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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die (1,000... Before You Die Books) Paperback – August 4, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Celebrate the joy, the revelation, the mystery, the fun, the sheer shivers-up-the-spine pleasure of great music. Essential operas. Milestone rock albums. An education in the blues. The world of world. Classical from Bach to Bartók to Beethoven to Brahms. And dozens of unexpected gems, surprising discoveries, and long-lost masterpieces. The entries are arranged alphabetically, to break down genre bias and broaden every listener’s horizons―think Miles Davis to Claude Debussy to the melodic story-songs of The Decemberists. And the writing is passionate, informed, opinionated. Includes indexes for every mood and occasion.

About the Author

Award-winning music journalist Tom Moon is a regular contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered as well as Rolling Stone, Blender and other publications. During his twenty-year tenure as a music critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer, his writings appeared in hundreds of daily newspapers and magazines. A saxophonist, Moon began his career as a professional musician, working in assorted rock bands, cruise ship orchestras, and Maynard Ferguson's big band. He lives with his wife, daughter, two dogs and thousands of CDs in Haddonfield, New Jersey.
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Product Details

  • Series: 1,000... Before You Die Books
  • Paperback: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (August 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076113963X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761139638
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian R. Battles on October 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
What most readers/reviewers fail to recognize is that this book is not about the BEST 1000 recordings it is about recordings you should HEAR. Those who complain that some really great music is missing are missing the point. Buy this book for education and enjoyment not to see how close Moon comes to your top 1000 music recordings ratings of all time.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die" represents a challenge Martin Landau and the IMF would love: "How do you present a mere 1,000 musical recordings across all major genres, across an entire century, and sufficiently global as to be credible while not esoteric?"

Put shorter, "Who made YOU the judge? And why are you such a snob?"

There are no upsides to undertaking such a project for the arbiters of musical taste.

While I was duly impressed with Tom Moon's boldness, I was fully prepared to gut him for his shortcomings in selecting these "essential" recordings.

First, the boring stuff:

The book is sorted alphabetically by artist. This presents some difficulty for, say, opera composers, as a given performance of "Madame Butterfly" might be under the composer or the artist. Fortunately, indexes refer to both. Unfortunately, whomever compiled the index (probably that Microsoft Word fella) didn't check for relevance---when I look up Beethoven's 9th Symphony, it takes me to a parenthetical reference to it (main subject: the "Missa Solemnis"), the page where it's truly discussed is not in the index.

As a reference book, this poses some trouble. As a skimmer, it poses none.

Now, let's get to the content.

Many, many genres are represented here. Classical music and opera are given due prominence; country, metal, and Southern Rock are an afterthought; folk is way overrepresented; blues, rap, world, disco, and pop are about right. I'd say this compilation reflects the usual Baby Boomer view of the world of music leavened by a bit of "Empire Records" snobbery.

So how'd the artist and recording selection by genre fare?

Quite well, surprisingly.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Coming late to the review party on this book, I will not analyze structure and organization, for others have aptly covered those points. I am impressed that anyone could take on such a monumental project and do as apparently well as he has. kudos.

To make my biases clear from the outset, though, it's worth noting that my areas of special interest and musical knowledge are classic rock (some pop) and classical music (including opera).

This makes my perspective perhaps a little different from others, and from the author's, because he admits up front that his weaknesses are classical and opera. While I can't say I either totally agree with his choices (or recordings of the pieces he chooses), there's really nothing "wrong" with his selections in these areas that I've found -- they're mostly rather "safe" choices that a new listener can't go wrong with, though many of the standards I looked up were very old (granted, to a skilled listener, many OLD recordings are the BEST recordings), but with old tech, you don't get the clearest production of sound and detail that a new listener would obtain from a newer (DDD) recording.

But there are exceptions to that rule. I was quite surprised that he chose Zinman and the Zurich Tonhalle's recording of the 9 Beethoven Symphonies -- Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies. This is a VERY fine recording, but it's of a new edition ("Barenreiter") that still has some critics unconvinced. It's a great recording, and I own it, but there are so many other cycles of Beethoven's Symphonies that have been around for decades and have passed the test of time.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Are you tired of being assaulted by prefabricated, disposable music? Are you irritated by incessant media coverage of the lip-syncing teen flavor-of-the-month? Are you sick of music guides based on online popularity contests? If so, you need to own this book!

This is the rare book that completely lives up to its product description. It's interesting and well written. It will cause you to revisit stuff that has been submerged in your collection. It will help you to discover music that lies beyond your usual listening boundaries. Most importantly, Tom Moon is enthusiastic and well informed about an incredibly wide range of styles and genres.

The best aspect of this book, however, is that it reflects the taste and experience of one person. Let's face it: the Zagat's/American Idol/MySpace/Yelp method of mass voting ends up glorifying the lowest common denominator. Anything that is unique, quirky, or challenging gets buried and marginalized.

Moon, on the other hand, is able to establish a consistent tone and viewpoint that gives him the space to include both the expected (come on, you know Dark Side of the Moon, Kind of Blue, and Beethoven's Ninth are going to be included in a book like this) and the unexpected. For instance, Learning to Crawl instead of Pretenders? The Shape of Jazz to Come and not This Is Our Music?
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