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The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music: From Adele to Ziggy, the Real A to Z of Rock and Pop [Kindle Edition]

Dylan Jones
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
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Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music
is an incredible and opinionated collection of celebrated cultural critic Dylan Jones's thoughts on more than 350 of the most important artists around the world--alive and dead, big and small, at length and in brief. This A to Z reference is the true musical heir to David Thomson's seminal The New Biographical Dictionary of Popular Film. Jones writes entertainingly about bands that have inspired, bedeviled, and fascinated him over the years.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Reference tome? Not so much. Great fun? Absolutely. This A–Z listing of more than 350 artists is basically one guy’s take on the last century of music—but since the guy in question is the award-winning editor of British GQ, we all win. Don’t expect to open this book and find a history of your favorite band. Indeed, don’t go in expecting to find your favorite band at all, let alone facts about its forming or discography. Jones’ opinion is the only one that matters here, and he’ll dedicate 16 pages to Frank Sinatra or 1 sentence to Genesis as he pleases. Ill-suited for research, but perfect for any music lover’s nightstand. --Genevieve Grove


A perfect gift for the discerning fanboy in your life. (People)

In his new Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music, Jones has a way to make you smile even when he's taking apart one of your favorite acts, to make you think whether he's celebrating a band or dismissing one. (Salon)

Agree with him or not, Jones' biting criticism makes for lively reading. (The San Francisco Chronicle)

Amazing, brilliant, and absolutely compelling...a knockout. (David Thomson, author of A Biographical Dictionary of Film)

"Reference tome? Not so much. Great fun? Absolutely....Perfect for any music lover's nightstand." (Booklist)

Dylan Jones' guide to popular music is entertaining, amusing and informative….this is your chance to learn everything there is to know about the music industry. (Vogue UK)

Whether you're into rock, indie or good old pop music, this biographical dictionary seems to cover every corner when it comes to modern music….A real musical journey! (The Star (London))

Amiably opinionated, funny and revealing, this is a knowingly subjective A-Z of the artists Jones fancies. (The Daily Telegraph (London))

Product Details

  • File Size: 1386 KB
  • Print Length: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (October 30, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008MWGA66
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #925,257 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like its namesake June 4, 2013
By Denise
Format:Kindle Edition
This book's title imitates that of the Biographical Dictionary of Film, by David Thomson, but it is nothing like that book. While Thomson's book is indeed a critical work, with much opinion and abstract, subjective material, it also contains a lot of factual reference material, including a complete filmography for each entry. This book contains nothing of the kind - it's all opinion and spacey, quirky music-critic-speak.

The entries differ wildly in their length and tone - some are only a sentence or two in length. Jones ridicules and dismisses artists, and whole genres (e.g. blues) that he doesn't like, and delivers long, glowing reviews of those he does, which seem to be mostly pop dance bands.
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3.0 out of 5 stars ok read, TERRIBLE TITLE June 20, 2014
this book must be the most mis-titled i've ever seen...

ok, so it's supposedly a biographical dictionary of music....

so one paragraph on michael jackson... nothing on bryan adams, lionel richie etc....

but 6 pages on terrence trent darby....

5 pages on living color

hadn't heard of darby or color in probably 15 years.... i like the songs of theirs that i know ("cult of personality" by living color especially), but again i hadn't thought of either in a very long time.

19 pages on dean martin.... it's probably my age but i didn't even know he was a singer. not sure he was a serious singer i.e. part of a comedy act.

14 pages on shirley maclaine... is she even a singer?

there are no words to describe the choice of material in this book.

the writing style is ok... i guess
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2.0 out of 5 stars - February 11, 2014
I was rifling through this at the library, and started off amused but then quickly became annoyed when the author claimed Muse to be better than Nirvana. This is opinionated blabbering, and from someone whose taste in music I don't share. Useless.
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