There are as many ways to approach an artist’s story as there are to compose a song. But music memoirs and biographies typically follow a template — the humble beginnings, the meteoric rise and the (possibly substance-related) fall, followed by a hard-won recovery with various star-studded encounters along the way.

This fall, the latest crop of music biographies stands out in a crowded field for how well they find new wrinkles within that formula.

Here are some of the best:

“Blood” by Allison Moorer, (Da Capo, $27)

Moorer doesn’t just explore the arc of a musician’s life as much as the indelible moments that both shatter and define it. The Alabama-born singer-songwriter was 14 when her father shot and killed her mother on their lawn before turning the gun on himself. With searching, poetic language, Moorer unflinchingly ventures into the dark shadows of that day — and a childhood haunted by alcoholism and abuse — with sorrow, hard-won resilience and, ultimately, compassion.

Her intimate, in-progress processing of the trauma is as affecting as it is jarring.
The 47-year-old Moorer barely touches on her music, apart from nods toward collaborations with her sister, singer/songwriter Shelby Lynne, and recollections of more peaceful nights with her family spent harmonizing together. But “Blood” leaves behind a powerful need to hear more.

“The Beautiful Ones” by Prince, (Spiegel & Grau, $30)

Inevitably, “The Beautiful Ones” is shaped by a powerful absence. The book was overseen by Paris Review editor Dan Piepenbring, who was in his late 20s when Prince chose him to collaborate on what he envisioned as “the biggest music book of all time.” The project was still in progress when the singer died in 2016 at age 57.

“The Beautiful Ones” by Prince (Penguin Random House)

As a result, only 20 pages of Prince’s story exist here in a blend of colorful remembrances of growing up in Minneapolis and the performer’s complicated relationship with his parents. In an illuminating, heartfelt introduction, Piepenbring describes other ideas discussed with the famously idiosyncratic artist, including Prince’s views on funk, black self-sufficiency and, tantalizingly, an unshared anecdote about a near collaboration with Michael Jackson. “There’s going to be some bombshells,” Prince teased at one point. “I hope people are ready.”

The rest of “The Beautiful Ones” is a sprawling collection of photos and ephemera recovered from Prince’s estate, along with his original treatment for “Purple Rain,” all of which will count as essentials for his biggest fans. The book resembles more a “piece of tour merchandise” that Prince said he wanted to avoid than the category-defying barn burner he surely imagined. Another goal, however, was to build upon his already burgeoning mystery. On that front, the book feels like a success.

“Me” by Elton John, (Henry Holt, $30)

“Me” recounts the singer-songwriter’s life, from growing up in suburban London through his electric partnership with songwriter Bernie Taupin to last year’s announcement of his retirement from touring. And while typical music-bio beats are in full force here, John’s dryly witty voice remains an ideal guide through every up and down.

“Me: Elton John Official Autobiography” by Elton John (Henry Holt and Co./TNS)

He offers an endearingly grounded look back at both his L.A. breakthrough and a bit of a sheepish glimpse at the excesses of his ’70s live shows (“For the benefit of anyone who felt this was too subtle and understated, 400 white doves were meant to fly out of the grand pianos,” he recalls of a 1973 Hollywood Bowl performance).

The book touches on darkness as well. John describes his turbulent relationship with his mother, his long and destructive cocaine use and a later turn to activism after meeting young AIDS patient Ryan White. But what lingers most is John’s sure hand with a funny story: He recalls friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and, most notably, Rod Stewart, who serves as his comic foil in a series of playful efforts to upstage one another with pranks, usually while using their drag names (John is Sharon to Stewart’s Phyllis).