Book Review: Rock & Roll Books

Tom Moon

Rock & Roll Books

1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die: A Listener's Life List

by Tom Moon
Workman Publishing, 1,007 pp., $19.95 (paper)

Thumbing through this publisher's sequel to 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, informed fans can dig up enough errors – Fugazi concerts cost $5, not $15, and "the first great blast of L.A. punk" probably came from the Germs, not Black Flag – to raise concerns about its overall accuracy. In addition, as the list skews perhaps unavoidably toward the mainstream, music geeks of any stripe will come across choices they find questionable, odd, or downright infuriating. Green Day over the Big Boys? Bright Eyes over Cat Power and Neutral Milk Hotel? Screaming Trees and Alice in Chains over everything by Steve Albini, Justin Broadrick, and Daniel Johnston? That said, the book's weaknesses are overwhelmed by its strengths, including unconventional picks that are instantly gratifying, such as Faust, the Magnetic Fields, and Alejandro Escovedo. Author Tom Moon delivers cogent and intriguing defenses of albums that seem easy to dismiss (Madonna's Ray of Light), and most importantly, he endorses and explains hundreds of recordings in jazz, folk, blues, art music, opera, and especially world music, making 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die a valuable resource for anyone who wishes to leave his comfort zone and develop a more complete understanding of music.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
<i>Me & Mr. Cigar</i>
Me & Mr. Cigar
Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes debuts a deeply weird and wonderful young adult novel.

Alyssa Quiles, Feb. 21, 2020

Revenge of the She-Punks
Revenge of the She-Punks

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 6, 2019

More by Daniel Mee
Texas Platters
Black Cock
Robot Child With a God Complex (Record Review)

April 17, 2009

Live Shots
Dirty Projectors
SXSW showcase reviews

March 20, 2009


1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle