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The Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely New Reviews : Every Essential Album, Every Essential Artist Paperback – Nov 1992

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Product details

  • Paperback: 838 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (P); 3 edition (Nov. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679737294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679737292
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,549,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1/2... A Standard in the Genre - A Personal Fave 27 Aug. 2005
By Takipsilim - Published on
Format: Paperback
I first purchased "The Rolling Stone Album Guide" back in '94 together with the "All Music Guide" edition of that year. I was a music-crazed, scatterbrained, hormonally-inflamed teen back then going through the turbulence of adolescence. I wasn't a reader then, but going through the pages of this book, browsing the snippets of reviews here and there, I was impressed and enthralled with the smart and memorable lines the talented reviewers would use to describe and stamp their collective marks on the artists and their recordings. Before the age of bilious Political-Correctness and mediocre music, this edition of Rolling Stone's ongoing music guide was a representative of it's time: an era of taste and quality matched with integrity and vision.

Here one can find some of the most apt and most sound criticism ever penned or typed for the printed page. And a collection of artists chosen for their merit, not popularity. Thus one will find praise for artists as diverse as Elvis, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, etc.. Rolling Stone started as a rag to chronicle and feature the Rock scene, hence the preponderance of Rock musicians in the book, but artists who influenced the course of Rock music and were influenced by it are well represented too: Robert Johnson, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Muddy Waters, etc., are given their equal tribute. Other genres are economically touched on, and Rap, Folk, Country, and others are given just due. The writings are some of the very best, balancing seamless lines between worship, accuracy, humor, scathing word-bites, pathos, and knowledge.

As admirable as this edition gets, there are some slips and tangles that come along, just like almost anything else. Some of the reviews are hilarious, perhaps inappropriately so (read the one on Gino Vannelli and laugh). Others are ridiculous, revealing the critics' prejudices and limitations (2 stars for Black Sabbath's "Vol.4"?. And the same for Slayer's "Reign in Blood"?.). And as one critic who I read from the net pointedly stated, somewhere along these lines, "Did they really listen to all of those recordings? What's with all of those old bluesmen all getting 5 stars?".

After the passage of more than a decade, I still go back to this model of music criticism. I still appreciate the brevity and wit with which Messrs. Mark Coleman, J.D. Considine, Paul Evans, and David McGee shared their talents and efforts for future music fans to revel and cherish only the best in Popular Music.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
best one out there 31 July 2002
By buzzter - Published on
Format: Paperback
Excellent and good fun. The New York Dolls review sums up the tone of this guide nicely. Definitely not for the Top 40 crowd though. If you're one of them, stay away as you'll probably get somewhat insulted.
A drawback is that out of print albums were omitted, which makes the guide incomplete as soon as these albums are reissued. And of course the guide is outdated. Any guide is the moment is goes off to the presses.
That said, we want an update now.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Out Of Touch ! 27 Jun. 2001
By P. D. Laffey - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the 1992 edition of the rolling stone album guide . When it comes to reviewing the well known albums from the Fifties and Sixties , the so called reviewers seem to be on auto-pilot , churning out the same old rhetoric that we`ve heard a thousand times before , without adding anything new or interesting that could stimulate the discerning reader`s mind . Lazy journalism at it`s worst !

It is with the reviews of albums by key Eighties bands that this book becomes something of a joke , the reviewers are so out of touch they must have been living on Mars . Well established classic albums are consistantly given two or three stars , and the information given is embarrassingly sketchy and way off the mark ( Mark Coleman`s review of The Smiths , and J. D. Considine's review of The Pogues , is some of the worst music critique that I have ever read , they must have listened to these albums once , and that`s being kind ) .

Compared to the Rough Guide To Roc!k , The Trouser Press Guide , or All Music Guide , this Rolling Stone Guide is lazy waffle !
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An introduction to the most mainstream of rock criticism 13 July 2004
By mianfei - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book, I must confess, was a guide to listening (together with subsequent "Rolling Stone" reviews) for many years.

On the whole, it has many virtues: the arguments are very sensible, the writers appear to be very well-qualified, and the selection of music included is varied enough to satisfy most listeners - especially someone like me who was looking then for music from the 1980s to listen to. There is very little outright lying: indeed most of the album reviews are very clearly written and do indeed provide an accurate description of the music being written about - something I wish I was able to do far better.

However, this book's age gives it one fatal flaw: it does not understand the real impact of music over a long period. Many albums I bought on its recommendation have proved quite useless to me even if I understood the reasons (though my narrow perceptions at that time can in no way have helped me).

Moreover, some of the albums it recommends (or at least does not condemn) would be violently condemned by critics like Joe Harrington and David Keenan whose knowledge and intelligence certainly exceeds that of those critics in this book. It is to them that I now recommend one turn for really accurate music criticism - I recommend their list to people who do not know much about msuic all the time. However, with older music I was never into back in the 1990s the book is actually more helpful and accurate due to greater hindsight, though many albums of great value were not then reissued.

Thus, read with great caution: this is introductory, but good for that. there is better criticism - the problem is finding it and seeing for yourself.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Less Of A "Guide" and More Of A Collection Of Personal Biases 28 July 2007
By AvidOldiesCollector - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was happy to see that I am not alone in my dislike for this book. First of all, let's look at the sub-title: "The Definitive Guide To The Best Of Rock-Pop-Rap-Jazz-Blues-Country-Soul-Folk & Gospel." OK. From that you might expect simply a compendium of the available albums of the major artists in any of the genres mentioned.

But no. The writers have to proceed to dump all over those artists whose music appealed to the masses [example: "His name synonymous with soft porn shlock, Tom Jones remains a phenomenon of pandering and a marketing triumph."], while extolling The Velvet Underground - who most definitely did not attract mass attention despite their acknowledged influence on coming Rock artists.

And that would be fine IF the book title included a further blurb along the lines of "and offering the very personal biases of the editorial staff." If you are a music historian whose interests lay in ALL aspects of the music supposedly covered according to the sub-title, this is to be avoided. You would be far better served in that regard by any of the books from Joel Whitburn at Billboard.
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