Book review

All Music Guide
Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra
and Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Backbeat Books

All Music GuideWow. Is this the pinnacle of music journalism? This impressive tome is the proverbial grimoire of all that has ever been important in the world.
    Allow me to get my gripe out of the way first. No Alice Cooper? Okay, have it your way, but I would figure - from wherever you stand - that he would be pretty damn important in the scheme of things.

That aside, there is little fault with the All Music Guide. Running the gauntlet with the idea that music journos know what they're talking about, most of the artists you've ever heard of make an appearance here, alongside reviews of their seminal albums. Go as far back as you like and you're very likely to find it. Coming up to date, a lot of the newer acts also appear, which is quite some feat when you look at the size of this thing. 1500 pages spanning rock and blues to gospel and reggae and all comers in-between.
    Serving not only as an encyclopedia, it's also a great starting point for checking out new acts. To give you a real world appraisal, I recently hunted down some Natalie Merchant material . . . and there she was in the AMG - solo and along with her band 10,000 Maniacs - both of which are worth your time if you're looking for something new to get into.

What else can you say about a book of lists? It's invaluable and you should have one on your shelf . . . but that Alice Cooper thing still gets me . . .

:: Sion Smith

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