Recommendations for books (and films?) about musicians and their creative process?
August 10, 2009 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for music-related books (and films?) like Geoff Emerick's "Here, There and Everywhere"?

I've just finished reading Geoff Emerick's "Here, There and Everywhere" on his experiences recording the Beatles. I enjoyed it tremendously; I like the way it balances interesting details on the creative process with insights on the Beatles' characters and interaction without coming across as overly biased or petty (imo, anyway). I particularly liked reading about the sound-engineering aspects involved, and the technical innovations devised to fulfill the musicians' artistic vision. (For me, the authors wrote about the technical aspects in a very accessible way - easy enough for a layman to understand, but still with enough detail and explanation to interest any reader.)

What can I read, next? I'd love to read similar books.

I guess I'm not really interested in biographies on musicians' personal lives; rather, I'm interested in learning about their creative process and perhaps how they drew from their personal lives to fuel and enhance their approach to their craft - and not just in terms of songwriting and performance, but also in recording.

If there are any good films that cover similar subjects, with a similar approach, I'd love to hear about them too. No particular preference for any specific music genre or time period - I like hearing about the development of plainchant as much as I like learning about the DIY punk movement, etc. :)
posted by aielen to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
All Mark Lewisohn's books about the Beatles.
posted by fire&wings at 9:27 AM on August 10, 2009

Howard Massey's "Behind The Glass" is also awesome in the same way. Lots of great anecdotes both technical and personal.
posted by Aquaman at 9:53 AM on August 10, 2009

Lewisohn's day-to-day recording diary of the Beatles' studio life The Complete beatles Recording Sessions is purely fascinating, especially if you are a musician. I have read it numerous times. If you liked Emerick's book, you'll love that one.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:08 AM on August 10, 2009

My favorite book of that type is "Brian Eno: His Music And The Vertical Color of Sound" by Eric Tamm. It's all about Eno's creative process with a healthy dose of crunchy musical and technical theory. You can download it for free from the author's website.
posted by word_virus at 10:51 AM on August 10, 2009

"Touch The Sound" is a cool documentary about a percussionist who is mostly deaf but embraces her ability to feel the sound rather than hear it.
posted by orme at 11:03 AM on August 10, 2009

Queen: Complete Works by Georg Purvis. Filled with very interesting "behind the scenes" tidbits about not only the recording of the songs, but also the naming of them and the albums, as well as filming the videos and such.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:07 AM on August 10, 2009

Jimmy Webb's Tunesmith is a great look at one person's (one uber-successful person's) approach to songwriting. His personality is a little grating at times but a fascinating read nonetheless.
posted by quarterframer at 11:49 AM on August 10, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions! I still don't know which ones I'd mark as best, but I hope to check out these books over the weekend... maybe I'll mark out best answers next week. Thanks!
posted by aielen at 5:57 PM on August 14, 2009

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