To understand the history of rock music, one of the best books to refer to is "The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll" edited by Anthony DeCurtis and James Henke. This book provides a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the genre's evolution from its origins in blues, country, and gospel music to its current status as a global cultural force.
Published in 1992, this book features contributions from over 50 writers and includes interviews, album reviews, and detailed profiles of influential musicians and bands. The text is accompanied by a wealth of photographs and illustrations, making it an engaging and visually appealing read.
"The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll" covers all the major periods and styles of rock music, from the early pioneers such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard, through the British Invasion of the 1960s, the psychedelic era, and the rise of heavy metal and punk in the 1970s. The book also explores the social and political contexts in which the music was created, such as the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War.
The book's contributors include some of the most respected music journalists of the time, such as Greil Marcus, Lester Bangs, and Robert Christgau, and the quality of the writing is consistently high. The book also includes essays on specific genres, such as reggae and hip-hop, as well as features on key moments in rock history, such as Woodstock and Live Aid.
In addition to its historical coverage, "The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll" also provides insightful analysis of the musical and cultural significance of the genre. It explores the ways in which rock has reflected and influenced wider social and cultural trends, and offers a nuanced perspective on the debates and controversies surrounding the genre.
Overall, "The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll" is an excellent resource for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of this influential musical genre. Its comprehensive coverage, engaging writing, and authoritative analysis make it a must-read for music fans and scholars alike.
Source: DeCurtis, Anthony and James Henke (eds.). The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. New York: Random House, 1992.