The following reviews are by educators, music critics, and rock history fans:
Reviews for Rock History-The Musicians Perspective
As most people know, the definition of the “music business” has been centered around popular music, most notably Rock & Roll, for virtually 70s years now. Throughout the world, there aren’t many people who can’t claim to know something about the most predominant trendsetters in the popular music world such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Green Day, et al. And although various internet-related or over-the-counter book store resources are available in order to dig in deeper into the background of Rock & Roll history, there are very little products which tie in a scholastic musician setting with the standard, everyday rock music enthusiast. Enter Dr. Rob Brosh and his new manual (‘encyclopedia,’ if you will), “Rock History: The Musician’s Perspective.”
Rob is an extremely accomplished drummer and professor of various music studies. After receiving his doctrine from NYU, he has been a part of countless projects in the Philadelphia/NYC area for many years and has been a full-time drum set & music history professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for the past 20 years. He has a deep routed background in musical research, hence the result of creating this multilayered, extremely informative “textbook” appropriate for any university’s music program. There is so much information in this book which applies to all musicians, and it is so dense & well organized that any student, or casual reader, interested in the many years of Rock development will clearly understand the path of its history and how it has brought us into the modern day.
The book begins with a lot of great, often left out information (commonly referred to as the “pre-Rock & Roll era”) which then sets up the commencement of the Rock & Roll itself. It is broken into very organized chapters, separating the different artists and styles which are responsible for the various eras of Rock through the years. Not only are there a myriad of artists mentioned throughout each genre & era, but very specific trendsetting songs are listed & dissected, informing the reader of all the important game changing musical moments. There isn’t a topic or a style that is missed in this book: everything from early Gospel, R&B or Western Swing setting up the Rock & Roll platform, to Folk Music, to Art Rock and Progressive styles, Classic Rock to Heavy Metal and many, many more. Each style is researched with care and the many artists responsible for these genres are covered in great detail. There are numerous quotes from the artists themselves and a good amount of background into their lives, history and perhaps even their mode of thinking when creating their masterpieces. In addition to the many chapters, Rob has included a fantastic ending section on “Rock Music Visionaries” (Frank Zappa, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel….) who have all been responsible for creating a “family tree” of influential artists, projects or a vast musical library through the years.
The best part about the book is that it is an easy, enjoyable read. From the average music lover, to the instrumental hobbyist, and all the way up to the university music student on the cusp of any degree, this book is an appropriate resource for everyone. I only hope that all readers fully appreciate the amount of work, research, care and wealth of information put into this pot of gold.
Professor Jason Gianni-The University of the Arts
Dr. Rob Brosh’s Rock History: The Musician’s Perspective is a thoroughly detailed examination of one of America’s most popular and celebrated genres of music. The book charts the development of rock from its earliest days of Blues and Gospel music, working its way through Elvis Presley, the British Invasion, folk, metal, and ending on the modern pop music of today. Rock History should be a great resource for students of music and fans of rock overall. As child of the 1960s and a professional musician myself, the book elaborated on many of my favorite artists and familiar movements from memory, but also introduced a lot of new details that were very welcome.
Many music history books are written from a critical perspective but lack the hard-earned expertise and knowledge of the craft that only a professional musician can offer. Dr. Brosh’s many years as a working drummer inform the meticulous voice of his writing, and create for a very comprehensive understanding of the genre. I will be recommending this one to my students!
Professor Joe Nero-University of the Arts
While rock music has been a driving force in Western culture for over 75 years, it has only recently begun to receive the credence and academic rigor it deserves as a singular art form. Its development took place organically, primarily arising through aural and folk traditions, and away from scholarly codification. To this end, many texts and accounts are flawed, often focusing merely on artists output rather than the diverse personalities and influences that comprise the craft itself. Unlike many classical styles that preceded it, rock music was created by the musicians who played it – and their stories are woven into its history.
Dr. Rob Brosh aims to both consolidate and expound upon these stories, bringing together many of the disparate – and often anecdotal – elements that brought this multi-faceted style to life. For performers and fans of rock music, this text delivers a trove of information that both confirms and enhances what’s been internalized by years of listening, studying, and playing. For students and those new to rock, the book provides a comprehensive look into how the style came to be. At a glance, there’s a chronological listing of prominent artists and recordings, as well as copious side notes, quotes, and interesting facts along the way. On closer inspection, Dr. Brosh groups rock’s evolution into three main eras; it is within these rock epochs that he explores the various sub-genres that developed. Stylistic offshoots progress in parallel timelines, introducing important figures and their creative backgrounds. The text further explores the relationships between these individuals, illustrating the critical importance of collaboration in the art’s genesis. The often unquantifiable chemistry between artists is fundamental to rock’s strength, and its documentation is key to the effectiveness of this book.
As contemporary popular music takes fewer overt cues from rock music’s traditions, Rock History: A Musician’s Perspective helps to introduce – and affirm – the art form’s critical importance in the modern era. It highlights the various, often drastically different interpretations of composition and performance practice, while reflecting on both their unique and shared historical touchstones. As more of the titanic figures in rock pass into history, works like this are necessary to ensure their vibrant legacies are respected and understood by future generations. Dr. Brosh’s book is a meaningful, well-researched compendium of information that will serve as an excellent reference material and teaching tool. Moreover, it helps to ensure rock’s prominence in the history of our music, culture, and society for years to come.
Charlie Heim- Music Faculty University of the Arts
Reviews for Classic Rock History