Encyclopedia of Classic Rock

by David Luhrssen with Michael Larson


Without The Beatles, Bob Dylan, or David Bowie, our world would be a different place.

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Cover image for Encyclopedia of Classic Rock

February 2017


Pages 430
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Popular Culture/Music and Performing Arts
  Popular Culture/General

Examining one of the most popular and enduring genres of American music, this encyclopedia of classic rock from 1965 to 1975 provides an indispensable resource for cultural historians and music fans.

More than movies, literature, television, or theater, rock music set the stage for the cultural shifts that occurred from 1965 to 1975. Led by The Beatles and Bob Dylan, rock became a self-conscious art form during these years, daring to go places unimaginable to earlier rock and roll musicians. The music and outspokenness of classic rock artists inspired and moved the era's social, cultural, and political developments with a power once possessed by authors and playwrights—and influenced many artists in younger generations of rock musicians. This single-volume work tracks the careers of well-known as well as many lesser-known but influential rock artists from the period, providing readers with a handy reference to the music from a critical, groundbreaking period in popular culture and its enduring importance.

The book covers rock artists who emerged or came to prominence in the period ranging 1965–1975 and follows their careers through the present. It also specifically defines the term "classic rock" and identifies the criteria that a song must meet in order to be considered as within the genre. While the coverage naturally includes the cultural importance and legacy of most well-known American and British bands of the era, it also addresses the influence of artists from Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Readers will grasp how the music of the classic rock era was notably more sophisticated than what preceded it—an artistic peak from which most of contemporary rock has descended.


  • Provides readers with summaries of the careers of all significant rock artists during a peak period in the music's history
  • Proposes a theory for understanding the development and history of rock music
  • Presents the necessary historical and socioeconomic context to help readers more fully understand how rock music developed as it did during its formative decade
  • Offers information in an easily searchable A–Z format accompanied by sidebars, a bibliography, and a timeline that serves students' research projects
Author Info

David Luhrssen is arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express newspaper in Milwaukee, WI. He is coauthor of ABC-CLIO's Elvis Presley, Reluctant Rebel: His Life and Our Times and a contributor to Ideas and Movements that Shaped America: From the Bill of Rights to "Occupy Wall Street" and 100 People Who Changed 20th-Century America.

Michael Larson is a guitar instructor, songwriter, recording artist, and attorney. He has written about music for the Shepherd Express newspaper in Milwaukee, WI. Larson holds a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.



"The new book defines the age of classic rock as spanning from 1965-1975 and gives an in-depth exploration of hundreds of bands and people and their impact that remains a half-century later."WUMW Milwaukee Public Radio

"The book is a good effort and will likely appeal to rock fans and historians of the genre. Summing Up: Recommended. High school through undergraduate students; general readers; musicians and music teachers."Choice

In the News

Milwaukee's Luhrssen writes the book on classic rock, On Milwaukee, 4/21/2017

'Encyclopedia of Classic Rock' Seeks to Define an Innovative Era, Miwaukee Public Radio, 6/8/2017

Waukesha Freeman, Prolific Author Turns to Classic Rock , 8/18/2017

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