Rock Chronicles: Every Legend, Every Line-up, Every Look

Rock Chronicles: Every Legend, Every Line-up, Every Look

Paperback(Third Edition, Updated)

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The definitive rock encyclopedia for the 21st century updated for the ever-changing world of music.

"An absolute must for any rock-music fan."

"A welcome and heavily used addition to any rock 'n' roll buff's library."
—Library Journal

"Will introduce browsers to music they hadn't realized they would like."
—Publishers Weekly

This third edition of Rock Chronicles is updated to mark the recent loss of many important, innovative and beloved musicians who changed the world of music, including: David Bowie, the irreplaceable Prince, Tom Petty, George Michael, Lemmy of Motörhead, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, two of the three members of Emerson Lake and Palmer, poet philosopher Leonard Cohen, Gregg
Allman, the great Chuck Berry, Glenn Frey of the Eagles, Leon Russell, J. Geils, and too many others.

Designed for today's visual-savvy generation, the book uses color-coded infographics for quick-glance coverage of the ever-shifting line-ups, appearances, labels, sounds and successes of 250 of the most important rock acts from 1960 to time of press in 2018. Insightful commentary highlighted with photographs gives the lowdown on every member — whatever their role in the band and however short-lived their time with them.

Bands change their line-ups, musicians pass away, and of course new music is released. This new edition has been updated to reflect the many such changes since the previous book.

These include:

  • Date of death of deceased band members and revisions to the descriptive text to reflect this change
  • Revised text if there has been a major development in an active band
  • New albums for those bands still active on timeline
  • Revised timelines for bands still active
  • Grammy Awards
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees.
  • Comprehensive, information-packed and compelling, Rock Chronicles is the essential reference for everyone who loves rock music.

    Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9780228101598
    Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
    Publication date: 10/25/2019
    Edition description: Third Edition, Updated
    Pages: 576
    Sales rank: 307,606
    Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.80(d)

    About the Author

    David Roberts has edited more than 20 music reference book projects at Guinness World Records including British Hit Singles and Albums and Rockopedia. He is also the author of Rock Atlas: 650 Great Music Locations and the Fascinating Stories Behind Them.

    Table of Contents


      Foreword by Alice Cooper
      How to Use This Book
      Band Directory
      Grammy Award Winners
      Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees
      Websites / Label Abbreviations
      Performer Directory
      Picture Credits


    Foreword by Alice Cooper

    Rock 'n' roll is over a half a century old. The British Invasion is forty years old. If you're around seventy right now, you were probably a Beatles or Rolling Stones fan. Why does this music keep going on? Most of the bands from the fifties and sixties are still touring and making records. Is there something magical about this music, or is it just a refusal to grow old? I'm starting to think it's a psychochemical reaction. Rock 'n' roll is all about attitude and image. It's mostly blues-based, and it's akin to an ongoing rebellion against the safe, conservative, acceptable music that our parents and grandparents wanted us to appreciate.

    Since most of these artists refuse to die or simply fade away, here's a book about what they did then, what they're doing now, and what they might do later. And even though I have a lady's name, the old adage "it ain't over till the fat lady sings" will never ever apply to me, since I'll never be fat and I'll never quit singing. Long live rock 'n' roll — rock 'n' roll is NOT DEAD. You might want to take your own pulse. If it's too loud, maybe you're dead.

    Introduction by David Roberts

    Rock Chronicles is a new way of telling the story of this powerful and enduring genre. More than 250 of rock's finest, spanning seven decades, get an in-depth examination, presented in a unique and revealing display that starts and ends with archetypal purveyors of classic rock: AC/DC and ZZ Top. Along the way, you'll be introduced to the personnel who created subgenres, from glam to grunge and psychedelia to punk.

    A new kind of rock encyclopedia for the twenty-first century, the book features elements that give a visual overview of each act's long and winding career. A team of experts has compiled the essential biographies found at the core of each act's entry — together with the birth and, sadly, ever increasing death dates of the cast of many hundreds of rock stars.

    So far, so traditional. But this is where the similarity to other rock encyclopedias ends. Rock Chronicles boasts at-a-glance graphic timelines of the comings and goings of group members set against the albums they made and the labels that signed them. These cleverly designed infographics will help you to pinpoint the key moments in rock history: when line-ups changed, breakthrough albums were released, record deals were brokered and singers departed. Want to know who played drums on Pearl Jam's debut album? Find out how many copies OK Computer has sold worldwide? Remind yourself what The Kinks' bassist looked like or when Frank Zappa was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? You'll find all the answers to these and an unimaginable stack of other questions in the fact-packed pages of a very different kind of book.

    Delving into Rock Chronicles, you will undoubtedly, like me, learn all sorts of trivia. Not facts that you would necessarily look up, but good-to-know, intriguing stuff like the simple story behind how Canadian stars Nickelback got their name and the bizarre fact that French progressive rockers Magma have invented their own lyrical language.

    Away from these intriguing diversions, let's answer the big questions most of you will consider when using a rock encyclopedia. First, just how did we make the selection as to which acts are included? Not without a huge amount of thought, debate and argument is the unsurprising answer. The issue of what constitutes a rock act at all, as opposed to a pop outfit, is enough for starters, before determining who fits the bill.

    At the heart of most decision-making was the symbol which very firmly dominates the front cover of this book: the electric guitar. Synths made a half-hearted attempt to usurp the guitar in the seventies and eighties, but the definition of a classic rock band is built around the six-strings of Chuck Berry through to present day Kings of Leon.

    So, having established a very basic definition, who of the thousands of potential bands to choose and who to lose? Your list and mine will be different, I'm sure, but there's no exact science in deciding who makes the final cut. Highest record sales and best chart statistics just won't do. That way leads to the omission of so much music that is commercially lacking but creatively inspirational. So, fear not, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, the Buzzcocks and Pavement all have their place. That said, all the British, Irish and North American rock heavyweights you'd expect to see are included, plus significant acts from across Europe, China, Japan, South America and Australasia.

    To get the most out of the book, start by checking out the visual guide to Rock Chronicles (overpage). Here you can get acquainted with the timelines that run throughout the book and the symbols and graphic devices used to reveal the vast amount of information at your fingertips.

    Each timeline covers the period each act has been active, punctuated by core members (and, in the case of solo acts like Bowie, Elvis, and Neil Young, significant others), together with a full chronological rundown of studio albums. All compilations and soundtracks, and most live albums, have been excluded to keep discographies to manageable proportions, but exceptions have been made where the entries would be simply incomplete without them. Fear not, fans of the MC5, Dave Matthews, and Jane's Addiction: those live debut albums are in here. And in a few selected cases — notably Tangerine Dream and Frank Zappa — we have cherry-picked highlights of their huge back catalogs, including live albums (which fans of those acts regard as equally canonical).

    All types of album — studio, live, and compilation — qualify for the big four sellers at the top of each double-page spread. A great deal of research has gone into establishing the most accurate estimate for each release. Record sales are often prone to much exaggeration but our figures are based on a combination of expert advice and record industry certifications for platinum, gold and silver sales or shipments. These certifications are given per disc, not per album release — so in the case of George Harrison's terrific triple album, All Things Must Pass, the often reported sales total of more than ten million is, in fact, 3.5 million.

    The all-important rock stars highlighted in the biographies and on the timelines are pictured on each page for easy identification. For a selection of the more visually exciting and most enduring bands, there are picture features that show the visual changes undergone throughout the decades of fashion changing, hard rocking, touring and general debauchery associated with the "hope I die before I get old" brigade. These are color-coded to key albums, also pictured on those spreads.

    Every decade since the seventies has seen predictions of the death of rock. Although the twenty-first century has seen a slow-down in the production line and recorded products have a looser grip on us than they once did, rock is still a massive draw for the buoyant live performance sector. It's also pop music's most fascinating genre to read about — so immerse yourself in the astonishing wealth of fact that is Rock Chronicles.

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