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Rocket 88: Classic Singles [Kindle Edition]

Rob Dimery , Mick Middles
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

What you are about to read is the personal opinion of a team of music fans, journalists and editors on a wide variety of music tracks. Although, while that’s what they’re called in the post-iTunes world, back when they were first recorded and released, the songs discussed and celebrated in this book had been collectively known as ‘singles’, and came engraved on slabs of shellac (between 1949 and 1958 or so) and vinyl (from 1955 to 1995 or so). The singles of the latter half of the 20th century were two-sided, with the designated ‘A’ side being the version that record companies wanted radio stations and jukeboxes to play, and considered to be commercially stronger than the ‘B’ side (which often appeared only on a single’s ‘B’ side and wasn’t usually included on any subsequent LP release). Please bear with me if this is all a little ‘duhhh’ for those of you old enough to have grown up owning singles, and caring desperately whether your single was going to make the charts each week; there are now at least two generations of music fans for whom the idea of having to leave the house, travel to a specialist store, and ask someone if they could listen to a single before buying it—and receiving a physical object, wrapped in a specially designed sleeve when they hand over hard cash—is plain weird. You try telling kids today that you had to physically hunt out music and travel vast distances just to hear anything other than mainstream pop music, and they will probably laugh at you. They’d probably ask ‘Why should you care so much?’

Hopefully, this book will help explain some of why music fans of the rock ‘n‘ roll era and beyond care so much about music. The singles included are not listed in any kind of charts format, nor is it a list of singles you must hear before you die. Many of the singles included here were not the biggest-selling records of the year of their release. However, all of them are considered important milestones in the history of popular music, and all meant something to the writers who’ve chosen to highlight them. The singles included in this book add up to a short history of popular music as viewed from the hip side. There are major, mainstream hits in here, but equally there are the marginal but inspirational singles which never sold in any significant number outside of the home state of the record label who released it. There are no wilfully obscure singles to be found in this book, although there are some arguably perverse choices for ‘Single of the year’. Who’d agree that ‘My Boy Lollipop’ deserves the accolade for 1964 ahead of ‘A Hard Day’s Night?’

Prepare to be intrigued, amazed, possibly irritated — but always inspired to search out copies of each single in order to hear the magical sounds of each year between 1949 and 1999.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 247 KB
  • Print Length: 114 pages
  • Publisher: Rocket 88 (15 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006N04RUK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,613 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Singles 9 Nov. 2012
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This is a short whistle stop tour of the 'best' singles of each year from 1949 to 1999. Of course, quite often they are not really the best songs of that year, but perhaps a new style of music or released by a new and innovative record label. Either way, this is a really interesting little book to dip into and the section for each year discusses both the chosen single and other important releases for that year. Personally, I found the sections relating to the fifties, sixties and seventies the most enjoyable (can Blur or the Verve compete with the giants of the Sixties?), but overall this is a fun read with loads of information packed into it. If you enjoy this, you might also like 100 Lost Rock Albums From The 1970s. Both books will bring you lots of musical nostalgia and remind you to go and hunt out those songs you haven't heard in ages.
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Everyone has their own personal opinion as to their favourite single from a particular year but the impression I got prior to reading the book was that it would give an insight as to why the author chose the song he he did for the specific years. It seems to me as what he achieved was nothing more than picking his own personal favourites as opposed to the songs that made the biggest impact in any particular year.

For example, the best selling single of 1984 "Band Aids" Do they know it's Christmas was overlooked. This should have been the single of 1984 because of the impact it had on the sales market, the political scene, it's effect on the poverty in Africa, the fact that Live Aid grew out of it the following year. Also the Bryan Adams single in 1991 "Everything I Do" was cruelly overlooked, this stayed at No.1 for 16 consecutive weeks. No other single in the history of music has been at the top for so many weeks in a row but it wasn't the single of the year?

There are also many condescending remarks concerning singles that the author doesn't seem to approve of, in particular some of the prog rock tracks don't go down too well and he also has it in for the likes of Peters and Lee, Dawn and the like. Not to everyone's taste I know but then he goes on to praise rap and punk? Do me a favour. Unfortunately it's these kind of records that the author seems to think are the ones that deem appropriate to the term "classic". Sad really because this book could and should have been so much more. If only he'd have gone into detail as to what made a single the most prominent of the year instead of focussing on his own personal favourites this would have been a wholly more practical book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, if slightly-patronising read. 18 Sept. 2013
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This brought back a lot of memories for me, reminding me of songs I'd completely forgotten and also prompting me to dig out stuff from before I was born. It's nice and quick and for 0p I can't really see why you shouldn't pick it up if you like music.

The only downside is the slightly patronising tone at times. I guess the book is written for teenagers but even then I'd think it might be a bit heavy handed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Singles 19 Dec. 2013
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A brilliant little book that will bring back a lot of memories to pop enthusiasts. Some of the songs mentioned within might have been long forgotten, and in this respect they brought back some great memories for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for music lovers. 11 May 2013
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This is a very good read for music lovers like me. It was great to recall those singles that pass you by over the years. If you like music then you will like this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but not amazing 27 May 2013
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Some decent songs and well written remarks which were justified - didn't seem detailed enough in some places and too much information in others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short and rather sweet 14 May 2013
By Martin
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For vinyl junkies like myself this is a pleasant, trivia-laden stroll through four decades of classic pop. A nice read.
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