6 Books By Songwriters From The Sixties


Brian Wilson is the best.  He innovated and disrupted everything the world knew about songwriting, arrangement, and recording.  Wilson inspired everyone from The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper's) to She And Him.

His memoir is a tale of music, family, and mental illness.  It's not all sunshine and surfboards in the mind of Brian.  This book takes us to places both dark and bright.  Plenty of good reading though, and worth picking up.  Brian Wilson is the best.

Be My Baby - How I survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness (Or My Life As A Fabulous Ronette) By Ronnie Spector

Ronnie Spector was mentally tortured as much as she was celebrated.  Married to an absolute lunatic was no picnic.  Phil Spector was a monster, and Ronnie was his prisoner.

While her voice influenced songwriting icons like Brian Wilson, her home life was less than the pop spotlight let on. "Be My Baby" opens up the dungeon doors and shows the darker side of the sixties girl group.  What starts off sunny and bright turns into a dark struggle with madness.

Me, The Mob, And The Music: One Helluva Ride With Tommy James And The Shondells

Tommy James was one helluva songwriter and a master arranger.  His work inside the studio led to sixties hits like "I Think We're Alone Now," "Mony Mony," and "Crimson and Clover."

Unfortunately, James was signed to the mob (Roulette Records).  Once the infamous Morris Levy decided he wanted James, there was little the musician could do.  He signed his life and royalties away to a bad man. 

Tommy James lived the life Scorcese movies are made of.  It should come as no surprise that James is currently making a movie based on the book.  Goodfellas meets music.

Richie Havens - They Can't Hide Us Anymore

From Brooklyn to Woodstock, Richie Havens is a folk legend.  He opened the historic festival and played for nearly three hours to hold the audience while bands arrived.  His iconic song "Freedom" was hashed out on the spot as a way to keep viewers engaged.

This book tells the tale of his interesting and inspiring life.  He was championed by fellow folkies Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger, and made great contributions to education and teaching children.

Richie Havens was a rare gift to the world.

Paul McCartney - Many Years From Now

Some life this guy led.  "Many Years From Now" is written in Paul's words.  Perhaps this is as close as we'll get to knowing what goes on inside the mind of this mammoth songwriter and musician.

Songwriters will appreciate the depth in which this book covers Paul and John's writing relationship.  We learn how The Beatles' songs started and grew to the standards we know today.


Paul Simon - Lyrics 1964 - 2016

The ultimate songwriter coffee-table read.  Lyrics is a collection of just that: Paul's lyrics from 1964 - 2016.

Words you know suddenly seem deeper and more thought provoking on the page.  Taken out of their songs, his words bring forth imagery not unlike poetic greats like Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.