LUKE CRAMPTON & DAFYDD REES Rock & Pop Year By Year (DK)
As might be expected from DK, Rock & Pop Year By Year is a monster hardback tome that carries an aggrandised air of self-satisfied importance the back cover blurb reads If its not in here, its not worth knowing about. Admittedly it does contain a great deal of fascinating information its particularly good on the 1950s and the dawn of rock n roll, unearthing long-forgotten scandals of pioneers such as Terry Dene and The Platters, and charting the growth of the seething affront to decency that was skiffle. Slightly unnervingly, the diary format means that the text is written in the present tense throughout.
Unfortunately for such a supposedly authoritative tome, its riddled with factual howlers. Heres a few: Fragile is Yes third album, Bowies Young Americans was released in 1974, Love Will Tear Us Apart featured on Joy Divisions album Closer, Yes (a recurring sticking point with the authors) Owner Of A Lonely Heart can be found on their Drama album, Mr Blobbys eponymous single was his second number one. Theyre hardly earth-shattering errors, admittedly, but enough to undermine confidence in the book as a whole. As the years pass the authors increasingly rely on lists of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and MTV Awards winners to fill page real estate, giving the book an oppressively corporate air. The authors both voting members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, possibly not coincidentally take an almost venomous delight in reporting the underwhelming opening of Seattles Experience Music Project, a museum that could perhaps be perceived as a competitor to Clevelands Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
A fine idea in theory, but too obviously skewed by its authors interests in practice, and riddled with inaccuracy, Rock & Pop Year By Year is ideal for those who weigh their coffee table accessories, rather than read them.