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The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches Paperback – May 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Updated edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527548
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #970,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An engrossing read."  —Library Journal



"Captivating, time-consuming, and fascinating page-turner, a physically capacious and emotionally weighty tome/tomb. It’s a triumphant feast of woe, mishaps, misery and artistic wonderments, and there are weeks of reading (and re-reading) here. A rich, often grim history is uncovered behind some of rock’s forgotten or overlooked losses, and the painstakingly researched nature of the book is bound to enthrall fanatical music and trivia fans."—PopMatters


"A definitive guide to how our fave rock stars kicked the bucket."  —The Observer



"Hard to put down."  —Under the Radar


"A huge, affectionate and strangely compelling chronicle . . . There’s no shortage of rip-roaring sagas, shot through with black humor, pathos, and peculiar insight."  —The New Statesman



"A strange, entertaining chronology . . . comprehensively detailed and interspersed with lighter facts and interesting charts."  —The Daily Express

"Simmonds . . . plays on our obsession with the bizarre and the tragic in equal measure. As humorous as it is enthralling."  —Rock Sound

"Fascinating. . . . A must-have for the shelves of every music obsessive."  — Lincoln Journal Star

About the Author

Jeremy Simmonds is the coauthor of Rough Guide to Rock and a freelance music writer. He wrote and produced seven series of the popular BBC television show, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, as well as the pop quiz show Mental!

Customer Reviews

Throughout this voluminous accumulation of obituaries, I learned a great deal.
DACHokie
Although it may be true that Tom never recovered from his friend's suicide, I feel like the truth was either stretched or made to be more "tragic."
Wendy N. Kruger
The book has some photos but mostly 1000s and 1000s of facts presented in a surprisingly tasteful and sympathetic fashion.
Michael OConnor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DEAD ROCK STARS is a 2008 updated version of NUMBER ONE IN HEAVEN published in 2006. If your interest is departed rock stars, this is the book for you. Maxing out at 604 pages, this little beauty will fill you in on just about every major and minor pop star who cashed their chips between 1965 and 2006.

Though another reviewer faulted this book for inaccuracies, I found it to be a treasure trove of info on not only the death but also the life and times of hundreds of singers/musicians/composers/DJs/etc.

Leafing through Simmonds' book you come across all the 'usual suspects' (Morrison, Joplin, Redding, Croce, Allman and Lennon), lesser lights and the "how do they rate" personalities (i.e. Divine?). The book has some photos but mostly 1000s and 1000s of facts presented in a surprisingly tasteful and sympathetic fashion.

All in all, a well-done book on an interesting - if macabre - subject. Recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fester Lipschiz on December 19, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite complaints about inaacuuracies from other reviewers, i would have to recommend this. Its a really fun book to just thumb through. If you want super detailed bios about all the subjects then this is not the place. But if you want to read some interesting stories and learn about some realy tragedies in teh music world....here it is.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Czekay on August 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting history of of the usually untimely deaths of well-known music stars and many obscure ones also. Very hard to put down!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DACHokie VINE VOICE on May 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The tongue-in-cheek book title may be the biggest drawback to this treasure trove of interesting information. While the deaths of the famous and infamous always seem to garner enough interest for media outlets to conduct almost daily eulogies on their behalf, it is the death of the "rock star" that often gains some of the greatest attention (think Elvis Presley). The "sex, drugs and rock n' roll" mantra always seems to lead to the early demise of some rock icons (think Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison), the deaths of others are often shrouded in mystery (Brian Jones) or mythology (Mama Cass). What makes the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DEAD ROCK STARS so impressive is that it is simply a great resource on the lives (not just the deaths) of both prominent and obscure "rock stars" (a term used liberally considering the book includes the likes of Kurt Cobain ... and Frankie Lymon).

The book is presented chronologically rather than alphabetically as each chapter represents a complete year (January-December, from 1965 through 2006) containing the "obituaries" of those who have passed during the given year. True to the book's title, each "obit" is preceded with an icon that represents the cause of death (drugs, illness, suicide, etc.) and is followed with a healthy dose of useful and interesting details that inform the reader of the decedent's significance ... including the good, the bad and the bizarre (GG Allin for example). Jeremy Simmonds' methodical approach to the subject matter includes a preface that explains the likelihood of certain "rock stars" not being included in the book, the rationale for those who were included and the deaths of some prominent figures prior to 1965.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jo norberg on September 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
My husband is a music buff and said this is one of th best books for lots of information. Great BD gift!!!
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By Katherine Walker on March 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I haven't had a chance to fully delve into this encyclopedia of death but it seems thorough and includes many people whose names you never knew but you heard them on your records. This is research for a tv series.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Yates on April 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
As is too often the case the Hendrix information in this book is rubbish and lacks in accurate detail. Because the CIA participated in covering-up Jimi's death the general information from the historical record on it has been corrupted by propagandistic disinformation. The drug use Jimi practiced allowed those who would defer to drug moralizing use it to blackwash the true details of Jimi's death. If you read Simmonds' overview he hits all the right marks in his build-up to Jimi's death by emphasizing all the right drug negatives right on cue. A true analysis of Jimi's life would show he was trying to pull-up off that at the very end and was making big plans for some life and career changes. The biggest part of that planned move was firing his MI-6 manager Michael Jeffery, who, in return, murdered Jimi as a response. Because Simmonds focuses far away from the true facts, and does so by focusing on Jimi's drug use, the reader is not given the necessary detail to show the true way Jimi died which had nothing to do with the drug smearing Simmonds offers in order to keep his theme going. Simmonds offers one-line mention that Jimi either died from suicide, medical incompetence, or murder. Any basic research will show the first two are out of the question. That same research will also show the murder theory to be backed by the facts, motives, and evidence. However Simmonds doesn't elaborate on that because he doesn't need the real truth in his use of Jimi for the purpose of his body count. This is just another example of how Jimi's murder has been treated ever since it happened and that isn't unintentional if you study the pernicious methods of those agencies that killed him. They were a group that would use somebody's drug use to cover their murder and did with Hendrix.
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