Gala History Rewrite!
THE ROLLING STONE RECORD GUIDE
Edited by Dave Marsh with John Swenson
(Random House/Rolling Stone Press)
Disregard the sheer pomposity and egotism responsible for this bookâs publication. Consider it only as the editors intended it, a permanent reference work that, as Dave Marsh has it, is âdesigned at least as much for the general reader as for the rock cultist.â
Take a look at this $8.95 masterwork and, if possible, ignore the back cover blurbs. All of them. Even: âThe Guide is true to the spirit of Rolling Stone, the worldâs most authoritative rock magazine: witty, opinionated and, above all, knowledgeable.â
Take it all at face value. This is a catalog of contemporary records, most of them still in print, each of the almost 10,000 assigned one to five stars. Great idea, right? Best of all, almost five pages of five-star LPs are listed in the back. Just clip them out, take a few thousand bucks to any well-stocked record store and you too can walk away with an indispensable, comprehensive collection that would, by definition, rival Dave Marshâs.
Keep in mind the obvious altruism involved in this bookâs publication as you read our own altruistic listings of errors, errors we found during the first 30 minutes of skimming through this luxurious tome:
1) Mink DeVille is listed twice, once under âMâ and once under âD,â and given different ratings respectively.
2) Marsh calls Themâs classic âMystic Eyesâ a âharmonica-driven instrumentalâ; harmonica-driven it is, instrumental it isnât.
3) Wildlife is referred to as Mott The Hoopleâs âdisastrous second albumâ; what happened to Mad Shadows?
4) Marsh calls Lothar & the Hand Peopleâs Space Hymn their only album; it isnât.
5) The two Rabbitt albums on Capricorn are attributed to John âRabbitâ Bundrick; instead, theyâre the work of Trevor Rabinâs South African band Rabbitt, and have nothing to do with âsouthern funk.â Unless you consider apartheid rhythmic.
6) Fever Treeâs one hit is noted as ââWhere Do You Go,â popularly known as âSan Francisco Girlsââ; the hit was actually âReturn of the Native.â
7) Marsh lists Twin Sons of Different Mothers as a collaborative effort by Tim Weisberg and Kenny Loggins; Loggins, however, had nothing to do with it. Dan Fogelberg did.
8) A Utopia LP on Kent Records is described as âTodd Rundgrenâs idea of a jokeâ; Todd wasnât laughing, though, as this dopey band wasnât at all related to his own Utopia.
9) Marsh says âTell Her Noâ by the Zombies spawned the careers of Rod Argent and Russ Ballard; Ballard was never in the Zombies.
10) Robert Wyatt is said to have left Soft Machine after the bandâs third album; actually he left after their fourth.
11) Half of the Wilde Flowers, not Wildflower, later became Soft Machine; the other half continued and eventually became Caravan.
12) Marsh says Pacific Gas & Electricâs Get It On was preceded by the bandâs Columbia LPs; it wasnât, itâs their first album.
13) The two sides of Pink Floydâs Meddle are confused; furthermore its side-long âtitle trackâ is called âEchoes.â
14) Michael Brownâs post-Stories band the Beckies supposedly had a lead singer who âsings high when he means it and like Bryan Ferry when he doesnâtâ; actually the band had two different lead singers.
15) And Van Der Graaf Generator recorded four LPs for U.S. Mercury, not three.
1) All of this was obtained through a totally random sampling. And thereâs probably lots more good stuff like this throughout the book.
2) Weâre not even discussing the ratings these albums got. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, etc.
3) The closest thing to a British counterpart this bookâs got, Nick Logan &Bob Woffindenâs Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, is described as âa comprehensive volume … full of errors.â
4) Future editions of Guide are apparently being planned.
5) A large portion of the above mistakes are by Dave Marsh, the…main editor? co-editor?
6) Some great ideas should remain great ideas.
(CREEM, April 1980)