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The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music: From Adele to Ziggy, the Real A to Z of Rock and Pop Paperback – October 30, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250031869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250031860
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #873,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Review

"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)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Denise on June 4, 2013
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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By S. chant on June 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
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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By Jackie Powers on February 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
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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By Larry Cornett on February 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author is witty, and the short stories about the musicians are great. It's a very up to date book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is entertaining & informative. I gave this to my son & he loves it. It has facts you may not see elsewhere.
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