The Book of Rock Lists

08 Sep

Dave Marsh and Kevin Stein
The Book of Rock Lists
A Dell/Rolling Stone Press Book

I bought this book at a library sale about a year to a year and a half ago. I’d pack my four-year-old boy into the car and off we’d go. At this point everyone I know has been sent a book from one of these sales, my brother in San Diego has been sent a copy of A Million Little Pieces, and a few Hemmingway books, and my wife and son . . . I lost count. I have even sent my friend Jay a copy of Bukowski’s Post Office. At a buck a book, I can’t help myself.

Over the years I’ve, just about, bought every music book I’ve come across, from biographies on Ray Charles to Keith Moon, from Malcolm McLaren to Jimi Hendrix. So, when I was cruising the aisles at this book sale I came across this copy of The Book of Rock Lists by Dave Marsh, and Kevin Stein, I thought why not? A book like this fits into a category that a guy named Brian that I used to work with, termed bathroom reading. He was a bartender from the Bay Area, and we ended up working for a porn company, more on that another time. Anyway, we were talking about reading Bukowski, and he said Bukowski was perfect bathroom reading, meaning leave it on the toilet tank and pick it up every time you’re in there and you’re never lost as to where you left off and it’s simple fast reading.

So, in a nutshell, The Book of Rock Lists is that great bathroom reading. There were two punk related lists that I had to list here. The book was finished in 1980, but wasn’t published until 1981; with punk still in its infancy, there wasn’t much to be written. The writer, Dave Marsh was/is a writer for Rolling Stone and he’s best known for his many books on Springsteen, so his punk mentions are more tongue in cheek.

Here are the lists:


The chart position for each single follows the date on which it first hit that slot.

1. “God Save The Queen,” The Sex Pistols, June 4, 1977 (4)
2. “Pretty Vacant,” The Sex Pistols, July 9, 1977 (6)
3. “Do Anything You Wanna Do,” Eddie and The Hot Rods, August 13, 1977 (9)
4. “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes,” The Adverts, September 27, 1977 (18)
5. “Holidays In The Sun,” The Sex Pistols, October 22, 1977 (8)
6. “Angels With Dirty Faces,” Sham 69, May 13, 1978 (19)
7. “My Way”/”No One Is Innocent,” The Sex Pistols with Ronald Biggs, July 8, 1978 (7)
8. “If The Kids Are United,” Sham 69, July 29, 1978 (9)
9. “Top of The Pops,” The Rezillos, August 12, 1978 (17)
10. “Hong Kong Garden,” Siouxsie and The Banshees, August 26, 1978 (7)
11. “Ever Fallen In Love,” The Buzzcocks, September 23, 1978 (12)
12. “Hurry Up Harry,” Sham 69, October 14, 1978 (10)
13. “Public Image,” Public Image LTD., October 21, 1978 (9)
14. “Germ-Free Adolescence,” X-Ray Spex, November 4, 1978 (19)
15. “Tommy Gun,” The Clash, December 2, 1978 (20)

And now the second list:

Of Individuals – Bands Too Numerous to Mention

1. Stiv Bators (The Dead Boys)
2. Laura Logic (Essential Logic)
3. Tory Crimes (The Clash)
4. Lux Interior (The Cramps)
5. Johnny Rotten (The Sex Pistols)
6. Rat Scabies (The Damned)
7. Joe Strummer (The Clash)
8. Poly-Styrene (X-Ray Spex)
9. Ari Up (The Slits)
10. Sid Vicious (The Sex Pistols)

Now that I have given you the best parts, you may not need to pick the book up. Amazon lists were revised and re-published in 1994, so these early punk lists may have been removed. It was a fun book.

For all you “punk scholars,” these are not my lists, so before you start freaking “you don’t know shit, Dr. Know from Bad Brains has the best punk name in the fucking world.” I didn’t make these up. So, put on your helmet and stop licking the glass on your small bus and enjoy the article.

If you don’t own it, give it a read.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars




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One Response to “The Book of Rock Lists”

  1. 1
    Eddie Cook Says:

    I’ve never read this thing

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