Buy Cheap A History of Rock Music 1951 - 2000 PDF eBook

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Piero Scaruffi, "A History of Rock Music: 1951 - 2000"
iUniverse, Inc. | 566 pages | 2003-10-15 | ISBN: 0595295657 | PDF | 7.2 MB

This history of rock music is not a history of the charts (which I consider an aberration), but a history of the great ideas introduced by rock musicians over 50 years of relentless innovation, and the history of their greatest albums (regardless of how many copies were sold). It ends up being more focused on “alternative” rock than on “mainstream” rock, simply because alternative musicians tend to be more innovative and sincere than mainstream musicians.

In a sense, rediscovering “alternative” rock and giving it its dues is also a way to restore the reputation of rock music among the more sophisticated audiences.

Today, rock music is a genre that employs sampling techniques, electronic instruments, digital/computer technology, cacophony, and ethnic sources. The roots of today’s rock music lie in the technical innovations brought about in the first half of the 20th century. Therefore, my “alternative” history of rock music begins much earlier than most books on the origins of rock‘n’roll, and covers much more territory than guitar-driven rock‘n’roll.

Summary: No more heroes
Rating: 5

Piero Scaruffi is a writer on popular music who doesn't idolise pop stars. Indeed, this overview of popular music (essentially the entirety of the music portion of his website in book form) is as far removed from the gushing fanboy odes of rock journalism as is possible. He has noaffiliation to certain types of music, or rock stars he loved as a youth. Instead, his central criterion is that pop music's merits are invariably in inverse proportion to their commercial success.

Scaruffi's language is invariable blunt to the point of inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm on such holy cows as the Beatles and Elvis. Perhaps this is because English is not his first language, but it only adds to the impression that this is someone who has no time for reputations. His tone and appreciation is as cold and uncompromising as his intellect is sharp and insightful. Other rock journos should be scared -or maybe just ashamed.

Summary: most important history of popular music ever written
Rating: 5

This most intellectually influencing book I've read this year. Though some may be turned off by Scaruffi - the ultimate rock snob (who was first a classical music snob) - I was won over by his unparalleled knowledge and analysis. This is an extremely brief history of important "popular" music after 1950. Not music that is important to the record industry or nations and cultures, but music that is important to music: its language and form. For example, Scaruffi argues that The Beatles merely wrapped pop cliches in pseudo-psychidelia, whereas Captain Beefheart wrote a post-Cage study of tonality and provided rock's most important contribution to music in Trout Mask Replica. Don't be too intimidated, though; he loves The Doors. With Scaruffi's rock history, you'll learn the origins of all the major styles (including country, electronica, hip-hop, rap, metal, world music, folk music, etc.). Sometimes, the origins are buried in a rarely-heard recording 20 years ahead of its time. If there's a fault in Scaruffi's stunning work, it's that it's too brief (even at 550+ pages); he doesn't take much space to explain just what the different styles sound like (okay, Scaruffi, what is "post-post-rock" or "jazzcore"?). Nevertheless, Scaruffi's encyclopedic knowledge and unfaltering vision have made me a convert. The free online version is fully hyperlinked to exhaustive artist profiles. I exhort you to (at the very least) read the preface to understand Scaruffi's vision of artstic rock.

Summary: Highly recommended
Rating: 5

A long overdue history of the most important phenomenon of the 20th century. I have the house full of books on rock music: they are mostly collections of more or less fictionalized biographies. The few books that are truly "histories" are usually limited to a brief period (eg the excellent Sound of the City). As far as i know, this is the first history of the entire 50 years. Like it or not (and most people won't like what he writes about the stars of rock music), this is where rock legend ends and rock historiography begins.
My only criticism is about the title: the book covers blues, soul, hip-hop and lots of electronic/avantgarde music. Clearly much more than just "rock".

Summary: A Godsend
Rating: 5

Really the most amazing history of rock I've ever come across. I don't really agree that this is a "listing" of all the rock musicians from 1951-2000: once I took the time to actually read it in chronological order, Scaruffi's bold, seemingly unsupported assertions about Elvis, The Beatles and others made much more sense, and I had the feeling that I really understood how rock music has evolved over the years. It can be so hard to look for all this information in other sources, and this book really layed everything out clearly.
But a warning: this is no coffee-table book - the information is presented in a no-frills, sterile way that compares to a textbook. Threre are books out there that are much more fun to read, but if you're serious about really knowing rock music, all its sub-genres and other musical styles that influenced it, this book is gold. The only down sides are its ungainly index and the density of the information... but how else does one fit so much information into one book?




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