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The Sound Of The City: The Rise of Rock and Roll [Paperback]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Mar 1996
This comprehensive study of the rise of rock and roll from 1954 to 1971 has now been expanded with close to 100 illustrations as well as a new introduction, recommended listening section, and bibliography.

Product details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: DaCapo Press; 2Rev Ed edition (1 Mar 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306806835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306806834
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.6 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 503,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


"groundbreaking account of pop's rise and dissemination... superbly researched." -- Barney Hoskyns, 'Independent on Sunday'

Has never been bettered as the definitive history of rock. -- The Guardian

The most thorough history of rock 'n' roll...immensely readable...if you're into rock 'n' roll, this is the book for you. -- Jerry Hopkins Los Angeles Times

The one essential work about the history of rock 'n' roll...provocative enough to send the reader back to the turntable again and again. -- Jon Landau, Rolling Stone --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charlie Gillett's books include five volumes of Rock Files, Making Tracks, and Rock Almanac, and he has written for Rolling Stone and New Musical Express. He is a disc jockey in London, and runs Oval, an independent record label and publishing company. By playing their first demos on the air, he was instrumental in launching the careers of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Dire Straits, and others.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In tracing the history of rock and roll, it is useful to distinguish rock 'n' roll-the particular kind of music to which the term was first applied-both from rock and roll-the music that has been classified as such since rock 'n' roll petered out around 1958-and from rock, which describes post-1964 derivations of rock 'n' roll. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Check if the Kindle version is what you want 10 July 2012
By Anthony
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Before you make a decision to buy, check out the "Look inside" features first - the Kindle doesn't have photos and some lists etc etc. If you're not bothered, you can save yourself some money. If you want the lists etc, then buy a paper version.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book written by a major rock authority 22 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A bit prejudiced in places where rock purity is threatened, but Charlie was one of the greatest UK authorities on the genre and a real music fan. A faultless and well written book in all respects. Learned a lot and I sometimes think I know it all!
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2 of 24 people found the following review helpful
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same as above
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Rock 'n' Roll ever written 27 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on
As rock 'n' roll recedes into the past, what actually was rock 'n roll becomes less and less clear. The Sound of the City, first written some thirty years ago, remains the best book on the subject. Period. I know. I was there listening to it all as it unfolded.
Gillett weaves the various forms together -- vocal group, jump blues, southern pop gospel, urban big band blues, rockabilly -- and constructs a means to understand it as a musical movement.
An important strength is the emphasis on location and record label, something few younger critics understand today. We called it all rock 'n' roll then, although as Gillett relates, it all turned into blues for teenagers.
The Sound of the City remains the best overall description of the music of the 1946-1964 era.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST I HAVE READ ON THIS SUBJECT BY FAR 20 Sep 2006
By D. Blankenship - Published on
This work is comprehensive, well researched and just as importantly, well written. Not only is the music addressed, but the problems this music encountered in the early years, something that is now often forgotten, is throughly examined. The social impact of this music, one of the most important aspects in my way of feeling, is examined in great detail. Of less personal interest to me was the business end, but that is just me, but I feel that many would find this fascinating as well as the rest. This work goes along way in helping understand R&R, our society in general and our culture in particular. I found this to be a well organized, easy read and one that I do recommend for your library.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A music wonk's history of rock `n' roll 22 Aug 2008
By hyperbolium - Published on
Gillett's treatise on the roots and growth of rock and roll has been lauded by the New York Times, Melody Maker, Rolling Stone and many more. To be blunt: I do not understand their enthusiasm. I've tried reading this book a half-dozen times, and have never made it all the way through. Gillett is obviously well-versed in the subject and has invested considerable research into his work, but the output is a record collector-y music wonk's view of the history of rock `n' roll. Gillett's writing is dry and uninvolving, and even his most opinionated passages resound as inarguable pronouncements of an academic rather than debate-inspiring ideas of a passionate fan. His focus on records and record companies fails to animate the human subjects (artists, writers, producers, promoters) at the core of this story, draining a good deal of color from the music's history. The supplementary lists of "records that moved rock `n' roll another inch or two forward" is very useful, as are the scene- and genre-centric lists of recommended records. There is plenty of meat here, but it's surprisingly unseasoned. [2008 hyperbolium dot com]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The sound of the city - review 23 July 2010
By Ariane D. Holzbach - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very good book to show the amazing story of rock and roll. The book tells about jazz, blues, rythm and blues, gospel and other styles that formed the rock style. It is full of exemples of songs, singers, A&R, and producers who were essencial to the rock trajetory until the seventies. Furthermore, the book makes a brilliant analysis of the majors and the independents.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have book 24 Feb 2006
By George Verschoyle - Published on
This book by Charlie Gillet has to be the ultimate guide to anyone who has an interest in popular music from the 50's and 60's upwards.I promised myself this book when it first came out, but never got around to purchasing it, until last month.

All I can say is it was worth the wait!!

I remember the NME in the UK giving it rave reviews whe it was first published, these were not misplaced. Go on, treat yourself and buy it.
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