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Bibliography on Rock Music

Selected by piero scaruffi
Click here for my book "A History of Rock and Dance Music"

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Books on... Origins | Early Years | Sociology | Histories | Genres | Style | Black Music | Encyclopedias | Others

Origins and Early Years of American Popular Music

Escott, Colin: Good rockin' tonight:Sun Records and the birth of rock 'n' roll (St. Martin's Press, 1991)
Gregory, Hugh: Century Of Pop: Hundred Years Of Music (INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS+GROUP)
Gribin, Anthony J: Doo-wop:the forgotten third of rock 'n' roll (Krause Publications, 1992)
Hamm, Charles: Yesterdays: Popular Song in America (Norton, 1979)
Kingman Daniel: American Music (Schirmer, 1979)
Marsh Dave: Sun Records: an oral history (Avon Books, 1998)
Nager, Larry: Memphis beat:the story of America's musical crucible (St. Martin's Press, 1998)
Tawa, Nicholas: A Music for the Millions: Antebellum Democratic Attitudes and the Birth of American Popular Music (Pendragon Press, 1984)
Tawa, Nicholas: American Popular Song: 1866-1910 (Schirmer)
Time Life: Rock & roll generation:teen life in the 50s (Time-Life Books, 1998)
Van Der Merwe, Peter. Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music ( Oxford University Press, 1989)

Early Years of Rock and Roll

Ennis, Phillip H.: The Seventh Stream: The Emergence of Rock 'n' Roll in American Popular Music (University Press of New England, 1992)
Gillett, Charlie: The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll (E.P. Dutton, 1970) (Da Capo Press, 1996)
Robbins, Ira: Test your rock IQ:the '60s: 250 mindbenders from rock's glory decade (Little, Brown, 1993)

Sociology of popular music

Bayles, Martha: Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music (Maxwell MacMillan International, 1994)
Chambers, Iain: Urban Rhythms: Pop Music and Popular Culture (St. Martin's Press, 1985)
Cooper, Lee B.: Popular Music Perspectives: Ideas, Themes and Patterns in Contemporary Lyrics (Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1991)
Decurtis, Anthony: Present Tense Rock & Roll & Culture (DUKE UNIV PRESS)
Eberly, Phillip K.: Music in the Air: America's Changing tastes in Popular Music (Hastings House, 1982)
Friedlander, Paul: Rock and Roll - A Social History (Westview Press, 1996)
Frith, Simon: The Sociology of Rock ( Constable, 1978)
Frith, Simon: Sound Effects: Youth, Leisure and the Politics of Rock ( Pantheon Books, 1982)
Frith, Simon: Art into Pop. 1988.
Frith, Simon: Music for Pleasure: Essays in the Sociology of Pop. 1988.
Frith, Simon: On Record: Rock, Pop, and the Written Word. 1990.
Frith, Simon: Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music. Harvard Univ. Press, 1998.
Frith, Simon: Rock and Popular Music : Politics, Policies, Institutions (Culture : Policies and Politics). Routledge, 1993.
Grossman, Loyd. A Social History of Rock: From the Greasers to Glitter Rock. 1976.
Hebdige, Dick: Subculture: The Meaning of Style (Methuen & Co., 1979)
Heffner, Charlie: The Meaning of Music (Null, 2002)
Hibbard, Don J, and Kalejaloha, Carol, The Role of Rock (Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983)
Ladd, Jim: Radio Waves - Life and Revolution on the FM Dial (St. Martins Press, 1991)
Meisel, Perry. The Cowboy and the Dandy : Crossing over in Romanticism and Rock and Roll. Oxford Univ. Press, 1998.
Keith, Michael C: Voices in the purple haze:underground radio and the sixties (Praeger, 1997)
Pichaske, David R.: A Generation in Motion: Popular Music and Culture in the 1960s (Schirmer Books, 1979)
Pratt, Ray: Rhythm and Resistance: Explorations in the Political Uses of Popular Music ( Praeger, 1990)
Ramet,Sabrina Petra: Rocking the State - Rock Music and Politics in Eastern Europe and Russia (Westview Press, 1994)
Reynolds, Simon: Generation ecstasy:into the world of techno and rave culture (Little, Brown, 1998)
Ross, Andrew: Microphone Fiends Youth Music & Youth Culture (ROUTLEDGE)
Slick, Darby: Don't you want somebody to love:reflections on the San Francisco sound: a 25th anniversary "Summer of Love" presentati (SLG Books, 1991)
Szatmary, David P: Rockin' in Time: A Social History of Rock and Roll (Prentice-Hall, 1987)
Street, John: Rebel Rock: The Politics of Popular Music (Blackwell, 1986)

Black Music

Baker, Houston A.: Black Studies, Rap, and the Academy (University of Chicago Press, 1993)
Jones, Leroi: Blues People (William Morrow, 1967)
Keil, Charles: Urban Blues (University of Chicago Press, 1966)
Kempton, Arthur: Boogaloo (Pantheon, 2003)
Nelson, Havelock & Gonzales, Michael: Bring The Noise (Harmony, 1991)
Potter, Russelll A.: Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-Hop and the Politics of Modernism (State University of New York Press, 1995)
Santoro, Gene: Dancing In Your Head Jazz Blues Rock & B (OXFORD UNIV PRESS)
Shaw, Arnold: Black Popular Music in America (Schirmer Books, 1986)
Southern, Eileen: The Music of Black Americans (Norton, 1971)
Troop, David: The Rap Attack (South End Press, 1983)

General Histories

Scaruffi, Piero: A History of Rock Music 1951-2000 (2003)
Scaruffi, Piero: A History of Popular Music before Rock Music (2007)
Bego, Mark: The Rock & Roll Almanac - The Songs, the Stars, the Scandals, the Stories (Macmillan, 1996)
Clarke, Donald: The Rise and Fall of Popular Music - A Narrative History from the Renaissance to Rock n' Roll (St. Martin's Press, 1995) - from medieval Europe through the twentieth century
Du Noyer, Paul: Virgin Story Of Rock N Roll (Virgin)
Henke, James and Meer, Ron: The Rock Pack (Universe Publishing, 1998)
Lefcowitz, Eric: The Rhino history of rock 'n' roll. (Pocket Books, 1997)
Johnson, Vernon: The Tapestry Of Delights - British Music 1963-1976 (Bordeline, 1996) by Vernon Joynson
Miller, Jim: The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll (Random House, 1980)
Miller, Jim: Flowers In The Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll 1947-1977 (Simon & Schuster, 1998)
Nite, Norm: Rock On Almanac - The First Four Decades of Rock `n' Roll (HarperPerennial, 1992)
Palmer, Robert: Rock & Roll - an unruly history (Harmony Books, 1995)
Ward, Ed, ed: Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stones History of Rock & Roll (Rolling Stones Press, 1986)

Genre and Period Studies

Breithaupt, Don: Precious & Few Pop Music Of The Early 70 (ST MARTINS PRESS)
Lanza, J: Elevator music: a surreal history of muzak, easy-listening, and other moodsong (Quartet Books, 1994)
Cee, Gary: Classic Rock (MetroBooks, 1995)
Cope, Julian: Krautorocksampler (KAK, 1995)
DeRogatis, Jim: Kaleidoscope Eyes - Psychedelic Rock From the `60s to the `90s (Citadel Press, 1996)
Humphries, Clark: Loser: Seattle Rock Music History
Farrell, Antony: My generation:rock 'n' roll remembered: an imperfect history (Lilliput Press, 1996)
Henke, James: I want to take you higher:the psychedelic era, 1965-1969 (Chronicle Books)
Huxley, Martin: Psychedelia - The Long Strange Trip (Friedman / Fairfax Publishers, 1995)
Freeman, Steven & Alan: The Crack in the Cosmic Egg. Encyclopedia of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik & Other Progressive, Experimental & Electronic Musics from Germany (Audion, 1997)
Morritt, Bob: Rockin' in the Desert (2012)
Prenderast, Mark: The Ambient Century (Bloomsbury, 2000)
Lucky, Jerry: The Progressive Rock Files (Collector's Guide Publishing, 1998)
Progressive rock bibliography
Macan, Edward: Rocking the Classics - English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture (Oxford University Press, 1997)
Maclean/joynson: American Rock History Chicago (FIREBIRD DISTRIBUTING)
Maclean/joynson: American Rock History Midwest (FIREBIRD DISTRIBUTING)
Marcus, Greil: Ranters & crowd pleasers:punk in pop music, 1977-92 (Anchor Books, 1994) (Doubleday, 1993)
Mackay, Andy: Electronic Music (Control Data Publishing)
Mellers, Wilfrid: Angels of the Night: Popular Female Singers of Our Time (Blackwell, 1986)
Rettenmund, Matthew: Totally awesome 80s (St. Martin's Griffin, 1996)
Reynolds, Simon: Generation Ecstasy (1998)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum: I Want to Take You Higher - The Psychedelic Era 1965-1969 (Chronicle Books, 1997)
Smith, Bradley: The Billboard Guide To Progressive Music (Billboard, 1997)
Stump, Paul: The music's all that matters:a history of progressive rock (Quartet Books, 1997)
Thompson, Dave: Space Daze-the history and mystery of electronic ambient space rock (Cleopatra, 1994)


Cohn, Arthur: 20th Century Music in the Western Hemisphere (Lippincott, 1961)
Gentilucci, Armando: Guida all'Ascolto della Musica Contemporanea (Feltrinelli, 1990)
Griffiths, Paul: Modern Music - From Debussy to Boulez (Thames & HUdson, 1978)
Griffiths, Paul: Modern Music - The Avantgarde since 1945 (Harper & Row, 1981)
Griffiths, Paul: Encyclopedia of 20th Century Music (Thames & Hudson, 1986)
Holmes, Thomas: Electronic and Experimental Music (Scribner's Sons, 1985)
Kettlewell, Ben: Electronic Music Pioneers (2002)
Kyle Gann: AMERICAN MUSIC IN THE 20TH CENTURY (Schirmer, 1997)
Prenderast, Mark: The Ambient Century (Bloomsbury, 2000)
Scaruffi, Piero: A History of Rock Music (iUniverse, 2003)
Schaeffer, John: New Sounds (Harper & Row, 1987)

Studies Focusing on Stylistic Elements in Popular Music

Brown, Charles T: The Art of rock and Roll, 2nd ed (Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1987)
Cutler Chris: File Under Popular - Theoretical and Critical Writings on Music (Autonomedia, 1993)
Middleton, Richard: Pop Music and the Blues (Gollancz, 1972)

Encyclopedias and Record Guides

Christgau, Robert: Christgau's Record Guide: The 80S (RANDOM HOUSE TRADE, 1990 - Da Capo, 1994)
Christgau, Robert: Christgau's Record Guide (Ticknor & Fields, 1981)
Clayson, Alan: The best of rock:the essential CD guide (Collins (Francisco, 1993)
Clarke, Donald: Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Penguin, 1989)
Coleman, Mark: The Rolling Stone Album Guide (Random House, 1992)
Erlewine, Michael: All Music guide (MILLER FREEMAN, 1994)
Hardy, Phil and Laing, Dave: Encyclopedia of Rock (Schirmer Books, 1988)
Hardy, Phil & Laing Dave: Faber Companion to 20th Century Popular Music (Faber, 1990)
Heatley, Michael: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Rock (Harper Perennial,1993)
Larkin, Colin: The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Virgin, 1997)
Marsh, Dave: The Heart of Rock & Soul (Plume, 1989)
Pareles, Jon: The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (1983)
Ress, D. and Crampton, L.: Encyclopedia of Rock Stars (DK Publishing, 1996)
Robbins, Ira: Trouser Press Record Guide (Collier, 1985)
Robbins, Ira: Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock (Fireside, 1997)
ROmanowski, P. & George-Warren, H.: The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of rock & roll (Rolling Stone, 1998)
Roxon, Lillian: Rock Encyclopedia (Gosset & Dunlap, 1969) [not the reissue by Ed Naha!]
Whitburn, Joel: The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (Billboard, 1995)
Whitburn, Joel: The Billboard Book of Top 40 Albums (Billboard Books, 1995)
York , William: Who's Who in Rock Music (Scribners, 1982)


Benedict, Brad: Phonographics:contemporary album cover art & design (Collier Books, 1977)
Bishop, Stephen: Songs in the rough:from "Heartbreak Hotel" to "Higher love": rock's greatest songs in rough-draft form (St. Martin's Press, 1996)
Buchanan, Scott: Rock 'n' Roll - The Famous Lyrics (Harper Perennial, 1994)
Cimino, Al: Great Record Labels (Chartwell Books, 1992)
Cooper, B. Lee/ Hane: Rock music in American popular culture:rock 'n' roll resources (Haworth Press, 1995)
Cooper, Gregory: Collectible Compact Disc Price Guide (Collector Books, 1998)
Corvette, Nikki: Rock 'n' roll heaven (Boulevard Books, 1997)
Curtis, Anthony: Lyle Price Guide - Film and Rock n' Roll Collectibles (Perigee Books, 1996)
Dannen Fredreck: Hit Men (Vintage Books, 1991) - a history of rock's power brokers
Denselow, Robin: When The Musics Over The Story Of (FABER & FABER INC)
Des Barres, Pamela: Rock bottom:dark moments in music Babylon (St. Martin's Press, 1996)
Dolgins, Adam: Rock Names How Rock Bands Got Their Na (CAROL PUBLISHING GROUP)
Early, Gerald: One nation under a groove:Motown and American culture (Ecco Press, 1995)
Eddy, Chuck: The accidental evolution of rock'n'roll:a misguided tour through popular music (Da Capo Press, 1997)
Ellis, Robert: The Pictorial Album of Rock (Crescent Books, 1981)
Escott, Colin: All Roots Lead To Rock Legends Of Rock (MACMILLAN)
Farr, Jory: Moguls and Madmen - The Pursuit of Power in Popular Music (Simon And Schuster, 1994)
Fitzgerald, Patricia: Jabberrock!:the ultimate book of rock 'n' roll quotations (H. Holt, 1997)
Furmanovsky, Jill: The Moment - 25 Years of Rock Photography (Paper Tiger, 1995)
Gaar, Gillian: She's A Rebel - The History of Women in Roch & Roll (Seal Press, 1992)
Gilmore, Mikal: Night Beat (BANTAM)
Gill, Chris: Guitar Legends - The Definitive Guide to the World's Greatest Guitar Players (Harper Perennial, 1995)
Gold, Mick: Rock on the Road (Futura Publications, 1976) - photos
Goldman, Albert: Sound bites (Turtle Bay Books, 1992)
Gracyk, Theodore: Rhythm and Noise - An Aesthetics of Rock
Graham, Bill and Greenfield, Robert: Bill Graham Presents (Doubleday, 1992)
Grant, R.G.: The 1960s (Mallard Press, 1990) - photos
Grushkin, Paul: The Art of Rock (Artabras, 1987)
Guralnick, Peter: Feel like going home:portraits in blues & rock 'n' roll (Perennial Library, 1989)
Guralnick, Peter: Lost highway:journeys & arrivals of American musicians (Harper & Row, 1989)
Guterman, Jimmy: The worst rock-and-roll records of all time:a fan's guide to the stuff you love to hate (Carol Pub. Group, 1991)
Haden Guest, Anthony: Last Party Studio 54 Disco & The Culture (MORROW, WILLIAM)
Hasebe, Koh: Music Life Rock Photo Gallery - Giants in the Small World (Shinko Music, 1975)
Heatley, Michael: Behind The Song The Stories Of 100 Greats (STERLING PUBLISHING COMPANY)
Heylin, Clinton: Bootleg - The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry (St. Martin's Press, 1995)
Hirshey, Gerri: Nowhere to run:the story of soul music (Da Capo Press, 1994)
Holzman, Jac: Follow The Music (FIRSTMEDIA BOOKS)
Hoskyns, Barney: Waiting For The Sun Strange Days Weird S (ST MARTINS PRESS)
Hunter, Ben: The Midnight Special, 1972-1981:late night's original rock & roll show (VHI Books:Pocket Books:Melcher Media, 1997)
Jackson, John: American Bandstand (OXFORD UNIV PRESS)
Kay, Hilary: Rock and Roll Memorabilia (Simon and Schuster, 1992)
King, Eric: The Collectors Guide to Psychedelic Rock Concert Posters, Postcards and Handbills 1965-1973 (Svaha Press, 1996)
Landy, Elliott: Woodstock 1969 The First Festival (SQUAREBOOKS)
Lanza, Joseph: Elevator music:a surreal history of Muzak, easy-listening, and other moodsong (Picador USA, 1995)
Lemke, Gayle: The Art of the Fillmore - The Poster Series 1966-1971 (Acid Test Productions, 1997)
Lyall,Sutherland: Rock Sets - The Astonishing Art of Rock Concert Design (Thames and Hudson, 1992)
Malarkey, Sarah: Mtv Unplugged (SIMON & SCHUSTER)
Marsh, Dave: Louie Louie: the history and mythology of the world's most famous rock 'n' roll song ... (Hyperion, 1993)
Melloan, Maryanne: Rock and Roll Revealed - The Outrageous Lives of Rock's Biggest Stars (Smithmark, 1993)
Menn, Don: Secrets From the Masters - Conversations With Forty Great Guitar Players (GPI Books, 1992)
Odair, Barbara: Trouble girls:the Rolling Stone book of women in rock (Random House, 1997)
Osborne, Jerry: Records - The Official Price Guide (House of Collectibles, 1997)
Owen, Ted and Dickson, Denise: High Art - A History of the Psychedelic Poster (Sanctuary Publishing Ltd, 1999)
Pavletich, Aida: Rock-a bye, baby (Doubleday, 1980)
Raphael, Amy: Grrrls:viva rock divas (St. Martin's Griffin, 1996)
Raphael, Amy: Never mind the bollocks:women rewrite rock (Virago Press, 1995)
Record Collector Magazine: Rare Record Price Guide 97 / 98 (Diamond Publishing Group, 1997)
Reyes, David/ Waldma: Land of a thousand dances:Chicano rock 'n' roll from Southern California (University of New Mexico Press, 1998)
Rock, Mick: A Photographic Record 1969-1980 (Century 22 Limited, 1995)
Rogers, Bob: Rock N Roll Australia (UNSPECIFIED VENDOR)
Rolling Stone: The Rolling stone interviews:the 1980s (St. Martin's Press/Rolling Stone Press, 1989)
Rowley, Kay: Rock World - Concerts (Crestwood House, 1992)
Saleh, Dennis: Rock Art - The Golden Age of Record Album Covers (Comma Books, 1977)
Selvin, Joel: San Francisco, the musical history tour:a guide to over 200 of the Bay Area's most memorable music sites (Chronicle Books, 1996)
Shaw, Arnold: Dictionary of American Pop/Rock (Schirmer Books, 1982)
Shore, Michael: The History of American Bandstand (Ballantine Books, 1985)
Soocher, Stan: They fought the law:Rock music goes to court (Schirmer Books, 1999)
Spitz, Bob: Barefoot in Babylon:the creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969 (W.W. Norton, 1989)
Strong, M C: Great Rock Discography (Omnibus, 1996)(Random House Trade, 1998)
Sumrall , Harry: Pioneers of Rock and Roll (Billboard Books, 1994)
Tee, Ralph: The best of soul:the essential CD guide (Collins (Francisco, 1993)
Thiele, Bob: What a wonderful world:a lifetime of recordings (Oxford University Press, 1995)
Thorgerson, Storm: Classic Album Covers of the 60s (Gallery Books, 1989)
Thorgerson, Storm: 100 Best Album Covers - The Stories Behind the Sleeves (DK Publishing, 1999)
Umphred, Neal: Goldmine Price Guide to Collectible Record Albums (Krause Publications, 1996)
Umphred, Neal: Goldmine's Rock n Roll 45 RPM Record Price Guide (Krause Publications)
Unterberger, Richie: Unknown Legends of Rock n' Roll - Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Geniuses, Punk Pioneers, Lo-Fi Mavericks & More (Miller Freeman Books, 1998)
Warner, Simon: Rockspeak!:the language of rock and pop (Sterling, 1996)
Whitall, Susan: Women Of Motown For The Record 06 (AVON BOOKS)
White, Timothy: Music To My Ears (HOLT, HENRY & CO)
White, Timothy: Rock Lives (Henry Holt, 1990)
Williams, Fred: 1997 Rock Poster Price Guide (Dallas Design Group, 1997)
Wolman, Baron: Classic rock & other rollers (Squarebooks, 1992)
Worley, William S: Beale Street:crossroads of America's music (Addax Pub. Group, 1997)
Zeitz, Petra: Rock star interviews:conversations with leading performers and songwriters (McFarland, 1993)


Emilie Adams: UNDERSTANDING JAMAICAN PATOIS (Kingston Publishers, 1991)
Chris Salewicz & Adrian Boot: Reggae Explosion (Abrams, 2001)
Steve Barrow & Peter Dalton: REGGAE: THE ROUGH GUIDE (Penguin, 1997)
Leonard Barrett: THE RASTAFARIANS (South End Press, 1997)
Brian Jahn and Tom Weber: REGGAE ISLAND: JAMAICAN MUSIC IN THE DIGITAL AGE (Kingston Publishers, 1992)
Horace Campbell: RASTA AND RESISTANCE: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney (Africa World Press, 1987)
Mavis Campbell: THE MAROONS OF JAMAICA 1655-1796 (Africa World Press, 1990)
Barry Chevannes: RASTAFARI: ROOTS AND IDEOLOGY (Syracuse University Press, 1994)
Stephen Davis and Peter Simon: REGGAE INTERNATIONAL (R&B Publishing, 1982)
Tracy Nicholas and Bill Sparrow: RASTAFARI: A WAY OF LIFE (Frontline Distribution International, 1996)
Kevin O'Brien Chang & Wayne Chen: REGGAE ROUTES: The Story of Jamaican Music (Ian Randle Publishers, 1998)
Joseph Owens: DREAD: THE RASTAFARIANS OF JAMAICA (Sangster's Books, 1976)
Chris Potash: REGGAE, RASTA, REVOLUTION: Jamaican Music from Ska to Dub (1997)
Adrian Root and Michael Thomas: JAMAICA: BABYLON ON A THIN WIRE (Schocken Books, 1977)

Film Music

Bernstein, Charles: Film Music and Everything Else (Turnstyle Music, 2000)
Burlingame, Jon : Sound and Vision - 60 Years of Motion Picture Soundtracks (Watson-Guptill, 2000)
Darby, William & DuBois, Jack : American Film Music - Major Composers, Techniques, Trends 1915-1990 (McFarland, 1990)
Egorova, Tatiana: Soviet Film Music (Harwood, 1997)
Gorbman, Claudia: Unheard Melodies - Narrative Film Music (Indiana University Press, 1987)
Kalinak, Kathryn: Settling the Score - Music and the Classical Hollywood Film (University of Wisconsin Press, 1992)
Lack, Russell: Twenty Four Frames Under - A Buried History of Film Music (Quartet books, 1997)
London, Kurt: Film Music (Faber & Faber, 1936)
Prendergast, Roy: Film Music (New York University Press, 1977)