month following the announcement and the pages he had penned in collaboration with writer and Paris Review editor Dan Piepenbring fell to the wayside — until recently. The Prince Estate has since granted Piepenbring permission to complete The Beautiful Ones, providing him with access to archival photographs, scrapbooks and recordings for the project. The book will include the early pages written by Prince along with a collection of behind the scenes material and an introduction by Piepenbring detailing Prince’s vision for the book. The Beautiful Ones is due for publication on Tuesday October 29 via Penguin Random House.

Face It by Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry is a cultural icon, galvanised through a prolific career as a musician and actor and immortalised as a face of Andy Warhol’s pop art movement. The long-awaited memoir of the Blondie frontwoman is set to be as salacious as it is insightful. It will offer an inside look at Harry’s illustrious career, her attempted abduction by notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, her struggle with heroin addiction, the dissolution of Blondie and everything in between. Featuring fan art, rare personal photos, a mix of essays by Harry and interviews with journalist Sylvie Simmons, Face It invites the reader into Harry’s world as it delves into her multifaceted career. Face It is out via Harper Collins on Tuesday October 1.

Til Wrong Feels Right by Iggy Pop

The godfather of punk and frontman of The Stooges, Iggy Pop, will signify the sheer mass and impact of his career through Til Wrong Feels Right. The book is a collection of more than 100 lyrics alongside photographs, notes, memorabilia, short essays written by Iggy himself and commentary from the likes of Debbie Harry and T-Rex’s Mark Bolan. Til Wrong Feels Right embodies Iggy’s legacy and creativity in what will make for a highly sought-after collector’s item. It hits shelves on Tuesday October 1 via Random House.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner aka Japanese Breakfast

In 2018, Michelle Zauner – best known under her moniker Japanese Breakfast – published a personal essay in the New Yorker titled ‘Crying in H Mart’, an ode to losing her mother and, in turn, the connection to her Korean heritage. Zauner’s story of losing a parent at a young age and her subsequent struggle to find her identity as a Korean-American was so well received that it has since sparked a memoir of the same title. There is no word yet as to when we can expect Crying in H Mart to hit the shelves but it will be published by Knopf.

Me by Elton John

On the back of the recently released Elton John biopic Rocketman, the pop wunderkind’s legacy will undergo further exploration in the singer’s forthcoming memoir, Me. While John’s flair for drama makes for prime silver screen material in Rocketman, Me is something for the bibliophiles to relish. A firsthand account of the young dreamer set on becoming a pop sensation, John’s memoir documents his journey through fame, addiction, love and all the mistakes and triumphs along the way. Me is set for release via Macmillan on Tuesday October 15.

Acid for the Children by Flea

After writing an op-ed for Time titled ‘The Temptation of Drugs Is a Bitch‘, touching on his affliction with drugs, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist and co-founder Flea decided to elaborate with a longer word count in Acid for the Children. 15 years on from the release of bandmate Anthony Kiedis’ own memoir, Scar Tissue, Flea will provide his take on life, addiction, music and his complex relationship with Kiedis and The Chili Peppers. The memoir will also provide insight into Flea’s upbringing in a violent, alcoholic household which frequented jazz jam sessions and ultimately sparked his interest in music. Acid for the Children is set for release via Hachette on Tuesday November 5.