There is always a reason to give a gift, whether it’s for a holiday, a birthday, an anniversary, a house-warming present, a graduation or… well, just because. Simply put, it never hurts to show someone that you are thinking of them, music fans included. In turn, below are 15 gift ideas that any music fan from Chicago will surely appreciate, as they each have some connection to the Windy City.
Jimmy Page: The Definitive Biography by Chris Salewicz
It has been over 35 years since Led Zeppelin disbanded and still Led Zeppelin is widely considered to be one of the greatest bands of all-time. Say what you want about Greta Van Fleet, but that Michigan-based quartet is surely helping to remind people of just how great Zeppelin was. Chicago Stadium was the site of an on-stage collapse of guitarist Jimmy Page in 1977, but on a brighter note, Chris Salewicz’s Jimmy Page: The Definitive Biography is a thoroughly-researched gem. Prepare to learn a lot about Led Zeppelin from Mr. Salewicz.
Skynyrd’s Innyrds: Their Greatest Hits by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Originally released in 1989, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s five-times platinum-certified collection Skynyrd’s Innyrds: Their Greatest Hits was re-issued on vinyl in late 2018. Pressed on both a black vinyl LP and in a limited brown vinyl LP edition, Skynyrd’s Innyrds features 10 Skynyrd classics, including two “outtake versions.” Skynyrd is currently on a farewell tour, over 45 years since the group made its Chicago debut, opening up for The Who at the International Amphitheater on November 29, 1973.
The Urban Legends LPs — A Collaboration Between UME & Marvel
Urban Legends is the urban catalog platform of Universal Music Enterprises, and Urban Legends has collaborated with Marvel Comics for an on-going exclusive album series in which variant covers have been created for select collector’s editions of some of the record label’s most legendary hip-hop releases. The first releases in this joint series include 50 Cent’s 2003 debut Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, The Punisher replicating LL Cool J’s 1990 album Mama Said Knock You Out and Iron Man dueling Maestro on the cover of GZA’s second studio album Liquid Swords. One of the key artists for Urban Legends is Chicago native Kanye West.
Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist For Real Life by Martina McBride
Country music icon Martina McBride’s most recent studio album was the Christmas-friendly It’s The Holiday Season. Around the same time, McBride also released the all-season cookbook, Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist For Real Life. As noted by McBride herself: “These are some of my very favorite recipes I’ve created since the last book, as well as some family recipes that have been handed down to me.” McBride notably wrapped her 2012 Joy Of Holiday tour in Chicago at the Chicago Theatre.
Gunning For Hits by Jeff Rougvie
Award-winning music producer and writer Jeff Rougvie — known for his work with David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Big Star, and Morphine, to name a few notable artists — has released a new comic book series called Gunning For Hits. The series draws on Rougvie’s rich background in the music industry, in particular, his experiences with David Bowie, who inspired the first storyline. David Bowie notably lived in Chicago for approximately a month in 1980 while acting as part of The Elephant Man.
Little Joe Chickapig by Brian Calhoun
Via the Rockbridge Guitar Company, Brian Calhoun is a well-respected custom guitar maker, having made custom guitars for the likes of Dave Matthews, Keith Urban, Ray LaMontagne, and Jason Mraz. Calhoun is also a game creator, having created the game Chickapig. As if those accomplishments were not enough, Calhoun recently released his first children’s book, Little Joe Chickapig. Notably, Matthews — who Calhoun partners with on the Chickapig brand — released the Live In Chicago 12.19.98 At The United Center album, as produced by John Alagia, another Rockbridge advocate.
Nothing’s Bad Luck: The Lives Of Warren Zevon by C. M. Kushins
A biography of legendary singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, Nothing’s Bad Luck spans Zevon’s nomadic youth up through his final album and posthumous Grammy Awards. Kushins gets in-depth, to say the least, and conducted interviews with the likes of Crystal Zevon, Jackson Browne, Mitch Albom, Danny Goldberg, Barney Hoskyns, and Merle Ginsberg. Zevon was reportedly born in Chicago in 1947.
Serving The Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain by Danny Goldberg
Speaking of Danny Goldberg, he was not only the manager of Nirvana, but also the president of several record companies. Goldberg worked directly with Kurt Cobain and Serving The Servant wonderfully reflects on those years of Goldberg’s life. As the book’s cover includes a praising quote from writer/director Cameron Crowe, expect to be wowed by Goldberg’s latest book. As per Kurt Cobain’s history with Chicago, it is believed to be the city in which Cobain and Courtney Love officially got together as a couple.
HUF’s New Collaboration with STARTER
Keith Hufnagel grew up skateboarding in the gritty streets of New York City in the late 1980s. In those days, skateboarding was simply not acceptable. In 1992, Hufnagel moved to San Francisco to pursue his passion of skateboarding. He turned professional soon after, which brought him the opportunity to travel the world. He would later open a small boutique on an offbeat block of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, which was arguably the first of its kind. Hufnagel’s store — named HUF — brought the most respected brands that the skateboard, streetwear, and sneaker communities had to offer together under one roof. Fast-forwarding to 2019, HUF recently announced a partnership with the heritage American sportswear label STARTER on a new collection celebrating 1990s-era skate and street cultures. HUF’s latest lookbook features Young Dirty Bastard — son of legendary Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ol’ Dirty Bastard — as an homage to the legacy of 90s hip-hop. And speaking of the Wu-Tang Clan, with the group’s blessing, Collaboraction Artistic Director Anthony Moseley is adapting the song “Tearz” off Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers album for the stage.
Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell by Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf’s quintuple U.S. platinum-certified 1993 album Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell and his platinum-certified 1995 album Welcome To The Neighbourhood are both made their U.S. vinyl debuts with 2LP vinyl editions on February 8th. Released 25 years ago, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell was the highly-anticipated sequel to one of the bestselling albums of all time: his blockbuster 1977 debut Bat Out Of Hell. Touring for Bat Out Of Hell was done with the backing band known as The Neverland Express, which continues to tour with Meat Loaf even to this day. And this first city in which The Neverland Express played in with Meat Loaf, you ask? It was Chicago, opening up for Rockford, Illinois’ own Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame act Cheap Trick.
Rock Stars At Home by Chris Charlesworth
Aiming to be “the first-ever guide to the most ostentatious and over-the-top homes in rock ’n’ roll history,” Rock Stars At Home shows some of the biggest rock icons somewhere rarely seen: their homes. The book also shows these stars in pools, planes, music rooms, and playgrounds. Among the subjects featured are Elvis Presley, The Beatles, David Bowie, The Jacksons, Prince and Ozzy Osbourne. Beyond the earlier-mentioned David Bowie having ties to Chicago, Michael Jackson did have a song called “Chicago” on his Invincible album.
Guitar Zeus by Carmine Appice
Drummer Carmine Appice co-founded the band Vanilla Fudge and would ultimately go on to play with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd, and Jeff Beck, to name a few key artists. His latest release is a re-issue of his Guitar Zeus albums, which included members of Queen, Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Journey, and Def Leppard. Speaking of GNR, the band spent the Summer of 1989 in Chicago, as detailed in Slash’s 2007 book.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young by David Browne
Acclaimed music journalist and Rolling Stone contributing editor David Browne has penned the first narrative biography of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which is arguably also the most comprehensive work ever written about CSN or CSNY. David Crosby and Graham Nash contributed interviews to Browne’s research efforts, as did backing musicians, colleagues, fellow superstars, former managers, employees, and people in romantic relationships with CSNY members. And as with the earlier-mentioned Michael Jackson, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young did have a song named “Chicago.”
Bob Mould’s JCRT Clothing Collaboration
Earlier this month, Bob Mould released a new full-length album, Sunshine Rock. Sunrise Rock, a Merge Records title, is indeed great and full of the hooky, energetic and loud rock that one would expect from Bob Mould. But also of note about Mould is his special collaboration with the handcrafted clothing company JCRT. This collaboration entails a limited-edition shirt, a plaid flannel inspired by the bold graphic color and layout of Sunshine Rock. Beyond regularly touring in and around Chicago over the years, the recent box-set of Mould’s old band Husker Du was compiled by the Chicago-based Numero Group.
You’re The Man by Marvin Gaye
In celebration of Marvin Gaye’s 80th birthday on April 2nd, Motown Records — a Universal Music Enterprises record label — will release Gaye’s never-issued 1972 Tamla/Motown album You’re The Man in 2LP gatefold vinyl and digital editions on March 29. You’re The Man features all of Gaye’s solo and non-soundtrack recordings from 1972, with many of the album’s tracks making their vinyl release debuts. SaLaAM ReMi’s new mix of the album track “My Last Chance” is available now for streaming and for immediate download via album pre-order. Gaye, whose vocals were featured on a recent duet with BJ The Chicago Kid, was the focus of the Black Ensemble Theater’s world premiere presentation of The Marvin Gaye Story in 2012.