Everything's in (roughly) chronological order. If an amazon.com link exists 'cause it's still being published, that's what you'll see when you click. If it's a used book, I prefer bookfinder.com, so you can chose your own vendor. If I've read it, I might say something. If someone else has a real article about said works of word, they'll be right below, yo.
The 1st Part of the Beginning: Crawdaddy!
It all started with a magazine and passion for this pretty new, pretty strange and (almost) always amazing phenomenon called rock and roll. Paul Williams (RIP) and co. regularly worked out how'd'you talk about it to others/ talk with it/connect to it when you're off the dance floor and away from the turntable. Crawdaddy! gave birth to rockwriting, and (sadly) the 'Rock journalism' and 'criticism' came later.
A recent collection of the mag under Paul's tenure contains the first published excerpt of The Aesthetics of Rock. This is found HERE,
Note: Crawdaddy! itself lived a decent life, if all too brief, live in the digital age, and eventually found itself sold by Wolfgang's Vault. Its now the equivalent to a pinky-toenail on Paste Magazine's website as a 'blog'. I won't link to that incarnation out of respect for J. Hoppa's sterling crack at making something meaningful manifest.
Part the First: The Aesthetics of Rock
It all kinda starts here (all over again).No chapters, just an index, Soft White Underbelly, a few hundred pages of everything all at once about rock and roll - its performers, its culture, it's visceral importance - at the tiptop of its height and about to-be precipitous decline. His book, to me, is as real-time a reportage on the whole shindig as you could get.
Amazon has The Aesthetics of Rock in stock from Da Capo. This edition features a Greil Marcus preamble and a contemporary RM intro. to the book.
PS: Marcus just misses the point and unrequitely yearns for his usual formalist rock (without roll) utopia. Don't get me started.
- SUCK's Rock 'n' Roll Middle School by Hypatia follows The impact of The Aesthetics of Rock into its former future and the broader rock-crit scene. A nice overview of some of the names you might encounter if you trod down the tungsten-brick road of rockwriting's history.
Gulcher: Post-Rock Cultural Pluralism in America (1649-1993)
So now it's the 70s, both in terms of when it was published and what it chronicles. Not really an anthology, though it has a lot of semi-disconnected content. It's more a word-art-piece of, by, for and against the (popular) culture from which it was born. I like it a lot.
You'll need to find Gulcher at used book dealers. This edition features a Lester Bangs tacked-on preamble and RM wrote a few bracketting essays placed at beginning and end of book.
Saturday Night Pogo
This is not a book, I know. It's still pretty darn neat. Read photographer Heather Harris' recollections of this compendium and its cover here: Fast Film: Saturday Night Pogo.
Caned Out, the Authorized Autobiography of Richard Meltzer
This is a series that he published in 1984 through Illuminati Press. It had a few volumes. Both are very, very scarce. So who knows what's in 'em. Here are the titles:
Post-Natal Trash, Prickly Heat and Cold, and Boat Ride Down the Maguire.
17 Insects Can Die in Your Heart
Another rarity. On Oujia Madness Press, if the source I found for that fact is to be believed. If you have it, you are lucky. It seems an 80's kinda name, doesn't it?
Frankie (Tall Tale Series, Parts 1 and 2)
Written in '87, with Nick Tosches on Illuminati Press. Another one I don't own. C'est la vie. Buy through used book stores. It's fairly rare, as these prices attest.
Richard Meltzer's Guide to the Ugliest Buildings of Los Angeles
Best tour book title. Ever. Especially for 1984. Prettiness is over-rated, often. For instance, I saw a magazine that exclaimed that it's possible to be instantly gorgeous. Now, that's pretty unfair definitionally. I'll admit that it's possible some effort may be necessary, but not in EVERY case. People have varied interests. So here's to Ugly Buildings, wherever it is.
LA is the Capital of Kansas: Painful Lessons in Post-New York Living
I don't own this, but I want to. For now, I just savor the title and sub-title. I suppose I've not had my own late-80s happen. Would be perfect to re-release with the Guide above.
Bookfinder dealers for it are here. Awful sentence, eh?
Holes: A Book Not Entirely About GolfI don't own this, either. It was published two years later than LA by Future Tense. Again, Good name. Here's an interesting vignette.
Surprisingly, you can still buy this NEW at Amazon.
The Night (Alone) (a Novel)
This is his most. It's also his only published novel, which happened in 1995. Riffing on "How do i love thee, let me count the ways," I'd have written this as his jacket/review blurb: "How many ways can you dissect and expand a life at night? Richard Meltzer writes in most, if not all, the ways." For what it's worth one my favorite poems resides in this book.
As you might have guessed, it's not printed anymore so Bookfinder is your best shot.
Tropic of NipplesA Henry Mlller title if there ever was one. I don't know much about this other than it's likely poems and that it was out near 1995.
A Whore Just Like the Rest: The Music Writings of Richard Meltzer
An atom bomb of artifacts from the days when typewriters were the only obvious way to make whatcha wrote legible. Each piece in this hefty softcover beaut is prefaced by an italicized visit from Meltzer from his 1999/2000 habitat. It's a stunning array of colors, colons, CAPITAL LETTERS, and constant confrontation with what it means to mean something. Or something like that. And it's got "unreleased footage", too.
If you start or finish your Meltzer-reading run, you should buy it. HERE is as a good a place as any other.
Autumn Rhythm: Musings On Time, Tide, Aging, Dying, And Such Biz
This is the latest and greatest. It's truly and apples v. oranges comparison between this collection and A Whore Just Like the Rest - the above is the past. This'un is not so far from all our futures. Far more now than a fly trapped in amber record/music review. It's easily his most direct and personal book (excepting the Autobiographies above that I can't find and haven't read).
Here's its current home at Perseus Books. Buy and support your (possibly) local author.
Honorable Mentions: Anthologized Meltzerwork
Penguin Book of Rock and Roll Writing
Back in the 1990s, Penguin Press released this hardcover beauty. A heft volume by any measure, it included Meltzer's piece on Bruce Springsteen, among many, many, many others. It's several hundred pages o' fun.
Paper or Plastic
Michael Walsh wrote this chapbook for Future Tense. RM wrote an intro. Buy here.
Da Capo Best Music Writing 2001: The Year's Finest Writing on Rock, Pop, Jazz, Country, and More
Editted by Nick Hornby, this one includes the 'Third Spud from the Sun' piece (2nd one in the book!) and the rock snob dictionary in non-book form.
I Hate New Music
Richard Meltzer wrote the forward to the 2008 book, I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto by Dave Thompson.
The Velvet Underground - New York Art
2009 anthology of VU-abilia, including Screw Philosophical Discourse: Shattered Illusions by Richard Meltzer (1972), according to a blurb. If you fancy, check it out here