Cover image for The Penguin encyclopedia of popular music
The Penguin encyclopedia of popular music
Clarke, Donald, 1940-
Second edition / [contributors] to the second edition, Paul Balmer ... [and others].
Publication Information:
London, England ; New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 1998.
Physical Description:
xii, 1524 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML102.P66 P46 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference-Music

On Order



From Abba to ZZ Top via Oasis, James Brown, and Frank Sinatra, this wonderful resource to the world's nonclassical music has been updated and revised to include a wider range of New World and ethnic musicians from Latin America and Africa along with a range of new entries from the contemporary Brit-pop scene and all of your old favorites. Donald Clarke covers a truly spectacular array of artists, from the early blues (Big Bill Broonzy, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith) and ragtime (Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake) to the golden age of Broadway musicals, the great swing bands of the 1930s, jazz from around the world, American country, English folk, rock 'n' roll, reggae, soul, funk, punk, and the rest. The extensive Index ensures that no songwriter, musician, record label, or musical style is overlooked.

Author Notes

Donald Clarke is the author of Wishing on the Moon: The Life and Times of Billie Holiday (Penguin), The Rise and Fall of Popular Music , and All or Nothing at All: A Life of Frank Sinatra . A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and son.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

There has long been a need for a comprehensive reference tool for popular music, no matter what one means by ``popular.'' This encyclopedia fills the void nicely, offering basic information on rock, country, jazz, gospel, heavy metal, reggae, rap, ragtime, new age, folk, zydeco, funk, punk, and the blues. The nearly 3000 extremely readable entries describe artists, albums, labels, and genres, weaving an intricate web of cross-references, comparisons among artists, and references to covers and collaborations. A 90-page index pulls together most of the loose threads (regrettably dismissing the enormous contributions of pop music legends with a passim ). A bargain; highly recommended.-- Donald W. Maxwell, Carmel Clay P.L., Ind. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Clarke (author of The Rise and Fall of Popular Music, 1995) here updates and revises the decade-old first edition of this broad-based source (CH, Feb'90). Adding 146 pages and hundreds of new entries, Clarke continues to focus on performers while also covering songwriters, producers, labels, and genres. For this cheaper paperback edition, the typeface is smaller and the paper quality decidedly poorer. Abbreviations of states help condense the telegraphic entries. New entries broaden coverage of minority and world music (especially Latin America), rectify notable absences from the first edition, and add artists who have come to prominence in the last ten years (e.g., John Hiatt, Tracy Chapman, Dick Dale, Morphine, Tito Nieves, Nirvana). A few entries have been deleted (e.g., Joy of Cooking). Many performers are still omitted (Alice in Chains, America, Crowded House, Gentle Giant, Korn, Luscious Jackson, Midnight Oil, Poi Dog Pondering, Split Enz, Waterboys, World Party). A few errors persist (Lars Ulrich of Metallica was born in 1963, not 1955). Cross-references have been dropped in favor of the extensive 109-page index. Other sources provide better coverage of specific popular music styles (e.g., The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, 1995), and The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, (CH, Mar'93; 2nd ed., CH, Sep'96) has a far greater number of more detailed entries, but Clarke's work contains the broadest coverage of a century of commercial music in one volume. Useful to all music reference collections. R. A. Aken; University of Kentucky