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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 September 2009
I guarantee this book will appeal to all but the most jaded or informed music fan. It is a veritable treasure trove of material: most of it familiar, a lot of it less so (or occasionally never heard of). Listed in chronological order and arranged in decades, each album covered is given a neat and informative summary often leaving me with an urge to explore the artist further. The selections are eclectic and occasionally surprising but, in the main, the albums featured here are ones that are (rightly) already in the pantheon of what are considered to be 'classic albums'. Naturally the later inclusions are bound to be more contentious as only time will judge whether they are the modern day classics that the contributors claim them to be.

This book is satisfying on so many levels. As a general reference book of classic rock and pop, as a primer for more in-depth musical exploration, as a 'bluffer's guide' to rock: this book is all of these things and more. And, as the review title suggests, it is perfect for dipping in and out of as each inclusion can be read in a couple of minutes. And, yes, I really do keep it next to the toilet! (Is that too much information?)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2014
Fantastic book that took me back through my life in music! At last it is confirmed that despite everything my my mates told me, Dry by PJ Harvey was ground breaking!
Read from cover to cover on boxing day accompanied with plenty of red. Thought I'd too much when the 2000's appeared on two different places! 30 pages duplicated and 1997 is totally missing! How do I get a replacement?! Apart from this its a great read, spotify o'clock I think!
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2014
Arbitrary, uneven and unbalanced selection, and shallow comments that will teach you nothing. The Rolling Stone Magazine cohort and its disciples telling you what to listen to, and, by default, what music and artists to ignore. It would be nice if it was done with intellectual accuracy, but this is just a product, one destined to create opinion trends and to shape (or reaffirm) people's tastes without any artistic argument or any sense of historical significance. Buy it if you like the Rolling Stone magazine ways, trust the "best of" lists resulting from its nonsensical surveys, or think that the Grammy awards mean anything. Otherwise, read books by Ted Gioia, Charlie Gillett, Simon Frith, Peter Guralnick, Clinton Heylin and many other serious writers, read iconoclastic critics like Robert Christgau, use the All Music Guide site and Amazon's customers reviews as a loose reference when it comes to buy records, and listen, listen, listen ... Be curious, investigate, seek, and build your own musical background.

Editing on 16 November 2014:

I'm afraid of some people could think I'm just a hater, a troll ... or, who knows, a resentful musician ignored by the Rolling Stone Magazine. So, I just want to complement my review with some specific information.

I'm talking as someone who's been an engaged music listener since his early teens, back in the 1970's. I've got a pretty respectable collection of about 4000 records: roughly speaking I have 3200 albums between rock & pop, 400 blues' albums, and another 400 of jazz. Of course it doesn't make me the bearer of "the gospel truth" ( I'm very aware of the subjectivity factor ), but it does make me feel free to have one opinion or two about the relative value of many albums, and makes me also a bit less prone to be cheated by, let's say, "obscure marketing manoeuvres".

A book intended to be used as a listening guide will always be an imperfect one, no matter how well researched and written it be. A work like that should be considered just a very loose reference, a point of departure. However, the least we should demand to a work of that kind is a minimun of artistic rigour and historic perspective, for the book not to become a misleading one, instead of a rough guide.

Thus, I'll remark some facts regarding the book we're talking about.

1) These are a few examples of rock and pop (or vaguely related to those genres) artists who have been totally overlooked (0 album selected). All of them are first-rate artists, otherwise they're artists who at least have contributed some essential, landmark works, to the history of popular music:

Amon Düül II, Asian Dub Foundation, Bad Religion, Botch, J.J. Cale, Calexico, Terry Callier, Camel, Canned Heat, Caravan, Cluster, Bruce Cockburn, Converge, Crass, Karen Dalton, The Dead Boys, Ani Di Franco, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Dr Feelgood, Earth, Family, Robben Ford, Rory Gallagher, Gogol Bordello, Gong, Ben Harper, Roy Harper, Horslips, Humble Pie, Little Feat, Gordon Lightfoot, Guru Guru, Isis, Magma, Melvins, Mission of Burma, Morbid Angel, The Move, Neurosis, New Model Army, The Nice, Opeth, Oregon, Pink Fairies, Poco, Popol Vuh, Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), Primus, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Russian Circles, Joe Satriani, Klaus Schulze, The Seeds, Shellac, Sleep, Steeleye Span, Steppenwolf, Strawbs, Swans, The Jesus Lizard, Tool, Warren Zevon ... and, not forgivable distraction ... Chuck Berry (what a calamitous beginning really).

2) There are many great artists of whom an excessive number of albums have been selected: David Bowie (8), Elvis Costello (6), Sonic Youth (5), Iggy Pop (4, 2 of them with The Stooges), Metallica (4), The Byrds (5) , P. J. Harvey (4), Nick Drake (3) ... I love all of them, however it's apparent to me that for a list of only 1001 entries, there are too many albums by the aforementioned artists. The question is: in case you listen to only 1001 albums, do you need 6 by Costello, 5 by The Byrds and 5 by Sonic Youth, seriously ?

3) On the other hand, artists with a massive and varied discography are very poorly represented: Lou Reed (2: Transformer and Berlin), Van Morrsion (3), Frank Zappa (3), Jethro Tull (1) ...
Also should deserve a much better description: The Allman Brothers (1), Jeff Beck (1), King Crimson (2) ...
However, we see The Pixies (3), My Bloody Valentine (3), Wilco (3), Blur (3), U2 (4) ... all of them have made great, or at least interesting albums (well, ahem, Wilco really not) but, let's say, ¿ Do we need 3 albums by My Bloody Valentine, really ? Not enough with "Loveless" ? Yet while we are missing Jeff Beck's "Blow by Blow", Allman Brothers' "Brothers and Sisters", Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Second Helping", or Lou Reed's "New York" ?

4) Besides that, the authors select a laughable little quantity of blues and jazz records (i.e. Muddy Waters (2), J.L. Hooker (1), B.B. King (1), T. Monk (1), Mingus (1) and Miles Davis (4)). I don't get the point. What about the rest of not less important and equally well known blues and jazz artists ? There are no albums by Ornette Coleman, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, ...., Big Bill Broonzy, Albert Collins, Lightnin' Hopkins, Son House, Howlin'Wolf, Robert Johnson, Skip James, Elmore James, Albert King, Charley Patton, Otis Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Boy Williamson I & II, Johnny Winter ...

5) More or less the same could be said about the selection of, for example, African and Brazilian artists. The book sticks to the three or four well-known names. Not even all of them. Where are Angelique Kidjo or Gilberto Gil, just to name two of the ignored ones ?. Still more: why not, just saying, Argentinian, Spanish or Italian artists then ?

6) Regarding the points 4 and 5, I can't help but thinking that by mentioning a few blues, jazz, African and Brazilian trite artist's names, the book pretends a supposed open-mindedness which is really a reaffirmation of the opposite. I mean, the misleading statement we could illustrate this way:

Q: What's worth listening to outside British and American rock and pop ?
A: Well, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Miles Davis, Youssou N'Dour, Elis Regina, ... and mostly that's all. Is there anything else out there ?

It woud have been much better to stick to the British and American rock and pop, make a fair selection under a honest artistic and historic perspective, and leave the other genres (blues, jazz, the so called "world music", etc.) to the writers who have a vast knowledge on those fields.

7) And finally, of course, maybe 40 % of the albums selected for the book aren't worth one second of your life. You can imagine the proper adjectives and related words, depending on each case: corporate, commercial, MTV, Rolling Stone's Poll, Grammy, hipster, snobbish, poser, void product, ersatz, fake, garbage, ...

According to this book you MUST listen to Hanoi Rocks, Culture Club, Human League, 10 cc, Meat Loaf, Abba, ABC, Travis, Cindy Lauper, The Slits, Robbie Williams, Pet Shop Boys, Alanis Morissette, The Go-Go's, Eminem, Bon Jovi, Slipknot, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Kanye West, Adele, Coldplay, Kid Rock, The Cardigans, The Fun Lovin' Criminals .... but you can rest in peace without having listened to Chuck Berry.

Draw your own conclusions. I might be completely wrong.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The title is ridiculous, but this is fun read. It would have been even better if the editors had spread their net a little wider. Surely there could have been room for 50 classical albums. And they refused to consider compilation albums, which left such influential artists as Chuck Berry out of the book. The concentration on popular music is probably better served by "1001 Songs".

Still, it's a great list, and Easy Listening, Rock & Roll, Soul, Funk, Punk, Country & Western, R&B, etc. are all covered. I've already learned a few things and really want to hear some of these albums. And that's what this book should do.
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on 5 March 2013
I'm glad the authors included jazz, and I understand the sense of not including the vast number of classical/romantic/baroque recordings that have been released. But the focus on 'popular' music seems to become more limiting as the list progresses. Surely in the last twenty years musicians such as (for example) Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Terry Riley have released albums that are at least as interesting as the numerous Coldplay, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey albums included here? Even if you exclude anyone with a classical connection, such as the above, surely more interesting jazz albums have been released since 1969?

The later works of artists such as Tom Waits and Van Morrison are neglected - Van was producing great work long after Moondance. While it is always easy and fun to carp at absent favourites with such a list (Sparklehorse? M Ward?) for me the greatest disappointment was the fact that they included two early Scott Walker albums (2 and 4), but not his absolutely remarkable and unique later albums Tilt and The Drift - this is comparable to including "Please Please Me" and leaving out "Abbey Road" (which I'm glad to say they didn't do).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2013
Fabulous book which has given my endless love affair with Spotify a new focus. Thorough biogs of each band, not an endless list. Wish Id bought 1001 singles . . . .. .. . maybe later.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I got this book purely to find out what albums were in it

I think Its pretty darn good Lots of variety and styles Though I think they could have added a few metal bands from the 2000's like Opeth and Dream theater these two bands really have something special about them.

the books is really good and features allsorts of music in it to try, althoguh the 2000's section seems to trail off and only focus on radio type stuff which is fine cos its good stuff but the variety dies down at that point when there is plenty of awesome stuff in the 2000's. Obviously these books are subjective because music is subjective and are designed to get the reader thinking what they would put in a list like this.

my liste would include Opeth, drea mtheater, flower kings. BB king , Canned heat , Free, Scroobius pip and danle sac. barenaked ladies, and a few other but NOT inplace of anything they put in the book I would just increase the number hahaha

I think its very good though it won't appeal to any particular genre purists like Metal heads who only listen to metal for example they would say it sucks. This is for MUSIC lovers not a genre lover.

Plenty of stuff too find and try though so that is why I gave it a 5 stars because it is about as well written and thought out as it possibly could be really
with the 2000's taking a slight dip
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2013
Good read for any album collector about every type of music !! Very informative and highly interesting !! A must to anyone who likes listening to music !!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2011
This contains quick precise snippets of cult gems mixed in with many classics. The capsule reviews include curious tidbits of background and places each album well within its time. I found it fun to dip into at random, and also enjoyed reading up on some of my own personal choices.

An enjoyable book that will suggest many good albums to try.

Sherlock Holmes and the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys
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Suede's Dog Man Star album was Bernard Butler's swan song and had nothing to do with 17-year-old Richard Oakes who didn't appear until 1996's Coming Up album. He may well have able to reproduce Bernard's wizardry on stage but what has that got to do with reviewing the album?
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