Books for Black Music Appreciation Month

By Coll Rowe | May 1 2024 | MusicBlack History

In June, we celebrate Black Music Appreciation month and the influential Black musicians and artists who have brought entertainment to their communities and beyond, and inspired others to make their own art.

Collection of titles for Black Music Appreciation Month

Dirty Bird Blues

A quietly influential force in African American literature and art, Clarence Major makes his Penguin Classics debut with the twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of Dirty Bird Blues.

$18.00 US
Feb 08, 2022
384 Pages
Penguin Classics

The Come Up
An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop
The essential oral history of hip-hop, from its origins on the playgrounds of the Bronx to its reign as the most powerful force in pop culture—from the award-winning journalist behind All the Pieces Matter, the New York Times bestselling oral history of The Wire.
$20.00 US
Oct 03, 2023
560 Pages

Bessie Smith
A Poet's Biography of a Blues Legend
Bessie Smith is a beautiful genre-bending tribute to the larger-than-life blues singer Bessie Smith. Scotland’s National Poet blends poetry, prose, fiction, and nonfiction to create an entirely unique biography of the Empress of the Blues.
$16.95 US
Sep 28, 2021
224 Pages

Shout, Sister, Shout!
The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe
The essential biography of America's godmother of rock 'n' roll whose exuberant singning and guitar playing captivated audiences and inspired generations of musicians from the 40s to today.
$18.95 US
Jan 31, 2023
280 Pages
Beacon Press

Deep Blues
A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta

In this extraordinary musical and social history, Robert Palmer traces the odyssey of the blues from its rural beginnings, to the steamy bars of Chicago’s South Side, to international popularity, recognition, and imitation.

$18.00 US
Jul 29, 1982
320 Pages
Penguin Books

A Little Devil in America
In Praise of Black Performance
A stirring meditation on Black performance in America from the New York Times bestselling author of Go Ahead in the Rain.
$18.00 US
Mar 08, 2022
320 Pages
Random House Trade Paperbacks

The Spirit of Music
The Lesson Continues
Grammy Award winner Victor Wooten's inspiring parable of the importance of music and the threats that it faces in today's world.
$17.00 US
Feb 02, 2021
368 Pages

A Life in Music and Protest
The first in-depth biography of the legendary singer and "Voice of the Civil Rights Movement," who combatted racism and prejudice through her music.
$19.00 US
Apr 13, 2021
288 Pages
Beacon Press

Searching for Robert Johnson
The Life and Legend of the "King of the Delta Blues Singers"
Peter Guralnick's extended essay about the life of the man and the myth, and of the place and time that produced both, illuminates much of the obscurity around Johnson without forfeiting any of the mystery.
$24.00 US
Aug 01, 1998
96 Pages

Shine Bright
A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop
American pop music is arguably this country’s greatest cultural contribution to the world, and its singular voice and virtuosity were created by a shining thread of Black women geniuses stretching back to the country’s founding. This is their surprising, heartbreaking, soaring story—from “one of the generation’s greatest, most insightful, most nuanced writers in pop culture” (Shea Serrano).
$18.00 US
Feb 14, 2023
336 Pages
Roc Lit 101

Easily Slip into Another World
A Life in Music
An autobiography of one of the towering figures of contemporary American music and a powerful meditation on history, race, capitalism, and art.
$32.50 US
May 16, 2023
416 Pages

Soul Culture
Black Poets, Books, and Questions that Grew Me Up

Examines firsthand the lives of legendary Black writers who made a way out of no way to illuminate a road map for budding creators desiring to follow in their footsteps.

$19.95 US
Aug 15, 2023
256 Pages
Beacon Press