The ultimate illustrated history of rock & roll–comprehensive, authoritative, and fully updated with coverage of the most important new sounds and artists of the 1980s and `90s.
This history of Rock and Roll comes from Rolling Stone, one of the biggest and longest-lasting names in Rock reporting and coverage. It is truly a mixed bag, ranging anywhere from great historical content to outright howlers.
First, the book does an excellent job of covering the entirety of rock history and drawing out its influences and evolutions. It does a wonderful job of covering the different local scenes and how they were integrated in with the whole of rock music. Whole chapters are generally rewarded to the most influential bands, and not just those that sold more album.
However, the book suffers a number of strong drawbacks. First, as many pointed out, the book is clearly slanted toward the Rolling Stone perspective. Artists such as Billy Joel, who have not had good relations with the magazine, have been omitted. Several others, such as Bob Seger, were also given no treatment. There is also a bit of redundent content, such as giving the Beatles two whole chapters and then devoting a third (British Invasion) to a primarily Beatles-related topic. Also, there are separate chapters on Motown and Stevie Wonder.
Secondly, the book is often skewed toward the “pop” scene when it comments on more current acts. Rolling Stone has been getting even worse about this in its magazine. One particular example that stands out is in the heavy metal section.
About the Author
Anthony DeCurtis is a contributing editor at “Rolling Stone“, where his work has appeared since 1980. He has written for numerable music and entertainment magazines and newspapers. A former on-air correspondent and editorial director at VH1, he has contributed to a myriad of television specials and programs. DeCurtis holds a Ph.D. in American literature from Indiana University and he teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and the Gradudate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.
Holly George-Warren is an award-winning writer and editor who has contributed to more than forty books about rock & roll. She is the author of Punk 365, Grateful Dead 365, and Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry, among other books. She cowrote The Road to Woodstock and is coeditor of The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey, and Farm Aid: A Song for America. Her writing has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Mojo, and the Village Voice.