Encyclopaedia of Rock...

Encyclopaedia of Rock...
Authored By John Nicholson

Because I was a few years out of date when growing up, listening in 1979 to music recorded 1966-76 I never knew what was really popular and whose time had been and gone. Sometimes it was obvious, like with all the big name acts, but where did you put the Blues Project of the Electric Flag? Bands that had long split..

In hindsight being regarded as old fashioned probably made me seem a bit weird. Everyone else was listening to Madness and The Beat and The Clash while I was getting excited about Cream's first album or the Grateful Dead’s first live album. Obviously, these groups were not in the charts anymore but I had to do a lot of research to find out where it all fitted. I did all my reading in 77-79. Particularly the NME Encyclopaedia of rock. I was dismayed that I had missed the glory days of so many groups like Wishbone Ash and had to make do with Rainbow and Whitesnake.

The research I did in that period inevitably involved carrying extensive lists around with me of desirable albums, often in the form of family trees so I knew how the world of rock jigsaw interlocked. The odd thing is that slowly I memorised all the info, not intentionally but through use, and it’s still with me, even though more recent things are missing in action. The result is I know Ten Years After’s discography but don’t know what I did last week. To me this is entirely normal but to non rock civilians it is very odd. What good is it knowing TYA’s third album is Cricklewood Green? I don’t know but I like it and it seems to connect me to something which really matters.

Now, at 62, with a huge library of rock knowledge installed in my brain, I no longer swot up on discographies feeling that I know all the important ones and a lot of the unimportant ones too. If I wasn't deeply unfashionable and over-focused in the last three years of the seventies life would have been very different, I had no idea I was making such an important choice. I wasn’t encouraged to and for some reason did it all off my own bat. I think that’s why it’s stuck with me to the extent that Dawn will ask me which album a song on the radio is from and what position it got to and I will invariably know.

Scroll To Top