Showing posts with label Rodale Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rodale Books. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rock Of Ages

Last time, in the context of writing about Continuum Books’ 33 1/3 series of books on important rock albums of the past four decades, I briefly discussed Dave Marsh’s excellent recent book, THE BEATLES’ SECOND ALBUM, published by Rodale Books. What I neglected to mention is that Dave Marsh’s book is part of Rodale Books’ new “Rock of Ages” series, which to date has issued four books as part of that series. I was so impressed by Marsh’s book (reviewed here) that I was compelled to track down the other books available in the series, and I confess I am extremely impressed with the factual information contained in them, the quality of the analysis, and the sheer enthusiasm with which each author has approached his chosen album. Currently I’m reading Pete Fornatale’s book on Simon & Garfunkel’s BOOKENDS (1968). While I have no evidence to prove it, I suspect the Rock of Ages series emerged in response to Continuum Books’ series, which began about five years ago. Similar to the books in the 33 1/3 series, they are books of monograph size, of uniform dimensions (in this case, roughly 4 7/8” x 7 1/4”), each dedicated to a classic album of the rock era. But in contrast to the books in the 33 1/3 series, however, the books in the Rock of Ages series are issued in sturdy hardcover rather than paper; the price is slightly higher as a result. Since last I wrote, I ordered the three books of the series I did not have, and so far I have received two of them in the mail.

Apparently there was a fifth book in the series to have been published, but the best evidence indicates that it has been canceled—the book by Billy Altman on The Rolling Stones’ BEGGARS BANQUET (1968). The cover art of the book is still posted on, but an ISBN search indicates only that the book has been canceled by the publisher. I do not know whether this means Rodale Books has abandoned the Rock of Ages series, or if there are forthcoming volumes yet unannounced. If the series has been abandoned, too bad, because I very much like the books in the series: so far, the books have focused on albums issued during what I would call the classic rock era, which most interests me, frankly, and happily the quality is excellent. I encourage readers to pick up a volume in the series, assuming of course there is an album that you find compelling. Only one of the books in the Rock of Ages series duplicates an album discussed in Continuum’s 33 1/3 series—Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album, otherwise known as LED ZEPPELIN IV (1971). Rodale has issued four books during the past two years, while Continuum is publishing the 33 1/3 books at the rate of about one a month (ten or eleven a year). For those interested, here are the books published so far in the Rock of Ages series; again, I have found them quite good. Dates of issue are those dates currently indicated on

Barney Hoskyns – Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin (11/28/06)
Jan Reid - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos (11/28/06)
Pete Fornatale – Simon & Garfunkel’s Bookends (10/30/07)
Dave Marsh – The Beatles’ Second Album (10/30/07)
Billy Altman – Beggars Banquet by The Rolling Stones (originally scheduled 3/6/07)

If anyone has additional information about the series, please contact me.