The following dance/electronic music books have all been hand-picked by our team here at The DJ Revolution.
Whether you’re looking for yourself or for someone else, the goal of this post is to provide you with the ultimate one-stop resource.
Whilst we haven’t read ALL of the books on this list (there are 30 of them, after all), we did our very best to qualify the ones we haven’t.
With that out of the way, this is our definitive list of the 30 best books about dance & electronic music—perfect for gifts and stocking fillers!
If you don’t want to scan through, use the chart below to find potential book topics you’re looking for – then simply click the corresponding number on the table of contents (below the chart) to jump straight to that book…
|Disco Books (2, 10, 13, 25, 28)||Australian Rave Scene (5)|
|House Music Books (specific) (8)||Summer of Love (1, 7, 15)|
|Techno Books (2, 6, 15, 22)||Acid House (1, 3, 7, 15, 16, 19, 24)|
|Drum & Bass Books (4, 23)||Photography Books (1, 4, 9, 12, 13, 25, 28)|
|Bass Music Books (4, 21, 22, 23, 26, 30)||DJ Culture (2, 11, 14, 16, 20, 28, 30)|
|Trance Music Books (specific) (12)||The Hacienda (3, 16, 27)|
|EDM Books (US & global themes) (15, 17, 21)||Memoirs/artist autobiographies (8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 27)|
|Grime Books (30)||Politics (5, 20, 25, 29)|
|Electronic Music History (just scan through)||UK Clubs (3, 18)|
|Rave Culture Books (just scan though)||Melbourne Shuffle (5)|
|UK Rave Scene (just scan through)||Bleep Techno (22)|
|Books About DJs (11, 14, 16, 27)||Best Electronic Music Books 2021 (4, 9, 11, 12, 18)|
30 Best Electronic Music Books – Table of Contents
- 1. Rave Art: Flyers, invitations and membership cards
- 2. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey
- 3. The Haçienda: How Not To Run A Club
- 4. Who Say Reload: The Stories Behind the Classic Drum & Bass Records of the 90s
- 5. Techno Shuffle: Rave Culture and The Melbourne Underground
- 6. Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk
- 7. Class of ’88: Find the warehouse. Lose the hitmen. Pump the beats
- 8. House Music… The Real Story
- 9. Full On. Non-Stop. All Over
- 10. Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny
- 11. Carl Cox, Oh Yes Oh Yes!
- 12. Hypnotised: A Journey Through Trance Music (1990-2005)
- 13. The Disco Files 1973–78: New York’s Underground, Week by Week
- 14. Porcelain: A Memoir (Moby)
- 15. Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture
- 16. Electrochoc (Laurent Garnier)
- 17. The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America
- 18. Brickwork: A Biography of The Arches
- 19. Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House
- 20. The Secret DJ: Book Two
- 21. Rave On: Global Adventures in Electronic Dance Music
- 22. Join The Future: Bleep Techno and the Birth of British Bass Music
- 23. State of Bass: The Origins of Jungle/Drum & Bass
- 24. Adventures In Wonderland: Acid house, rave and the UK club explosion
- 25. Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture
- 26. Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture
- 27. Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor: Music, Manchester, and More: A Memoir
- 28. Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979
- 29. Discographies: Dance, Music, Culture and the Politics of Sound
- 30. Grime Kids: The Inside Story of the Global Grime Takeover
1. Rave Art: Flyers, invitations and membership cards
Categories: Rave Culture Books | UK Rave Scene | Summer of Love | Acid House | Photography Books
Year: 2018 (Hardcover released in 2021)
Author: Chelsea Louise Berlin
In Rave Art, the whole exciting movement is documented through the flyers that were handed out freely (often privately) to inform partygoers of the next venue.
Together with personal reminiscences and quotes from famous, infamous and not-so-famous attendees, Rave Art paints a vivid picture of what is probably the last significant youth culture movement of modern times.
If the idea of acid house and summer of love-era memorabilia sounds interesting, then look no further than the book Rave Art!
The book consists of rave flyers, VIP/ membership cards and other artefacts from iconic parties such as Sunrise, Genesis, Club Shoom and Energy – with four different chapters taking you through 1986/7, 1988, 1989 and 1990.
As an alternative to actually reading something, and certainly for an old school raver, this would make the perfect gift.
2. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey
Categories: DJ Culture | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | Rave Culture Books | Disco Books
Year: 2014 (updated version)
Authors: Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton
This is the first comprehensive history of the disc jockey, a cult classic now updated with five new chapters and over a hundred pages of additional material. It’s the definitive account of DJ culture, from the first record played over airwaves to house, hip-hop, techno, and beyond.
From the early development of recorded and transmitted sound, DJs have been shaping the way we listen to music and the record industry. This book tracks down the inside story on some of music’s most memorable moments. Focusing on the club DJ, the book gets first-hand accounts of the births of disco, hip-hop, house, and techno.
Last Night A DJ Saved My Life is essentially an in-depth episodic breakdown of the history of the disc jockey and rave culture, with a deep dive into a long and diverse list of electronic music genres.
Whilst it’s a big book to tackle (about 600 pages), it’s well written, and undoubtedly a collectable classic. The way it’s broken down, you could quite easily come back to it in different stages if you wanted to. It’s one of many successful releases from popular industry writers Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton.
3. The Haçienda: How Not To Run A Club
Categories: Hacienda | UK Rave Scene | UK Clubs | Acid House | Rave Culture Books
Author: Peter Hook
The acclaimed and wildly outlandish inside account of England’s most notorious music club, The Hacienda, from Peter Hook, the New York Times bestselling author of Unknown Pleasures and co-founder of Joy Division and New Order—a story of music, gangsters, drugs, violence and great beats.
During the 1980s, The Hacienda would become one of the most famous venues in the history of clubbing—a celebrated cultural watershed alongside Studio 54, CBGBS, and The Whiskey—until its tragic demise.
Loaded with crazy stories and with no shortage of profanity, the book offers a real-world account of the disastrous practices that ultimately brought down The Hacienda.
It’s a nice easy read this one, with a conversational tone. The audiobook version is good as well, as you get Peter Hook’s Salford accent for free!
4. Who Say Reload: The Stories Behind the Classic Drum & Bass Records of the 90s
Categories: Drum & Bass Books | UK Rave Scene | Photography Books | Bass Music Books | Best Electronic Music Books 2021
Author: Paul Terzulli
Photographer: Eddie Otchere
Who Say Reload is a knockout oral history of the records that defined jungle/drum & bass straight from the original sources. The likes of Goldie, DJ Hype, Roni Size, Andy C, 4hero and many more talk about the influences, environment, equipment, samples, beats and surprises that went into making each classic record.
This is the story of music forged from raw breakbeats and basslines that soundtracked a culture of all-night raves, specialist record shops and pirate radio stations.
Photography is provided by Eddie Otchere who has an extensive archive of images from the period in question, having been the photographer at Goldie’s seminal Metalheadz nights.
A fantastic rundown of the best Drum & Bass records/artists of the nineties and stories to go with them. It’s perfect if you were raving through the early 90s in the UK and has awesome supporting photography.
Note: The other D&B book on this list is No.23, ‘State of Bass’, which delves more into the history & evolution of the genre.
5. Techno Shuffle: Rave Culture and The Melbourne Underground
Categories: Australian Rave Scene | Rave Culture Books | Melbourne Shuffle | Politics
Author: Paul Fleckney
During the ’90s, Melbourne’s warehouse party scene was at its peak. Every weekend in ‘Techno City’, thousands of ravers expressed their freedom through music, ecstasy and dancing the Melbourne shuffle.
Techno Shuffle unfolds against a backdrop of post-war migration, gay and lesbian rights, the AIDS crisis, Australian drinking culture, the Melbourne gangland killings and the global ascendancy of dance music.
During these anxious times in our post-truth age, 90s rave teaches us the value of freedom, community and respect. Let the party begin.
You won’t find too many books out there that document Aussie rave culture – so this one is a bit of a unicorn! Despite having little competition, it’s well-written and well worth a read.
As it says on the tin, the book is focused on Australia’s main cultural hub when it comes to music – Melbourne.
Related: Check out this feature article we did on Australia’s Forgotten Rave Culture.
6. Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk
Categories: Techno Books | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | History of Techno
Year: 2010 (originally published in 1999)
Author: Dan Sicko
In this revised and updated edition, Sicko expands on Detroit’s role in the birth of techno and takes readers on an insider’s tour of techno’s past, present, and future in an enjoyable account filled with firsthand anecdotes, interviews, and artist profiles.
Techno Rebels begins by examining the underground 1980s party scene in Detroit, where DJs and producers like the Electrifying Mojo, Ken Collier, The Wizard, and Richard Davis were experimenting with music that was a world apart from anything happening in New York or Los Angeles.
He details the early days of the “Belleville Three” — Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson — who created the Detroit techno sound and became famous abroad as the sound spread to the UK and Europe.
The early forms of techno music emerged in the clubs of Detroit in the early 1980s, which is what the book focuses on. As well as the origins of techno, Techno Rebels also discusses its key influencers. For those with a passion for techno, the book is undoubtedly one the best to comprehensively break down the origins/history of the genre.
7. Class of ’88: Find the warehouse. Lose the hitmen. Pump the beats
Categories: Rave Culture Books | UK Rave Scene | Summer of Love | Acid House
Author: Wayne Anthony
As the wave of MDMA and illegal raves swept through Britain during the Summer of Love, Wayne Anthony took on the task of organising the biggest parties the UK has ever seen.
Finding himself wanted simultaneously by the police and the underworld gangsters, his blagging skills became legendary. This is his story, and it’s all true.
Wayne was one of the UK’s most prolific illegal rave organisers, heading up the legendary Genesis parties. If you were around for the acid house explosion of the late 80s & early 90s, this one can’t be overlooked. It gives an excellent real-world account of how things played out.
8. House Music… The Real Story
Categories: House Music Books | Memoirs | Music autobiographies | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books
Author: Jesse Saunders
From his hometown of Chicago, Jesse created the 1st original house music record and launched the House Music movement across the land.
Eventually, his style of music would come to sell millions of records and CDs, take over the popular consciousness of millions of fans across the Earth and cement the electronic revolution in music.
Written by author James Cummins, this autobiography tells the story of how it all happened. From the streets of Chicago to the biggest music labels in Los Angeles, California, it follows Jesse Saunders as he recreates the musical landscape of America.
Influenced by legends such as the late Frankie Knuckles, Jesse is said by some to have created the first house record ever on vinyl. As well as discussing how he pioneered the genre, the book also gets into celebrity culture of the 1980s and ‘90s. If you want to know about the history/origins of house music, there’s certainly worst places to start.
9. Full On. Non-Stop. All Over
Categories: Rave Culture Books | UK Rave Scene | Photography Books | Best Electronic Music Books 2021
Author: Matthew Smith
At the turn of the millennium and after a decade of dedicating his life to producing free party community and culture, photographer Matthew Smith decided that it was time for a change.
Working out of Bristol; Matt travelled the length and breadth of the country, capturing events of every genre and culture and the results are an intimate snapshot of UK club culture; unknowingly sat wide-eyed on the verge of the digital age.
This photography book is perfect for anyone that was clubbing in the UK between 1999 and 2006 (born roughly between 1981 & 1987).
What makes the imagery (and this ere) even more special is that it was right before the digital revolution took hold – so no camera phones, social media, selfies or other bullshit. As the only book of its kind that we know of, it had to get on a spot on the list!
Also check out this short news piece we did about the book when it came.
10. Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny
Categories: Memoirs | Disco Books | Electronic Music History | Artist/music autobiographies
Author: Nile Rodgers
From Chic to Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers is the creative force behind some of the biggest hits ever recorded. Here is the story of how global pop’s greatest genius transformed his own dramatic life into the brilliantly joyful playlist of a generation.
Legendary music producer Nile Rodgers gives an honest look into his colourful life/career, with stories about 70s & 80s icons such as David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Billy Idol, Madonna and others.
It’s one of the best autobiographies out there, and a must-read for anyone interested in the culture from that period, or indeed for any dance music enthusiast and/or aspiring music producer.
11. Carl Cox, Oh Yes Oh Yes!
Categories: Memoirs | DJ Culture | Books About DJs | Best Electronic Music Books 2021
Author: Carl Cox
In Oh yes, oh yes!, the man himself, Carl Cox, takes us to the heart of the party, from the UK rave scene to Burning Man and from Ibiza to Melbourne, and a career that in many ways is the story of club culture.
The book is a remarkably candid and intimate portrait of an artist who has never lost touch with the people who share the dancefloor with him.
Without a doubt one of the best DJs that’s ever lived – the legend that is Carl Cox! Coxy takes the reader on a journey through his 30+ year career (and adult life), starting from his working-class upbringing on a council estate in South London.
While he does take a lot of credit for the evolution of the underground scene in the book, if you’re a Carl Cox fan, it’s certainly worth a read — and good inspiration for aspiring DJs!
Also check out this news piece we did when it came out for more.
12. Hypnotised: A Journey Through Trance Music (1990-2005)
Categories: Trance Music Books | Photography Books | Best Electronic Music Books 2021
Author: Arjan Rietveld
Hypnotised is the first encyclopaedia to cover the global trance movement during its most prolific years. The 322-page book spans a near-complete discography of supposedly essential albums, labels and releases, alongside exclusive photos and in-depth interviews with influential artists and label owners.
Surprisingly, there aren’t that many trance music books out there, so this one seems like a no-brainer addition to the list to cater for trance music fans.
For an additional charge, this trance encyclopaedia book can be accompanied by a 3LP compilation of Dutch trance music – which would make a fantastic gift.
Related from our blog:
- 20 of the Best Classic Trance Anthems From the Mid-To-Late 90s.
- 20 of the Best Classic Trance Anthems From The 2000s.
13. The Disco Files 1973–78: New York’s Underground, Week by Week
Categories: Disco Books | History of Disco | Photography Books | Electronic Music Books | Electronic Music History | Memoirs
Author: Fran Lebowitz and Vince Aletti
As disco grew from an underground secret to a billion-dollar industry, Aletti was there to document it, and The Disco Files is his personal memoir of those days, containing everything he wrote on the subject (most of it between 1974 and 1978) augmented with photography by Peter Hujar and Toby Old.
This book is the definitive and essential chronicle of disco, true from-the-trenches reporting that details, week by week, the evolution of the clubs, the DJs, and above all, the music, through magazine articles, beautiful photographs, hundreds of club charts and thousands of record reviews.
To elaborate on the official blurb… the book also documents all the ‘essential’ disco singles, records (EPs) and albums by year, which is a really nice addition to what’s undoubtedly one of the best books documenting the disco era.
14. Porcelain: A Memoir
Categories: Memoirs | DJ Culture | Artist/music autobiographies | Books About DJs
From one of the most interesting and iconic musicians of our time, a piercingly tender, funny, and harrowing account of the path from suburban poverty and alienation to a life of beauty, squalor and unlikely success out of the NYC club scene of the late ’80s and ’90s.
In the book, Moby talks candidly about his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, his Christian faith, self-image and more. The memoir follows his story from living in an abandoned factory in Connecticut to playing the hottest clubs in New York and Europe. As well as Moby fans, the book might also appeal to aspiring music producers.
15. Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture
Categories: Techno Books | Rave Culture Books | Electronic Music History | EDM Books | Electronic Music Books | Summer of Love | UK Rave Scene | U.S Rave Scene | Acid House
Author: Simon Reynolds
In Generation Ecstasy, Simon Reynolds takes the reader on a guided tour of this end-of-the-millenium phenomenon, telling the story of rave culture and techno music as an insider who has dosed up and blissed out.
A celebration of rave’s quest for the perfect beat definitive chronicle of rave culture and electronic dance music.
Here’s another rave culture option that essentially runs through a historical timeline of the mid-to-late 80s and 90s, starting with Detroit Techno and Chicago House in the U.S, moving on to the summer of Love in the UK and beyond. It gets stuck into the genres, the drugs, the DJs and more. There’s also a whole heap of tracks listed at the end which is a nice touch.
Categories: Memoirs | Acid House | Hacienda | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | UK Rave Scene | DJ Culture | Books About DJs
Author: Laurent Garnier
ELECTROCHOC is a true insider account of the rise of the dance scene, from the early 1980s at London’s Mud Club and Manchester’s Hacienda, to Paris, Detroit, New York, Chicago and beyond.
Both a fascinating history of the dance scene and an autobiography, ELECTROCHOC includes unique contributions from Detroit techno pioneers Jeff Mills and Mad Mike, as well as François Kervorkian, James Murphy, David Guetta and many others.
ELECTROCHOC takes the reader on a worldwide journey through the legendary clubs, seminal festivals and key moments of dance music history.
As it does, the book tells of how the DJ, producer and label owner Laurent Garnier progressed from spinning discs to creating award-winning records, building a seminal label, and performing at some of the world’s most prestigious venues.
From the legendary French DJ/producer, Laurent Garnier…
After moving to Manchester in 1986 (good timing for the acid house explosion), Laurent started DJing at iconic venues such as the Hacienda — and the rest is history, as they say.
His book is as much of an insight into the scene during the acid house era as it is a ‘memoir’, so you don’t necessarily have to be a massive Garnier fan to enjoy it.
17. The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America
Categories: EDM Books| U.S. Rave Scene | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books
Author: Michaelangelo Matos
Back page blurb:
The Underground Is Massive is the first-ever big-picture history of the American electronic dance music underground, viewed through the lens of nineteen parties over thirty years—from the black, gay underground clubs of Chicago and Detroit’s elite teen-party scene through nineties “electronica” to today’s EDM-festival juggernaut.
In telling EDM’s story, Michaelangelo Matos takes in the rise of the Internet and Burning Man, 9/11, and the collapse of the record business, spotlights its legendary artists—including Frankie Knuckles, Moby, Diplo, Skrillex, Deadmau5, David Guetta, Tiësto, and Daft Punk—and vividly charts why and how it took nearly three decades after electronic dance music became a global youth soundtrack for it to hit big in the land that birthed it.
Surely one of the best and most thorough books for documenting the evolution of dance music in America, from its birth, right through to modern ‘EDM’. The book utilizes hundreds of interviews together with a library of rave-related artefacts.
18. Brickwork: A Biography of The Arches
Categories: UK clubs | Scotland | UK Rave Scene | Best Electronic Music Books 2021
Authors: Kirstin Innes and David Bratchpiece
Nightclub, theatre, creative hub, party place, and one of the most important venues in Scotland, Britain and Europe: for almost 25 years, The Arches was the beating heart of Glasgow.
For the first time, the people who made the venue get to tell their story. Piecing together accounts from directors, DJs, performers, clubbers, artists, bartenders, actors, audiences and staff, Brickwork writes the biography of a space that was always more than its bricks and mortar.
This one might be appreciated more if you’ve been to The Arches or if you’re interested in UK club history… and perhaps more specifically Scotland’s. It’s written by a former employee of the iconic Glaswegian club, David Bratchpiece.
19. Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House
Categories: Acid House | Rave Culture Books| UK Rave Scene
Author: Matthew Collin
Altered State—now updated—is the definitive text on ecstasy culture, using a cast of characters to track the origins of the scene through psychedelic subcults, underground gay discos, and the Balearic paradise of Ibiza.
It examines the ideologies and myths, documenting the criminal underside to the blissed-out image, and shedding light on the social history of the most spectacular youth movement of the twentieth century.
The book Altered State documents how Ecstasy and dance music dictated and changed British youth culture from the birth of the scene in the late ‘80s and through the ‘90s. A worthy addition to our list!
20. The Secret DJ: Book Two
Categories: DJ Culture | Politics
Through four decades at the pointy end of dance music and club culture, the Secret DJ has seen it all. In this hilarious, gripping, and at times extremely moving follow-up to the smash hit first book, the mysterious insider pulls no punches, wryly lifting the lid on misbehaving stars, what really goes on backstage, how to survive in the DJ game, and where the real power lies in rave.
Most of all, they chart how capitalism bought and sold the utopian dreams of the Acid House generation – and whether those dreams can still be saved. Essential reading for anyone who cares about the dancefloor; past, present and future.
In summary, The Secret DJ: Book Two gets into the rise of dance music over the last 30 years and its connection to western capitalism and culture.
Whilst we obviously don’t know who the author is, we do know that this person is still a gigging DJ at one of the world’s biggest clubs – and that their professional DJ career begin in 1985. We haven’t read this one yet, although it has excellent reviews across the board.
21. Rave On: Global Adventures in Electronic Dance Music
Categories: Politics | EDM Books | Electronic Music Books | Electronic Music History | Rave Culture Books
Author: Matthew Collin
In Rave On, Matthew Collin travels the world to experience these unique scenes first-hand, talk to the key players and hear the story of how dance culture went global – and find out if its maverick spirit can survive its own success.
Through firsthand reportage and interviews with clubbers and DJs, Collin documents the itinerant musical form from its underground beginnings in New York, Chicago, and Detroit in the 1980s, to its explosions in Ibiza and Berlin, to today’s mainstream music scenes in new frontiers like Las Vegas, Shanghai, and Dubai.
He shows how it’s dizzying array of genres—from house, techno, and garage to drum and bass, dubstep, and psytrance—have given voice to locally specific struggles.
In a nutshell, Rave On captures the cultural differences between various dance scenes’ around the world – in places such as South Africa, Georgia and beyond. It gets to the heart of what dance music culture is really about: people of all backgrounds coming together and having a good time.
If you’re interested in the history/evolution of electronic dance music from a more global perspective this should definitely be part of your reading list.
22. Join The Future: Bleep Techno and the Birth of British Bass Music
Categories: Bass Music Books | Bleep Techno | UK Rave Scene | Electronic Music Books | Electronic Music History | Techno Books | Rave Culture Books
Author: Matt Anniss
In Join The Future, dance music journalist Matt Anniss traces the roots, origins, development and legacy of the sound that started it all: the first distinctively British form of electronic dance music, bleep techno.
A mixture of social, cultural, musical and oral history, Join The Future reveals the untold stories of bleep’s Yorkshire pioneers and those that came in their wake, moving from electro all-dayers and dub soundsystem clashes of the mid-1980s to the birth of hardcore and jungle in London and the South East.
Along the way, you’ll find first-hand accounts of key clubs and raves, biographies of forgotten and overlooked production pioneers, stories of bleep outposts in Canada and the United States, and the inside story of the early years of one of electronic music’s most iconic labels, Warp Records.
As the only book (that we’re aware of) on Bleep Techno, and Bass Music more broadly, we simply had to include it on the list. It’s taken from a Northern UK perspective (Yorkshire, specifically), and seems to be another good option for any old school ravers from the early 90s in the UK.
Sorry Matt, we haven’t read this one yet.
23. State of Bass: The Origins of Jungle/Drum & Bass
Categories: Drum & Bass Books | Bass Music Books | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | UK Rave Scene
Year: 2020 (originally from 1997)
Author: Martin James
As UK government legislation, standardised music and bad drugs forced the euphoria of the rave into the darkness, a new underground movement emerged – jungle/drum & bass.
Drawing on interviews with some of the key figures in the early years, State of Bass explores the scene’s social, cultural and musical roots via the sonic shifts that charted the journey from deep underground to global phenomenon.
If you’re looking for a book on the history of Jungle/Drum & Bass and the evolution of the genre, then look no further! The other Drum & Bass book on this list, ‘We Say Reload’, is No.7.
24. Adventures In Wonderland: Acid house, rave and the UK club explosion
Categories: Acid House | Rave Culture Books | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | UK Rave Scene
Author: Sheryl Garratt
The definitive history of the acid house explosion and its reverberations across popular culture, Adventures In Wonderland has been out of print for more than 20 years. This new edition has been updated slightly, with a new introduction and final chapter.
This is the acid house and rave explosion, as told by the people who lived it: door staff, dancers and drug dealers; gangsters, blaggers and promoters. From the real stories behind the huge illegal raves of 1989 to insider accounts from DJs such as Norman Jay, Trevor Nelson, Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling, Graeme Park, Mike Pickering, Carl Cox, Sasha and John Digweed.
Definitely one of the better, more comprehensive books on rave culture and the acid house era. It also discusses dance music’s emergence from the U.S. and influence from Ibiza.
25. Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture
Categories: Disco Books | Electronic Music History | History of Disco | Photography Books | Politics
Author: Alice Echols
In the 1970s, as the disco tsunami engulfed America, the question, “Do you wanna dance?” became divisive, even explosive. What about this music made it such hot stuff?
In her incisive history, Alice Echols reveals the ways in which disco transformed popular music, propelling it into new sonic territory and influencing rap, techno, and trance.
This account probes the complex relationship between disco and the era’s major movements: gay liberation, feminism, and the black freedom struggle. You won’t say “disco sucks” again as disco pumps back to life in this pulsating look at the culture and politics that gave rise to the music. Includes 20 black-and-white photographs.
Compared to the other disco books on this list, this one talks more about its origins and cultural influences. We’ve picked it for good reason, but we’ll let you decide.
26. Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture
Categories: Rave Culture Books | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books | UK Rave Scene
Author: Simon Reynolds
In Energy Flash, journalist Simon Reynolds offers a revved-up and passionate inside chronicle of how MDMA (“ecstasy”) and MIDI (the basis for electronica) together spawned the unique rave culture of the 1990s.
Reynolds goes way beyond straight music history, mixing social history, interviews with participants and scene-makers, and his own analysis of the sounds with the names of key places, tracks, groups, scenes, and artists. He delves deep into the panoply of rave-worthy drugs and proper rave attitude and etiquette, exposing a nuanced musical phenomenon.
The book is written from a UK perspective… it’s a good deep dive into dance culture, drugs, rave music genres (such as Hardcore, Jungle, Trance and so on), electronic music history and more.
27. Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor: Music, Manchester, and More: A Memoir
Categories: Memoirs | Hacienda | Books About DJs
Author: Dave Haslam
A gloriously well-crafted memoir, documenting Dave’s encounters with inspiring characters including Tony Wilson, Nile Rodgers, Terry Hall, Neneh Cherry, Tracey Thorn, John Lydon, John Peel, Ian Brown, Laurent Garnier and David Byrne.
He interviews Johnny Marr and John Lydon, meets writers including Raymond Carver and Jonathan Franzen, discusses masturbation with Viv Albertine, and ecstasy with Roisin Murphy; he has a gun pulled on him at the Hacienda, a drug dealer threatens to slit his throat; and Morrissey comes to tea.
Blurb from Goodreads.
Also an author & journalist, Dave is of course best known for his time as a DJ at the Hacienda, where he ran his own club night called Temperance in the late 80s and made over 450 appearances.
The book is essentially an intimate account of Dave’s life growing up through the 80s & 90s in Manchester.
28. Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979
Categories: Disco Books | History of Disco | DJ Culture | Photography Books | DJ Culture
Author: Tim Lawrence
Tim Lawrence tells the definitive story of American dance music culture in the 1970s—from its subterranean roots in NoHo and Hell’s Kitchen to its gaudy blossoming in midtown Manhattan to its wildfire transmission through America’s suburbs and urban hotspots such as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Newark, and Miami.
Love Saves the Day includes material from over three hundred original interviews with the scene’s most influential players, including David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Tom Moulton, Loleatta Holloway, Giorgio Moroder, Francis Grasso, Frankie Knuckles, and Earl Young.
It incorporates more than twenty special DJ discographies—listing the favourite records of the most important spinners of the disco decade—and a more general discography cataloguing some six hundred releases. Also contains a unique collection of more than seventy rare photos.
We haven’t read it, although these two reviews might help:
“Love Saves the Day is what we need for generations to come: it’s the real history of dance music and DJ/club culture.”—Louie Vega, DJ/producer, Masters At Work & Nuyorican Soul
“The ultimate backstage view of disco, the underground phenomenon that ended up defining a decade. Tim Lawrence talked to virtually everyone who shaped ‘70s urban nightlife, but he keeps his prime focus on the DJs who created its seductive soundtrack.’’
29. Discographies: Dance, Music, Culture and the Politics of Sound
Categories: DJ Culture | Politics
Authors: Ewan Pearson and Jeremy Gilbert
Experiencing disco, hip hop, house, techno, drum ‘n’ bass and garage, Discographies plots a course through the transatlantic dance scene of the last twenty-five years. It discusses the problems posed by contemporary dance culture of both academic and cultural study and finds these origins in the history of opposition to music as a source of sensory pleasure.
Discussing such issues as technology, club space, drugs, the musical body, gender, sexuality and pleasure, Discographies explores the ecstatic experiences at the heart of contemporary dance culture. It suggests why politicians and agencies as diverse as the independent music press and public broadcasting should be so hostile to this cultural phenomenon.
We haven’t read this one unfortunately, although it has very good reviews. Read more on Amazon if you’re unsure.
30. Grime Kids: The Inside Story of the Global Grime Takeover
Categories: Grime Books | Bass Music Books | DJ Culture | Electronic Music History | Electronic Music Books
Author: DJ Target
A group of kids in the 90s had a dream to make their voice heard – and this book documents their seminal impact on today’s pop culture. DJ Target grew up in Bow under the shadow of Canary Wharf, with money looming close on the skyline. The ‘Godfather of Grime’ Wiley and Dizzee Rascal first met each other in his bedroom.
They were all just grime kids on the block back then, and didn’t realise they were to become pioneers of an international music revolution. A movement that permeates deep into British culture and beyond.
Household names were borne out of those housing estates, and the music industry now jumps to the beat of their gritty reality rather than the tune of glossy aspiration. Grime has shaken the world and Target is revealing its explosive and expansive journey in full, using his own unique insight and drawing on the input of grime’s greatest names.
Lastly, Grime Kids takes a look at the history of Grime and its impact on culture. It’s written (from a modern perspective) by Radio 1 host, DJ and grime music producer from East London, DJ Target.
Related resources from our blog
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Credits: Header image: Alexander Popov on Unsplash.