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, The University of the Arts
Reviews for Classic Rock History
About This Book
Rock History-The Musician’s Perspective is a comprehensive three-part rock music history textbook designed for college (and related) level music courses. This eighteen chapter work begins with a look at the early roots of rock music. It then progresses through the genre of rockabilly to the rise of Elvis Presley, to the evolution of the blues and its impact on early rock ‘n’ roll. Next, early rock icons such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry are profiled. The evolution of the blues in rock progresses to the British supergroups such as The Rolling Stones, Cream, and Led Zeppelin. The Beatles and the Solo Beatles highlight a chapter and a chapter on the American answer to the British Invasion investigates many iconic bands and artists such as The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix. Part two is divided into seven chapters that explore the genres of folk-rock, art rock, country and southern rock. Then, heavy metal and hard rock are explored followed by classic rock bands and singer-led classic rock artists. This section ends with a chapter on progressive rock. Part three begins with punk rock and new wave followed by the pop-rock genre. A chapter follows on rock in the “big” 1980’s, the grudge movement of the 90’s, and alternative rock. A chapter on important styles that mixed with rock (such as rap-rock)continue and the book concludes with a special chapter on visionary artists and bands that have pointed to the future of rock music. What makes Rock History-The Musician’s Perspective unique is; the dozens of groundbreaking albums profiled, hundreds of important rock songs explored, and hundreds of quotes from the artists themselves. This comprehensive book documents what made rock music the most exciting and ever-evolving combination of subgenres in music history. Rock History-The Musician’s Perspective will provide you with the complete history of rock music.What does Rock History-The Musician’s Perspective offer that the other rock history textbooks don’t have? ✯ The principal author of this book, Dr. Rob Brosh, has taught rock history at The University of the Arts for the past twelve years. He, along with contributing writer, Mark Griffith, are successful musicians, educators, and writers that have brought the musician’s perspective to the study of the history of rock music. ✯ This book features the original concept of parallel streams study. This means that the examination of rock music is not impeded by keeping it perfectly chronological. Many rock music subgenres are revealed that developed simultaneously in a “parallel streams” evolution. ✯ What is the musician’s perspective? Rock music history is often presented with an over emphasis on chart success. While that is a good starting and reference point, it doesn’t reveal the entire history of rock music, since so much of this influential music never found overwhelming chart success. ✯ Rock History-The Musician’s Perspective not only examines important rock artists and bands, but it also examines 272 key songs throughout the history of rock ‘n’ roll and 71 of the legendary groundbreaking albums in rock history. ✯ This textbook doesn’t get weighted down in the “sex drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” stories of rock history. Nor does it get overly technical or theoretical making it only relatable to musicians. This book strikes a balance that provides informed reading for the college music student and the everyday fan of rock music. ✯ This book examines the real roots of rock ‘n’ roll and how it has evolved up until today. Rock History-The Musician’s Perspective traces the real beginning of rock music. It progresses through every subgenre and every new style of rock that has evolved. ✯ This book not only focuses on high profile rock stars, but also on the smaller names that played on and produced many rock albums. ✯ Rock History-The Musician’s Perspective clarifies the study of rock music by largely removing the evolution (not the influence) of rhythm and blues, and clearly defining the differences between the two musical styles. Rock History-The Musician’s Perspective Contains These Unique Features that Link the Reader Directly to the Music:
- ✯272 Songs from all rock genres and styles are briefly discussed and broken down that show how the music was created
- ✯71 Groundbreaking albums by the greatest artists and bands that revolutionized and changed the course of rock history are examined across all eras and rock styles
- ✯548 Quotes are stated by the rock stars themselves that reveal their personal thoughts and concepts behind their unique rock ’n’ roll approach
- ✯154 Rock Hard Facts expose the reader to many little known fun facts about their favorite rock artists and bands
- ✯56 Profiles of Rock Stars and Important Issues relevant to rock history are explored throughout every rock genre
- ✯35 Discussion Questions inspire the reader to think about the important issues and concepts that occurred throughout the history of rock music
Dr. Robert Brosh has been a music history and drumset faculty member at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for the past twenty years. There, Rob has taught Rock History, American Music History, World Music, and Jazz History courses. Rob has also taught at Rowan University in New Jersey and the New School in New York. As a performer, Rob has worked the showrooms in Atlantic City for numerous musical acts and he has led the Loose Cannon Band and the Raw Deal Band throughout the Philadelphia/New York areas. As a composer, Rob has published a number of jazz/New Orleans funk compositions and has written extensively for the medium of drumset duets with his innovative duo ensemble DrumSquared.