AMG Required Listening: Classic Rock
Christopher Woodstra
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Buy *All Music Guide Required Listening: Classic Rock* by Christopher Woodstra online

All Music Guide Required Listening: Classic Rock
Christopher Woodstra
Backbeat
Paperback
256 pages
October 2007
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Among online music sites, AMG is one of the more comprehensive - and generally accurate ones - out there. Here, they've taken online content and condensed it down (maybe a bit too much, frankly) into a single volume beginning with AC/DC and running through ZZ Top. The writers here are recognizable from their work on the online site; they are all informed and talented journalists.

The problem is, the book only deals with the best of these various artists. In many ways, it might have been more valuable to have written about the lesser-known works.

But as a quick-reference guide, it does well in filling in information about artist, songs, albums, and brief history.

With most of the entries, the writers have included best of compilations and that is a bit of a waste. Time and ink would have been better spent picking out another album, since the best-of compilations usually contain little more than what was originally available on the catalog records.

A cursory glance reveals some glaring omissions: there is no mention of Free's Free At Last or Spirit's Clear albums. With Jeff Beck, they have left out Guitar Shop, and in the Jimi Hendrix listing, they forgot about The Cry Of Love.

At the back of the book, they provide some family trees; these are a bit simplistic and not very well thought out. A Hard Rock tree begins with The Rolling Stones and The Kinks and branches out to include The Who, Jeff Beck Group, Faces (?), and Cream. The Who begat the Kinks, but for the definitive family trees check out Pete Frame's books.

Under the heading of "Guitar Heroes," they show The Birth Of the Guitar Hero. This box-out includes Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck, of course. But they've also listed Alin (sic) Lee (presumably they mean Alvin from Ten Years After) and haven't mentioned Ritchie Blackmore.

All in all, a worthwhile collection. Volume 2, however, needs to be more carefully edited and researched.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2008

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