From Adele to Ziggy, the Real A to Z of Rock and Roll
Author: Dylan Jones
Publisher: Open Road Media
There are dozens of music encyclopedias, and many are full of career minutiae and critical acuity They’re also obsessively objective and pathologically comprehensive. The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music is a book that springs from personal prejudice. Celebrated journalist Dylan Jones works his way through the work of over three hundred fifty of the most important artists in the world—alive and dead, big and small, at length and in brief. From A Tribe Called Quest to Frank Zappa, via Chet Baker, the Clash, Brian Eno, and Gorillaz, with a nod to Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Tame Impala, and Scott Walker. Along the way he discusses the White Man’s Overbite, Aquacrunk, Air Snare, the Brill Building, doo wop, Eel Pie Island, funeral music, and Neurotic Boy Outsiders. Many of the people here have been included because they’re intriguing, and many more because it would have been perverse not to include them. Others are here for different reasons. We know that Julian Lennon will never have as much cultural resonance as his father, but as the child of one of the most influential entertainers of the twentieth century, his story is no less fascinating. And Lloyd Cole might not have built a career as sturdy as Leonard Cohen’s, yet as a tale of unfilled promise, his CV is second to none. “As a critic, the music you like completely informs any objectivity you might attempt about a particular artist—if you’re seeking communion with something, how can you not have an opinion about it? When music moves you, it makes you dizzy, and you’ve got every right to dismiss music that leaves you cold and unmoved. Yes, you might trust the judgment of those whose opinion you respect, but in the end, personal prejudice has to win out.” The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music is the most opinionated book about music you will ever read.