Rolling Stone has commissioned a new full-scale history by three rock experts. Ward covers the Fifties, Geoffrey Stokes the Sixties, Ken Tucker the Seventies and Eighties. Each provides a finely detailed chronicle of the major and minor figuresmusicians, company executives, disc jockeys, and promoters. No new historical interpretation is offered. As the authors tell it, rock sprang from country, gospel, and rhythm-and-blues; reached its creative peak in the Sixties; floundered during the Seventies; and has emerged reinvigorated with the appearance of artists like Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson. Scholars will regret the lack of footnotes and bibliography; general readers will miss the pictures and more informal tone of Rolling Stone 's earlier Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (Random, 1980. o.p.). However, this is an important basic work that belongs in most libraries. Thomas Jewell, Waltham P.L., Mass.
YA Old rock and roll is no fossil. Any previous hit song seems as likely to be heard in a new version these days as in the original on an oldies show. For teens interested in the roots and history of rock music or in the social climate of the last 30 years, Rock of Ages provides detailed information and anecdotes on the music that never did die. Arrangement is largely chronological, with the background and interests of each contributor determining the scope and depth of treatment. There are significant sections on the major figures and genres, with access through an index of performers. Those wishing encyclopedic entries on songs or artists would be better served by other titles, but those seeking more detail or broader coverage on topics such as Motown or Woodstock will find here a fascinating wealth of information. Mike Parsons, Houston Public Library