Story of Rock 'N' Roll

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The disc jockey and author (The Rock Music Source Book and Radio in the Television Age surveys the 30-odd-years history of rock music, touching on every influential act in the field (with the perhaps puzzling exception of the Talking Heads), though he relegates the pre-'50s roots of rock to a few passing remarks. This otherwise undistinguished review is set apart by Fornatale's involvement in the field, treating the reader to anecdotes, concert memories and quotes from his interviews with the stars. There is a welcome emphasis on the significance of Motown and soul music, and some thoughtful discussion of the role played by FM radio and other media in the dissemination of the sound. Although Fornatale tends to be too uncritical, his writing style is lively and quite readable. (Photos not seen by PW.) Ages 10-up. (April)
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up On the surface, this has the makings of a very useful book. It's about a ``hot'' subject which permeates the lives of children and teens; it's geared to an age group which so far has not had an authoritative history of rock; and it's written by a knowledgeable veteran New York disc jockey who was part of the action when it all began in the '60s. Unfortunately, however, the book doesn't hold together. Fornatale makes a laudable and sometimes successful effort to categorize and chronologize the evolution of rock music; especially valuable is his account of the last decade. But the substance of his book consists largely of short biographical vignettes of rock musicians, decorated with his capsule opinions and personal experiences (and quotes from other sources). He tries to include too many artists in his overview, and except for his two- or three-page treatments of The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan, he winds up with little more than mentioning names of rock singers, songs, and albums. In addition, his writing style veers from conversational (``I'm willing to bet'') to analytic (citing the Rolling Stone tragic Altamont Concert at which the Hell's Angels murdered a concertgoer as an example of ``the dark side of the power inherent in rock and roll''). Not surprisingly, one of the strong points of the book is Fornatale's discussion of the role of media in rock history, especially FM radio and MTV. He also has included an interesting short chapter on rock music and the movies. Nonetheless, the book's lack of transitions and its failure to discuss rock's development as a function of societal changes seriously weaken the book's overall value, especially to high-school students. Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688062774
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1987
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 10 years

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