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HIST4800: Rock'n'Roll and American Society: Biographical Resources

Biographical Resources

African American National Biography / Henry Louis Gates, and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. - Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. - editors in chief, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Evelyn Brooks-Higginbotham.; 8 v. : ill. ; 26 cm; Includes bibliographical references and index.;. - Call Number: REF E185.96.A4466
This eight-volume set contains 4,100 articles written by some 1,700 scholars. The subjects include individuals from all walks of life, such as politicians, sports figures, religious leaders, entertainers, writers, scientists, educators, and others. Most entries include a brief bibliography for further research.


American National Biography / general editors, John A. Garraty, Mark C. Carnes. - New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. - 24 v.; 26 cm. - Includes bibliographical references and index. - Call Number: REF CT213.A68
Over 17,400 lengthy biographical essays in 24 volumes. One of the best resources of its kind for 20th century Americans, although the individual must be dead to be included in the ANB. Two supplement volumes have been added since the original series was published.


Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. - New York: Schirmer Books, 2000. - 6 v. - Includes bibliographical references and discographies. - Call Number: REF ML105.B16
More than 1,000 new classical entries document the latest generation of composers, performers, scholars, and others. Jazz material is well done and inclusive. Pop content represents the broadest span of subcategories and largest number of potential entries. Madonna and Gloria Estefan are included, but Britney Spears and Enrique Martin Morales (Ricky Martin) are not. Pop and rock bands are selectively represented. Personalities from rap and hip-hop are absent as are many pop stars from the sixties and seventies. Overall, this monumental work collocates information from classical, popular, and jazz music on a scale greater than any other source. [Choice]


Biography Reference Bank
This full-text database contains thousands of full-text biographical essays for historical and contemporary figures, drawn from a wide variety of published sources. The essays vary in length and quality, but most include substantial detail and a selected bibliography. Several entires also contain links to related resources (e.g., articles about the subject). Please note that online access to this database is restricted to currently enrolled students, faculty and staff.


Contemporary Musicians. - Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, Inc., 1989. - v. : ill. ; 29 cm. - Call Number: REF ML385.C61
This biographical reference source, published in sequential volumes since 1989, deals with performers and composers who create the music heard today. Each entry includes a biographical essay, photograph, and selective discography. A "For the Record" section is also included on each artist, highlighting vital personal statistics, major awards, and mailing addresses, when available. Also included are sources for additional information on the artists. [Choice]


Rap Whoz Who: The World of Rap Music / Steven Stancell. - New York: Schirmer Books, 1996. - x, 339 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. - Includes index. - Call Number: REF ML400.S77
An overview of nearly 300 artists, producers, and record labels, focusing on popular purveyors but also covering the pioneers, innovators, and mix-tape DJ's (covering the mid-1970s to the present). Each entry (arranged alphabetically by the artist's stage name) includes real name and birth/death dates (when available), a one-sentence (for lesser-known artists) to five-page entry (e.g., Afrika Bambaataa), photos of major artists, and selected singles and albums or CDs (with title, year, label, and date). Sections for most letters end with one- to two-page essays (e.g., "Rap & Violence," "A Basic Rap Album Collection") as well as glossary entries for 50 or so rap terms. Coverage is good, including some British entries, with the Beastie Boys and even Vanilla Ice alongside Arrested Development, Ice-T, and Dr. Dre, but significant current innovators are not included (e.g., Tricky, Massive Attack, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and the area of trip hop). [Choice]


The Rock Who's Who / Brock Helander. - New York: Schirmer Books, 1996. - xii, 849 p. : ill. ; 26 cm. - Includes discographies. - Includes bibliographical references (p. 771-796) and index. - Call Number: REF ML102.R6H5
In this volume rock is broadly defined to cover performers as diverse as Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, and the Fugs. Some important disc jockeys, singer-songwriter teams, and music industry professionals are also included. Bubblegum music and white cover artists of the 1950s are excluded. Each entry provides a musical analysis, followed by a comprehensive discography. Article length varies according to the performer's output and influence: The Beatles entry is seven pages, Neil Sedaka's two. Entries in the discography include title, record label, catalog number, year of release, and the formats in which the work is available. The articles are lively, informative, and detailed. [Choice]


Subject Guide

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Richard Kearney
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