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The 2012 Gift Guide

More than 50 stocking-rocking presents for the music lover in your life: The best in wireless stereos, books, DVDs, headphones, box sets and much more

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Rock & Roll Reading

Rod by Rod Stewart
In an action-packed memoir, Stewart explains how he survived the excesses of Seventies rock stardom while avoiding perils such as wifeswapping with Mick Jagger (Mick offered, Rod declined). The book is light on deep revelation, but full of bad behavior and enough ex-wives to fill an entire soccer side. ($25)

Bruce  by Peter Ames Carlin
How do you find the man behind the myth? It's simple: reporting! Springsteen, his family, the E Street Band and various ex-girlfriends talked to Carlin, who ended up with a rounded portrait of one of rock's most important figures – who, it turns out, might not always be an easy guy to work for. Even the most obsessive Bruce tramps will find surprises throughout. ($28)

Who I Am by Pete Townshend
Always the most thoughtful and articulate of rock stars (when he wasn't delivering fatal blows to his instruments), Townshend doesn't disappoint in his longawaited memoir. It goes deep into his emotional and marital struggles, without skimping on the stories behind the Who's greatest music. It's a painful, but amazing, journey. ($33)

The One: The Life and Music of James Brown by RJ Smith
Rich in musical and historical detail, this novelistic portrait of the Godfather of Soul is as illuminating as it is definitive. The One serves as a minihistory of R&B, rock & roll and funk, and Smith manages to make sense of a chaotic, contradictory life that changed the shape of American culture. ($28)

Makeup to the Breakup by Peter Criss
A good subtitle to this tell-all might be "Gene Simmons is the devil." The ex-Kiss drummer decided to burn his bridges to dust and tell the real story about his tenure in Kiss, including endless stories of groupies, wild nights and Simmons' ego trips. Much of it is stunningly graphic, but Kiss fans will love every word. ($26)

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