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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for CD's / groups up to 2001
It is very easy to be critical of any compendium claiming to cover the whole of rock . pop and soul and list of CD's but this book ( published 2002 , 3rd edition) is excellent solong as you are interested in groups/records up to 2000/2001 ( there is a 2008 version available for preorder from Amazon).

As an American book one might suspect an American bias -...
Published on 3 May 2008 by Doccox

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pros & Cons
This book has a fairly broad coverage of artists and some ok reviews. It is the sort of book you would pick up just to get a brief overview of an artist and their main work.

However, it does have a couple of draw-backs:

1. The symbols used to denote album ratings are a bit confusing. There are 3 different symbols; 1 that denotes an "essential...
Published on 21 Jun. 2011 by SteveL999


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for CD's / groups up to 2001, 3 May 2008
By 
Doccox "ian_cox9" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul (Amg All Media Guide) (Paperback)
It is very easy to be critical of any compendium claiming to cover the whole of rock . pop and soul and list of CD's but this book ( published 2002 , 3rd edition) is excellent solong as you are interested in groups/records up to 2000/2001 ( there is a 2008 version available for preorder from Amazon).

As an American book one might suspect an American bias - this is not overbearing and key European artists / bands seem to be faithfully protrayed. As with many such American books they try to be comprehensive even if certain groups / artists are dimissed in a short paragraph. The reviewers have included short histories of the groups and how they fit into the overall music scene.

There is an excellent " how to use" section which shows the layout of the book and the notation for selecting "essential" albums for the first time buyer wanting an initial album for any band or noting which " best of" / collections are worthwhile.

The CD's are given a star rating but I am not yet sure as to the CD labels and their European availability - I am checking against my collection of selected items. There are / were often differences in tracklists released in Europe and America - which the book acknowledges.

The layout is two column ( rather small print!!) with groups / artists arranged alphabetically. Many different reviewers have input comments on the CD's over some 1356 pages (plus index) .

At the end there are also essays tracing the origins of key musical styles - a fascinating summary.

Overall - An excellent book to browse for albums /CD's from artists /bands from the 1950's up to 2001. You might choose to pay ca 50% more (ca £6) for the latest edition which may be more or less comprehensive (due for publication and can be pre ordered from Amazon) but should include the latest bands / albums. It would be interesting to compare this with the Rough Guides equivalents
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Only Guide To Rock and Pop Music You Will Need, 28 Mar. 2009
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N. T. Procter (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul (Amg All Media Guide) (Paperback)
For any serious enthusiast of contemporary music, this marvellous book is all you need. I bought my copy in 2004 and have found it absolutely indispensible in building up my collection.

It's only worthwhile competition comes from Martin Strong's Great Rock Discography, but where it scores over Strong's book is in the critical assessment of the recordings, as the reviews are written by a wide range of some of the most experienced and knowledgable music journalists, according to their areas of specialisation, as opposed to Strong's highly subjective and inconsistent personal opinions.

For this reason, I have found it to be both an authoritative and reliable source of information, with very few omissions and I highly recommend it.

Since this last edition was published, Backbeat has been taken over by The Hal Leonard Corporation, who publish the guides in association with All Music Guides Inc.

Having recently written to Hal Leonard's CEO, I have had a reply from the Group Publisher, who has explained that the delay in producing up-to-date editions of this and the other Backbeat guides has been due to a number of management and ownership changes at AMG and that they hope to have new editions out soon.

UPDATE - 13.6.2011 - I have recently written to Hal Leonard again, but have received no reply this time - my suspicion is that the AMG guides will now only be available on line (as the publisher can make more money from advertising this way, but without the publishing costs).

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as their website provides an up-to-date source of information, but it is not as reliable as the books were regarding the quality of the reviews or ratings.

For example, virtually none of the Dagger Records official bootlegs or posthumous releases from the Mike Jeffrey Estate are included under the Jimi Hendrix entry and the two post-Jim albums of The Doors are rated higher than Strange Days, Waiting for the Sun and the Soft Parade (work that one out if you can !)

Although it would still be nice to have updated copies of the printed AMG guides, I wouldn't hold your breath ...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous, 15 Nov. 2007
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul (Amg All Media Guide) (Paperback)
This is the 3rd edition of the AMG guide and its a brilliant read. Subtitled "The Definitive Guide To Rock, Pop and Soul" it is five years old now, but as its nearly 1400 pages in length you won't get bored with it.

Artists are listed alphabetically and an enhanced 5 star rating system is used. Apart from the number of stars some albums additionally get either a filled circle a filled star or the outline of a star. Generally the very best recordings by an artist will get a filled star and any acknowledged masterpieces will get an outline star. So most of The Beatles albums are 5 star albums with an extra outline star. Sounds complicated on paper but its not - its just difficult to describe!

At the back of the book are a series of essays on different genres, such as electric blues, Rap etc. These feature family trees of the most important artists and are interesting reading their own right.

AMG also do separate books on Jazz, Soul and Blues all of which I recommend. You can waste hours with this book reading about what you are listening to, which makes the whole experience that much more pleasurable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopaedic tome on rock up to 2001, 13 April 2013
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul (Amg All Media Guide) (Paperback)
It is mainly about Rock, Blues and Soul groups, and all my favourites from my impressionable years are in there. I don't care if the book is now twelve years out of date, so am I, and my musical tastes tend to be remain (stagnate?) around the records and artists mentioned in it. The Pop is mostly covered in a small section at the end of the book, for example the the likes of Cliff and the Shadows are mentioned only there and then almost in passing.

This book is substantial and comprehensive. 1400 large pages (185mm by 235mm) tightly filled with small print in two columns give us an alphabetic listing of artists, groups and their discography. Most albums of most rock groups have a rating and a review, and these can often go into great detail on significant tracks, personnel, when and where, etc. There are also certain albums flagged as being "best starting point" or "essential for the collection" for the given artist. Most of the reviews are sufficient to help us decide on whether, or not, to buy the CD, and I have found it has saved me a lot of money, hard earned cash I might otherwise have wasted on collecting for completeness-sake when I really did not need to. Conversely I have spent rather more than planned, but regard this as an investment in pleasure.

However not all albums from all the rock groups are listed, and even then some are not reviewed or even rated. And I disagree with some of the reviewers about a few albums I have enjoyed over the years. But in general, I find myself agreeing with and respecting the opinions of most of the reviewers. I think it is impossible for an ordinary person to read through this book, there is just too much of it. But then how many of us want to sit down to read an Encyclopaedia from cover to cover?

If you need a reference book about Rock, Soul, Blues, then this is a very, very good starting point.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pros & Cons, 21 Jun. 2011
This review is from: All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul (Amg All Media Guide) (Paperback)
This book has a fairly broad coverage of artists and some ok reviews. It is the sort of book you would pick up just to get a brief overview of an artist and their main work.

However, it does have a couple of draw-backs:

1. The symbols used to denote album ratings are a bit confusing. There are 3 different symbols; 1 that denotes an "essential recording" and a "good first purchase", and 2 different symbols that refer only to a "good first purchase"? If you think that is over-complicated and confusing, it's because it is. Basically, all 3 symbols mean pretty much the same thing!

2. Whilst I appreciate it is hard to cover every 'significant' artist from each genre, this book includes artists as bizarre as the "math-rock" band, Slint or the "obscure" group, the Shaggs (to name just a couple) at the expense of people like Rory Gallagher (not included in the Rock section) and Albert Lee (not included in the Country or Rock section). Gallagher and Lee are two giants of their genres and to be omitted at the expense of such obscure acts is poor editing.

For these reasons the book can be no more than a 3/5.
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