Listen to Classic Rock!
Exploring a Musical Genre
by Melissa Ursula Dawn Goldsmith
November 2019, 314pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6578-7
$69, £54, 60€, A95
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6579-4
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In 2018, the Eagles’ country rock compilation album, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) surpassed Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the best-selling album ever.

Listen to Classic Rock! Exploring a Musical Genre provides an overview of this diverse and complex musical genre for scholars of classic rock and curious novices alike, with a focus on 50 must-hear musicians, songwriters, bands, and albums.

Listen to Classic Rock! Exploring a Musical Genre explores in detail the genesis, evolution, and proliferation of classic rock. It begins with a background on the development of classic rock and its subgenres. Next, an A to Z listing of artists (musicians, songwriters, and bands), albums, important concerts, and songs; a chapter on classic rock’s impact on popular culture; a chapter on classic rock’s legacy; and a bibliography. This organization gives readers the choice of starting from the beginning to learn how classic rock and each of its subgenres emerged after rock and roll or skip ahead to a specific artist, recording, or song in the Must-Hear Music section.

This volume stands out from other resources on classic rock for its listening-centered approach. Most books on classic rock focus on trivia, history, terminology, or criticism. It also explores the sound of the music of important artists and offers musical analyses that are accessible to upper-level high school and lower-level undergraduates while at the same time maintaining the interest of classic rock aficionados and scholars.


  • Explains classic rock composition and songwriting techniques as well as studio production values
  • Considers the vast array of classic rock styles as well the diversity of artists who recorded classic rock
  • Includes often overlooked contributors to classic rock such as Jim Croce, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, and The Ventures as well as overlooked subgenres such as soft rock
  • Covers rock and roll's precursors that helped give rise to classic rock as well as how classic rock has continued as a popular music genre from the late 1970s into the present
  • Offers historical context of the development of classic rock, discussing its lasting impact on popular culture and its legacy
Melissa Ursula Dawn Goldsmith, PhD, is a visiting lecturer/associate professor in the Music Department and College of Graduate and Continuing Education at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. She is coeditor with Anthony J. Fonseca of Hip Hop around the World: An Encyclopedia as well as coeditor with Fonseca and Paige A. Willson of The Encyclopedia of Musicians and Bands on Film. In 2018, her online music appreciation course won a Massachusetts Courses of Distinction Award.

Exploring Musical Genres

Each book in this genre-and performance group-based collection provides the reader with background information on a specific musical genre, critical analyses of significant examples from the genre, and a discography and analysis of must-hear examples. Although written by scholars, the series is for the lay reader and general music fan.
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