The Rolling Stone Album Guide

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The Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_infobox_0

The Rolling Stone Record GuideThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_caption_0
AuthorThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_0_0 Dave Marsh and John Swenson (Editors)The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_0_1
SubjectThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_1_0 The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_1_1
PublisherThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_2_0 Random House/Rolling Stone PressThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_2_1
Publication dateThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_3_0 1979The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_3_1
Media typeThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_4_0 Hardcover / paperbackThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_4_1
PagesThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_5_0 631The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_5_1
ISBNThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_6_0 0-394-41096-3The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_6_1
OCLCThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_7_0 The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_7_1
Dewey DecimalThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_8_0 789.9/136/4The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_8_1
LC ClassThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_0_9_0 ML156.4.P6 M37The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_0_9_1

The Rolling Stone Album Guide, previously known as The Rolling Stone Record Guide, is a book that contains professional music reviews written and edited by staff members from Rolling Stone magazine. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_0

Its first edition was published in 1979 and its last in 2004. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_1

The guide can be seen at Rate Your Music, while a list of albums given a five star rating by the guide can be seen at Rocklist.net. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_2

First edition (1979) The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_0

The Rolling Stone Record Guide was the first edition of what would later become The Rolling Stone Album Guide. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_3

It was edited by Dave Marsh (who wrote a large majority of the reviews) and John Swenson, and included contributions from 34 other music critics. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_4

It is divided into sections by musical genre and then lists artists alphabetically within their respective genres. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_5

Albums are also listed alphabetically by artist although some of the artists have their careers divided into chronological periods. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_6

Dave Marsh, in his Introduction, cites as precedents Leonard Maltin's book TV Movies and Robert Christgau's review column in the Village Voice. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_7

He gives Phonolog and Schwann's Records & Tape Guide as raw sources of information. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_8

The first edition included black and white photographs of many of the covers of albums which received five star reviews. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_9

These titles are listed together in the Five-Star Records section, which is coincidentally five pages in length. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_10

The edition also included reviews for many comedy artists including Lenny Bruce, Lord Buckley, Bill Cosby, The Firesign Theatre, Spike Jones, and Richard Pryor. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_11

Comedy artists were listed in the catch-all section "Rock, Soul, Country and Pop", which included the genres of folk (Carter Family, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly), bluegrass (Bill Monroe), funk (The Meters, Parliament-Funkadelic), and reggae (Toots & the Maytals, Peter Tosh), as well as comedy. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_12

Traditional pop performers were not included (e.g. Andrews Sisters, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Rudy Vallee, Lawrence Welk), with the notable exceptions of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_13

(Dave Marsh justified this decision in his Introduction.) The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_14

Included too were some difficult-to-classify artists (e.g. Osibisa, Yma Sumac, Urubamba) who might now be considered as world music. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_15

(Ethnic music was the normal term in 1979.) The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_16

Big band jazz was handled selectively, with certain band leaders omitted (e.g. Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Paul Whiteman), while others were included (e.g. Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman). The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_17

Many other styles of jazz did appear in the Jazz section. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_18

The book was notable for the time in the provocative, "in your face" style of many of its reviews. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_19

For example, writing about Neil Young's song, "Down by the River", John Swenson described it both as an "FM radio classic" (p. 425), and as a "wimp anthem" (p. 244). The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_20

His colleague, Dave Marsh, in reviewing the three albums of the jazz fusion group Chase, gave a one-word review: "Flee." The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_21

Marsh's review of a then-current rock band called Platypus stated simply: "Lays eggs." The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_22

Table of contents The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_1

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_unordered_list_0

  • IntroductionThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_0_0
  • Rock, Soul, Country and PopThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_0_1
  • BluesThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_0_2
  • JazzThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_0_3
  • GospelThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_0_4
  • Anthologies, Soundtracks and Original CastsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_0_5
  • Five-Star RecordsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_0_6
  • GlossaryThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_0_7
  • Selected BibliographyThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_0_8

Rating system The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_2

The guide employs a five star rating scale with the following descriptions of those ratings: The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_23

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_unordered_list_1

  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_9
    • Indispensable: a record that must be included in any comprehensive collectionThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_10
  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_11
    • Excellent: a record of substantial merit, though flawed in some essential way.The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_12
  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_13
    • Good: a record of average worth, but one that might possess considerable appeal for fans of a particular style.The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_14
  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_15
    • Mediocre: a record that is artistically insubstantial, though not truly wretched.The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_16
  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_17
    • Poor: a record where even technical competence is at question or it was remarkably ill-conceived.The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_18
  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_19
    • Worthless: a record that need never (or should never) have been created. Reserved for the most bathetic bathwater. (A square bullet (▪) marked this rating, as opposed to stars for the others.)The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_1_20

Reviewers The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_3

Second edition (1983) The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_4

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_infobox_1

The New Rolling Stone Record GuideThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_caption_1
AuthorThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_1_0_0 Dave Marsh and John Swenson (Editors)The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_1_0_1
SubjectThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_1_1_0 Music, popular music, discography, sound recording, reviewsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_1_1_1
PublisherThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_1_2_0 Random House/Rolling Stone PressThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_1_2_1
Publication dateThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_1_3_0 1983The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_1_3_1
Media typeThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_1_4_0 PaperbackThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_1_4_1
PagesThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_1_5_0 648The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_1_5_1
ISBNThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_1_6_0 0-394-72107-1The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_1_6_1

The New Rolling Stone Record Guide was an update of 1979's The Rolling Stone Record Guide. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_24

Like the first edition, it was edited by Marsh and Swenson. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_25

It included contributions from 52 music critics and featured chronological album listings under the name of each artist. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_26

In many cases, updates from the first edition consist of short, one-sentence verdicts upon an artist's later work. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_27

Instead of having separate sections such as Blues and Gospel, this edition compressed all of the genres it reviewed into one section except for Jazz titles which were removed for this edition and were later expanded and published in 1985 Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide (ed. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_28

Swenson). The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_29

Besides adding reviews for many emerging punk and New Wave bands, this edition also added or expanded a significant number of reviews of long-established reggae and ska artists (such as U-Roy, Prince Buster, Ijahman, et al. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_30

). The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_31

Since the goal of this guide was to review records that were in print at the time of publication, this edition featured a list of artists who were included in the first edition but were not included in the second edition because all of their material was out of print. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_32

This edition also dispensed with the album cover photos found in the first edition. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_33

Table of contents The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_5

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_unordered_list_2

  • Introduction to the Second EditionThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_2_21
  • Introduction to the First EditionThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_2_22
  • RatingsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_2_23
  • ReviewersThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_2_24
  • Record Label AbbreviationsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_2_25
  • Rock, Soul, Blues, Country, Gospel and PopThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_2_26
  • Anthologies, Soundtracks and Original CastThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_2_27
  • Index to Artists in the First Edition (omitted in this second edition)The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_2_28

Rating system The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_6

The second edition uses exactly the same rating system as the first edition, the only difference being that in addition to a rating, the second edition also employs the pilcrow mark (¶) to indicate a title that was out of print at the time the guide was published. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_34

Many albums had their rating revised from the first edition; some artists had their ratings lowered (notably The Doors, Yes and Neil Young) as the book now offered a revisionist slant to rock's history, whilst others, such as Little Feat and Richard Hell And The Voidoids, garnered higher ratings from a re-evaluation of their work. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_35

Reviewers The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_7

The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide (1985) The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_8

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_infobox_2

The Rolling Stone Jazz Record GuideThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_caption_2
AuthorThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_2_0_0 John Swenson (Editor)The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_2_0_1
SubjectThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_2_1_0 Music, jazz, discography, sound recording, reviewsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_2_1_1
PublisherThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_2_2_0 Random House/Rolling Stone PressThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_2_2_1
Publication dateThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_2_3_0 1985The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_2_3_1
Media typeThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_2_4_0 PaperbackThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_2_4_1
PagesThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_2_5_0 219The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_2_5_1
ISBNThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_2_6_0 0-394-72643-XThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_2_6_1

The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide was published in 1985 and incorporated the jazz listings omitted from The New Rolling Stone Record Guide with additional reviews edited by John Swenson. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_36

It included contributions from 16 music critics and featured alphabetical album listings under the name of each artist. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_37

Table of contents The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_9

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_unordered_list_3

  • ForewordThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_3_29
  • PrefaceThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_3_30
  • RatingsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_3_31
  • ContributorsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_3_32
  • Record Label AbbreviationsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_3_33
  • ReviewsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_3_34
  • BibliographyThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_3_35

Rating system The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_10

This jazz edition uses the same rating system as the first two editions. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_38

Contributors The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_11

Third edition (1992) The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_12

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_infobox_3

The Rolling Stone Album GuideThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_caption_3
AuthorThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_3_0_0 Anthony DeCurtis and James Henke, with Holly George-Warren(Editors)The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_3_0_1
SubjectThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_3_1_0 Music, popular music, discography, sound recording, reviewsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_3_1_1
PublisherThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_3_2_0 Random HouseThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_3_2_1
Publication dateThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_3_3_0 1992The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_3_3_1
Media typeThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_3_4_0 PaperbackThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_3_4_1
PagesThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_3_5_0 838The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_3_5_1
ISBNThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_3_6_0 0-679-73729-4The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_3_6_1

The Rolling Stone Album Guide was a complete rewrite of both 1979's The Rolling Stone Record Guide and 1983's The New Rolling Stone Record Guide. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_39

The title change reflects the fact that by the time this edition was published in 1992, records were almost completely replaced by CDs. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_40

This edition employs three new editors and reduces the number of reviewers from more than 50 as seen in previous editions to a mere four. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_41

This edition also included reviews of Jazz albums, which had been removed from the previous edition for the sake of publishing a separate Jazz guide. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_42

Unlike both previous editions, this edition did not include comedy artists. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_43

Table of contents The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_13

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_unordered_list_4

  • IntroductionThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_4_36
  • RatingsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_4_37
  • ContributorsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_4_38
  • The Rolling Stone Album GuideThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_4_39
  • AnthologiesThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_4_40
  • SoundtracksThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_4_41
  • AcknowledgmentsThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_4_42

Rating system The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_14

Similar to the first edition, it employed a five star rating scale (without the "zero stars" (▪) rating), but this edition had new definitions of what the number of stars meant, and employed the use of 1/2 stars in the reviews. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_44

The descriptions of the markings used in the third edition of the guide are: The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_45

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_unordered_list_5

  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_43
    • Classic: Albums in this category are essential listening for anyone interested in the artist under discussion or the style of music that artist's work represents.The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_44
  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_45
    • Excellent: Four star albums represent peak performances in an artist's career. Generally speaking, albums that are granted four or more stars constitute the best introductions to an artist's work for listeners who are curious.The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_46
  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_47
    • Average to Good: Albums in the three-star range will primarily be of interest to established fans of the artist being discussed. This mid-range, by its very nature, requires the most discretion on the part of the consumer.The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_48
  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_49
    • Fair to Poor: Albums in the two-star category either fall below an artist's established standard or are, in and of themselves, failures.The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_50
  • The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_51
    • Disastrous: Albums in the range of one star or less are wastes of vital resources. Only masochists or completists need apply.The Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_5_52

Reviewers The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_15

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_unordered_list_6

  • Mark ColemanThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_6_53
  • J.D. ConsidineThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_6_54
  • Paul EvansThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_6_55
  • David McGeeThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_item_6_56

Artists omitted from the third edition The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_16

Some of the artists included in the previous editions but omitted in this edition include: The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_46

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_unordered_list_7

The Rolling Stone Jazz & Blues Album Guide (1999) The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_17

The Rolling Stone Jazz & Blues Album Guide was first published by Random House in 1999, with John Swenson as the editor. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_47

Reviewing the book for All About Jazz, C. Michael Bailey regarded it as a consolidation of the 1985 jazz guide and the blues coverage from other Rolling Stone guides. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_48

He recommended it to novices, calling it "a worthy addition to any serious jazz/blues collector's library", even though it was not as comprehensive as The Penguin Guide to Jazz or All Music Guide to Jazz, in his opinion. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_49

Fourth edition (2004) The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_18

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_infobox_4

The New Rolling Stone Album GuideThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_table_caption_4
AuthorThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_4_0_0 Nathan Brackett with Christian Hoard (editors)The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_4_0_1
SubjectThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_4_1_0 More than 10,000 of the best rock, pop, hip-hop and soul records, reviewed and ratedThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_4_1_1
PublisherThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_4_2_0 FiresideThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_4_2_1
Publication dateThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_4_3_0 2004The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_4_3_1
Media typeThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_4_4_0 PaperbackThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_4_4_1
PagesThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_4_5_0 838The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_4_5_1
ISBNThe Rolling Stone Album Guide_header_cell_4_6_0 0-7432-0169-8The Rolling Stone Album Guide_cell_4_6_1

Approximately 70 writers contributed to this edition. The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_50

Text on the back cover of the fourth edition claims that the guide had been "completely updated and revised to include the past decade's artists and sounds", and offered "biographical overviews of key artists' careers, giving readers a look at the personalities behind the music". The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_51

Artists omitted from the fourth edition The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_19

Some of the artists included in the previous guides but omitted in this edition include: The Rolling Stone Album Guide_sentence_52

See also The Rolling Stone Album Guide_section_20

The Rolling Stone Album Guide_unordered_list_8


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The Rolling Stone Album Guide.