Have someone on your Christmas list who has a hankering for classic rock? Sometimes, these people are the most difficult to find a gift for. You want to help them indulge their musical passion, but what do you get that special someone when you know they already have all the albums by their favorite artist?

Thanks to a spate of new books, you can help that hard-to-shop-for someone do more than just listen to their favorite performers. Within these books can be found these artists’ life stories, the sagas of their incredible careers, and the background behind the hits that have become the soundtrack of our lives.

So this year, try rockin’ around the Christmas tree with these books. Yule be glad you did!

Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life and Cars by Neil Young (Blue Rider Press, 2014)

Specal Edition Neil Young

Neil Young is one of the most enigmatic, off-beat (and we mean that in a good way), conscientious artists of the rock era. In Special Deluxe, his second book, Young reminisces about his Canadian youth, his rock-and-roll life, his musical influences, and more through an examination of one of his greatest passions: the automobile. And because this is Neil Young, that passion is balanced with an examination of the harm that cars have done to the environment, as well as an advocacy for the electric car, including the Lincvolt, his own specially modified, environmentally friendly vehicle.

Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country by Angela Smith (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014)

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Women Drummers cover

In this comprehensive study that spans more than eight decades of music history, author Smith examines the contributions of chicks with sticks—female musicians who have dared to break through in a male-dominated area of music. Archival research and personal interviews with more than 50 female drummers paint a vibrant portrait of the pioneering artists who beat, tapped and syncopated their way into genres ranging from rock and jazz to blues and country. Read this book and forever change the way you hear the backbeat in your favorite tunes.

Bowie: The Biography by Wendy Leigh (Gallery Books, 2014)

Biography of Bowie


An intimate and revealing look at one of the most mythic of all rock legends, this book explores the life of the man behind the legend of David Bowie. New York Times bestselling author Leigh conducted dozens of interviews with Bowie’s lovers (both male and female), business associates, band members, and others to tell the story of the King of Glam. Found within that story are some of the most famous and influential artists of the day, including John Lennon, Mick Jaggar, Elizabeth Taylor, Tina Turner, Susan Sarandon, and many more.

The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light by Carlos Santana and Ashley Kahn (Little, Brown and Company, 2014)

Carlos Santana cover

From the clubs of San Francisco to the stage at Woodstock to international superstardom, Carlos Santana and the band that bears his name has crafted one of the most singular and recognizable sounds in modern music history. In this memoir, Santana shares with the reader his historical life’s journey as a performer, from the strip bars of Tijuana to the top of the charts. He also traces his deeply spiritual quest, which combines his Catholic upbringing and Eastern philosophies. “Love is the light that is inside all of us, everyone,” he writes. “I salute the light that you are and that is inside your heart.”