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These 3 music memoirs tell the stories of Rob Halford, Gucci Mane, Willie Nelson and more – Press Telegram

If you want to dig into the lives of musicians, there’s no shortage of books for you. Below, we’ve selected three recent releases with very different takes on the music memoir.

“Confess: The Autobiography” by Rob Halford (Courtesy of Hachette)

“Confess: The Autobiography” by Rob Halford (Hachette Books)

When Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford came out as a gay man in a 1998 MTV interview, there weren’t many out LGBTQ people in rock ‘n’ roll, let alone heavy metal. In “Confess: The Autobiography,” Halford, best known as the singer for the British metal band, writes that he received so many letters in the aftermath of the interview that he had to open an office to handle them. Many of those letters, too, were from people thanking him for discussing his sexuality on television. “It opened my eyes to just how many gays were still going through the trauma of suppressing their sexual identity,” he writes.

In “Confess,” Halford describes not only his rise to “metal god” status (a term he has trademarked), but his journey as a rock icon who lived the first 20+ years of his career in the closet. He writes of clandestine dalliances, a tragic romance and his own struggle with addiction that led to his resolve to remain sober for now more than 30 years. Halford also revels in the joy of finding love with his longtime partner, of reuniting with Judas Priest in the 21st century and of being able to live his life openly. “Confess” is a revealing look inside the life of rock royalty told with both heartfelt sincerity and lots of humor.

“The Gucci Mane Guide to Greatness” by Gucci Mane with Soren Baker (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

“The Gucci Mane Guide to Greatness” by Gucci Mane with Soren Baker (Simon & Schuster)

Looking to achieve G.O.A.T. — greatest of all time — status? “The Gucci Mane Guide to Greatness” is the handbook for just that. The hip-hop star follows up his 2017 bestseller “The Autobiography of Gucci Mane” with his tips for success. “Guide to Greatness” is similar in approach to singer Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” and author Francesca Lia Block’s “The Thorn Necklace” in that it’s as much a how-to guide as it is a memoir.

Here, in a quick-paced, conversational tone, Gucci Mane reveals how he overcame some of his life’s challenges while dispelling advice that’s often so practical that it’s easy to overlook, like in the chapter “Whatever It Is, Do It Now.” His insight is at times brutally honest (“If you fail, there may be a handful of people that really still care — if you’re lucky,” he writes. “The other 7.8 billion people on the planet don’t.”), but there are also sentimental moments in the book as well, particularly in the section “The Power of Love.”

“Me and Sister Bobbie” by Willie Nelson, Bobbie Nelson and David Ritz (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

“Me and Sister Bobbie” by Willie Nelson, Bobbie Nelson, David Ritz (Random House)

In this joint memoir, siblings Willie and Bobbie Nelson alternate chapters as they document their lives from early childhood, when their parents left them in the care of their grandparents, to recent years. In sharing their stories, the two also offer a look at how the paths of remarkably talented musicians — one male, one female — diverged. For Bobbie, a piano player, her musical pursuits were held against her in a custody case brought forth by her first husband’s parents. Later, as she found work with Hammond Organ Company and in restaurants, it became her way to financial independence. By the 1970s, as Willie’s fame began to soar, she joined her brother on the road. With writer David Ritz, the write of a deep familial bond that has helped them overcome numerous struggles and several major tragedies.

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