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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was really looking forward to this book because I am a music anorak. I had hoped to find out some new nuggets about a lot of bands that I knew would be in here.

Well the good news is that there are an incredible number of bands covered in this tome. The overall view of rock is as wide as could reasonably be expected in a book that you can still pick up. From Eric Clapton to Frank Zappa, Chuck Berry to Green Day are all in here.

However, the depth of the articles are really the weak point of the book. So many of the artists are given the briefest of summary style statements that there is nothing new to be learned about any of them. King Crimson only get one page and the quickest, most scant overview. The same for the Grateful Dead and so on....

There is an interesting graphic display at the bottom of each of the articles that has great potential and yet only works on a few occasions. The band lineups are charted, showing key albums and presented in chronological order, so that it is possible to see at a glance who was in the band when they recorded......whatever, when they left, who replaced them and so on... The idea is a good one, but when you have a band like King Crimson, or Frank Zappas, who had a fairly large roster of key players it falls apart and takes up space that could have been better used getting across the type of music the band played. It is also a bit pointless when a band has had a steady lineup for decades, ZZ Top for instance, System of a Down for another.

This reminds me of another weakness that disappointed me. There is no real hint or sense of the sort of music a band played in its existance, or how it changed over the years. Jazz books get this done so well I feel like buying stacks of them, whereas here.....I don't. #

A pity really!

I have settled on 3 stars, basically because there is a lot of info in the book, but ultimately not enough about the music each band played, nor anything new about any band that even a casual fan would not already know.

Edit, I have added a half star because there are snippets of interesting information with regards to lineups of bands and record sales. Public Image apparently never shifted much above 250000 copies of any one album, Bad Company have had more folk in the lineup by a factor of 4 than I would ever have guessed. Despite being hard on the book above, I find myself dipping into it in the search for other nuggets.
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on 29 January 2014
"A visual history of the world's greatest 250 rock acts" is the book's tag line. Does it achieve this almost impossible (?) claim, well as you'd expect not according to everyone but it's a fine attempt and as a coffee table/toilet break read it's pretty impressive.
It's a massive book (576 pages) and has a very colourful layout but with all these types of books it's the inclusion or exclusion of certain acts that tends to annoy the reader. I don't really see the point of complaining about these 'anomalies' as it's ultimately the opinion of the writer/editor but some of the comments that it includes relatively unknown 'foreign' (whatever that means?) bands seems very blinkered as all of these bands are massive in their own countries (it is a 'world's greatest' after all) and for me it's the inclusion of these bands that makes the book more interesting than it might otherwise have been.
I've never heard of 'los hermanos' (Brazilian), 'heroes del silencio' (Spanish), 'x japan' (Japanese...obviously!!) and many more similar such groups but it's the information on these bands and the possibility that they may be future listening pleasures for me makes the purchase worthwhile.
From a practical point of view some bands have one page and some have a double spread, there are photos of all band members at the top of the page and a colourful graphic at the bottom detailing who played what and when.
It could of course always be more detailed but at what cost both size wise and for the RSP?
I luckily obtained it quite cheaply so for me it was a great purchase, perhaps if i'd paid the full price i may have been less enthusiastic?
Overall i think it achieves what it set out to do and for newcomers to music i think it would be a useful aide and worthy of 5 stars, for veterans maybe only 3 stars, mostly for the 'new' bands. I'd award 3.5 stars if i could or 7 out of 10.
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VINE VOICEon 6 February 2013
Without doubt, a perfect gift for a 12 year old budding guitarist besotted with his music. Men and boys love this sort of thing - lists, data, facts, pictures chronicling absolutely everything you need to know about bands past and present. All in one book - not spread out all over cyber space on the internet. Perfect.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Rock Chronicles is exactly that, a chronicle of Rock. It is not an encyclopaedia, nor is it exhaustive on the limited selection of groups and personnel it does cover. Each featured artist or group is given either one or two pages of text, and most of the the bigger names who had two text pages also gain a two page colour spread of relevant photos. The introduction explains how the book is arranged, and once read and understood everything that follows makes good sense.

The graphic across the bottom of the text pages that describes who and when is mostly effective, but again being simple cannot be exhaustive, especially in cases where there was a steady turnover of personnel. The colour coding by 'instrument' is effective and ties the names and mug-shots at the top of the page to their time-lines at the bottom.

The articles on the groups are contributed by a careful selection of well respected industry writers who clearly know their stuff and have a well-proven track record. Available space limits what can be said, and I was impressed by how much could be squeezed into it and yet remain readable. I've noticed a couple of very minor mistakes, but nothing to shout about. The index at the back seems to tally well with the entries, and I checked it through with a couple of names I know about. Not all mentions are referenced in the index, but all the major entries are, and in these cases the text of the name is in bold in the actual articles.

One might have slightly different preferences in the selection, and wonder why some names are there and others omitted. I was reasonably happy with the choice, and I realise that if some of the omitted names I would have liked to have seen had been included then perhaps many others would also be there and the book might be at least twice the size. As it is the spine feels a bit inadequate for the weight of pages, but at least it is stitched bound and not likely to lose pages, and the paper is superb with a thick glossy expensive feel.

I think I would probably have bought one anyway if Vine had not offered me this copy! I have just spent three long evenings enjoying reading about the groups I know and love, while skipping a few of those I was not interested in. To my chagrin I have realised I might now have to buy a couple of dozen of the classic albums mentioned in the book to "complete my collection", SWMBO was not amused when I mentioned this, (but see Addendum below).

Other books on the subject with a completely different approach but well worth a look include Pete Frame's series of Rock Family Trees.
Complete Rock Family Trees (1983)
More Rock Family Trees (1998)
Even More Rock Family Trees (2011)

Addendum 7th April 2013
For a more comprehensive reference, and to reduce the risk of buying CDs I don't really want, I've now invested in the All Music Guide to Rock (2002). It may be ten years out of date, but then so am I.
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VINE VOICEon 10 March 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a weighty tome of influential rock acts. Covering 250 of the world's most popular acts. Naturally there are some missing but on the whole the author has done a good job. It has a really nice layout, particularly the timeline of band members - which as you can imagine is quite complicated for some acts! There is a good use of colour and enough information on the key features such as sales of their most popular albums, brief history and key points. Most, if not all, of these bands could (and some do) have books that are just dedicated to their own complex history. As such there will be information missing. I see this book as more of an introductory encyclopedia rather than a full encompassing book covering the history of rock. It is really good for people like myself who are interested in rock and discovering new bands. I now have a list of new bands to check out and it has really encouraged me to look at different aspects of the rock genre.

The bands covered are not just English language based and I was impressed to see acts which may be extremely popular in their own country rather than globally also included such as the fantastic X Japan. Some of the photos are a little bit blurry but I think that is due to the age of the original photo rather than the quality of the book!

Overall, I am very impressed. It is impossible to fit every influential rock band within one book, however, this is an excellent introduction to rock and I have a lot of new bands to consider in my playlist!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There will always be a debate about which bands to include and not when you choose "the greatest 250 rock acts" as they have tried to do in this book and I did search in vain for some of my favourites (I mean how can you leave out Jack White - or any of the bands he has played in??? And what about Janis Joplin or the Doors? On the other hand I'm pleasantly surprised to see the inclusion of Arcade Fire) and might have scratched my head over a few of the entries, but they do seem to have gone with pretty much the usual favourites on every list made on the Internet or Rolling Stones or any other magazine over the years and on that note my main criticisms are:

- Why make a list if it is so similar to most other lists done on the topic if you're not going to provide any new information? The bands generally get 1-2 pages in the book in which there is not space for much else but introduce them and some of their main accomplishments - less information than we could dig up on Wikipedia or any quick Google search.
- Whereas the graphs at the bottom of the pages showing the number of years each individual musician has been in the band is a novel idea and, I suppose, interesting for some bands (e.g. The Black Crowes :)), I didn't really think it should take up almost 1/5 of the space on the pages (another 1/5 is taken up with (boring) head shots of the band members). I know it's a "visual history", but it seems a bad compromise both to have so little text and then not really have anything visually pleasing on the pages - other than for the few bands which apparently warrant 2 pages full of - great! - shots from concerts after their entry.

There are of course also some positives:
- There are some great pictures of some of the bands in there and the book is alphabetically and logically built up in the same style for every band.
- It's a good quality book and will look well on the book shelf - even if it will rarely be used.

I think for the price you pay for this book, you would be better off buying a few of the albums of the bands included in this list - if you don't already have them.
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on 25 November 2012
A big substantial tome perfect for music nerds. If you're like me you'll immediately start looking for errors (yes, sad) and you will find a few. But equally, there are some fleeting band members captured too, so plenty of homework has been done. Very much in reference-book style with scores of bands in alphabetical order this would make a great gift for metal-to-poprock fans.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Rock chronicles is basically an encyclopaedia. By saying that, I mean that it is broad in scope, covering 250 rock acts (groups and solo artists) from Blondie to Sepultra, from Elvis to Kings of Leon, but is also quite shallow. If you know much about any particular act, you probably won't learn anything new.

For every featured act there is a listing of all members, a basic discography listing major album releases, information about sales, and grammys, and a basic biography. "Lesser" acts (Prime Circle (no, me neither), Muse !!!!!) get a single page, mid ranking acts (Popul Veh?? the Smiths) get a double page spread, while major acts (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the Scorpions (hmm)) are given four pages, including two of photos.

The contributors are a mixture of UK and US journalists giving a mid-atlantic feels which manifests itself in the inclusion of some quintessentially British bands, but then in the use of phrases such as 'Britain's Lancashire'.

One of the chief joys of a book like this is in disagreeing with the inclusions and exclusions, and with where the authors choose to focus. So for example, Scorpions are given a four page spread, whereas UFO don't even merit an entry. The article about Deep Purple mentions Machine Head and Highway Star, but manages to omit any reference to a certain conflagration based track from the same album. Dark Side of the Moon was apparently 'propelled' by the hit Money.

So this is the epitome of a coffee table or guest bedroom book, nicely produced, quite fun to flick through, but rather lacking in depth.
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on 20 February 2015
Superb book & just the job for anyone who wanted to learn more about bands past or present.
To me though, one glaring omission. For some reason, the author has left out The Wildhearts in favour for a band like Blink 182 (?)...Ginger & co have been around for almost 26 years.
Other than that, a great job.
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VINE VOICEon 5 March 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Rock Chronicles looks good, with a great typeface, an interesting layout, the comprehensive content and even the pages smell great when you open it up for the first time. But unless you're a next-to-nil internet user, then you will have experienced this type of book already either as a series of articles online, or even in condensed form in one of the regular monthly music magazines that hit the shelves. I could end the review there, but that wouldn't really be fair. It has a place on bookshelves, as the writing is of good quality, but what that place is..it's a bit of a conundrum to fathom.

For sure, it's an interestingly paradoxical tome, in that the target audience is clearly those in their thirties and above. However, surely it's a fair assumption to make that those IN that demographic who would be interested in this style of encylopedic "all in one", would have, as already mentioned, done the usual internet related search, whilst on a laptop, or even on a train journey. The snazzy graphics to illustrate sales and timelines with band members, instruments played and even sales figures for the more well known releases only serve to occasionally confuse, which becomes evident when youve got bands such as The Fall, where members have been coming and going like a revolving door. Also, what is the criteria used to gain entry into the book? Album sales aren't the iron clad gate ticket, so to speak, so im assuming it's also influence and memorability. Im not sure if - and I'm a big fan - acts such as The Prodigy should really be in here, so all in all, there's some odd diffusion and lucidity in the selection process. The final thing to mention, is that on the odd act summary, there are some erroneous photos used. For example, Kraftwerk - it's also a hard stretch of the imagination to call them a rock group, surely? - have the pictures for florian schneider and ralf hutter switched around; if you're a fan, you'll spot little things like that and wonder why that wasn't checked before sending off for the print run.

In essence, as already mentioned, even with the ever shifting nature of the internet and the speed at which we can now dip in and out of it to brush up on our information, with regards to our hobbies and hence musical heroes, a book like this still does have a place. However, even at the lower price advertised here, id still suggest a look through before you buy, for all the aforementioned reasons. Maybe they'll try a more leaner approach in a future update, but as it stands, it's a mixed bag; just like musical taste itself.
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