There is an inherent problem in these types of books - "I" books, written in first-person voice and delivered as little more than opinion. The problem is, who cares what this guy has to say? Unless he's a well-known and respected rock man whose writing brings both delight and insight (Chuck Klosterman is one of the very few with this unique type of voice), the words come off the page as little more than petty rants and raves.
Thompson is a professional writer and has written a number of books (some of his past works have been
reviewed here) and tends to use outside sources and call them his own. That notwithstanding, these pages tend to lie flat and still. Some of the essay-like chapters ring true, but for the most part they are little more than refried scenes that other writers have already commented upon in more colorful fashion.
Here is a paragraph from Chapter One, Lenny Kravitz For President, or Piss Off, Sonny, and Take Your Vapid Whining With You. Why even choose Kravitz to name in the heading? He is not classic rock; he is a Mach II version at best (maybe III or IV) of what he thinks classic rock sounded like, and even then his interpretations aren't very good.
"Free were a teenage British blues band whose 'All Right Now' rode a riff that rewrote the rock guitar lexicon, but whose greatest achievements were bound up in the preternatural interplay between vocalist Paul Rodgers and guitarist Paul Kossoff."
Well, okay, and...? Much of the book simply retells what's been told. The final chapter is a Classic Rock Manifesto, and it is pretty insipid: "The riff is all and all are the riff," is a portion of the 11th Commandment. Weak and stupid.
If you want to read what someone else thinks about classic rock, you can read this. Or you can listen to the music and make up your own minds.