MusicHound (sometimes stylized as musicHound) was a compiler of genre-specific music guides published in the United States by Visible Ink Press between 1996 and 2002. After publishing eleven album guides, the MusicHound series was sold to London-based Music Sales Group,whose company Omnibus Press had originally distributed the books outside America. The series' founding editor was Gary Graff, formerly a music critic with the Detroit Free Press .
Visible Ink Press, LLC is a publisher of popular reference works. Its headquarters are in Canton Charter Township, Michigan in Metro Detroit. It was founded in 1989 as an imprint of Gale and later spun-off as an independent company in 2000. The Handy Answer Book Series is published by Visible Ink, as were the MusicHound Essential Album Guides.
Music Sales Group is a global music publisher, with headquarters in Berners Street, London. In March 2017, Music Sales Group has acquired disco publisher Bleu Blanc Rouge from Belgian record producer and songwriter Jean Kluger. In April 2018, Music Sales sold its physical and online print divisions, including Musicroom, to Milwaukee-based publisher Hal Leonard for $50 million. Hal Leonard will continue to distribute Music Sales' publishing catalogue worldwide.
Omnibus Press is the world's largest specialist publisher of music-related books. It publishes around 30 new titles a year to add to a backlist of over 250 titles currently in print.
Subtitled "The Essential Album Guide", each publication typically contained entries providing an overview of an artist's career and dividing their work into categories such as "what to buy", "what's next", "what to avoid" and "worth searching for".Among the MusicHound album guides were titles dedicated to rock, blues, classical, jazz, world music, swing, and soundtrack recordings. Further to the canine analogy in the series title, albums were graded according to a "bone" rating system: five bones constituting the highest score, down to a bold-rendered "woof!", signifying "dog food".
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds, fifths or sevenths flattened in pitch are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.
Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820, this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.
Graff has said that he had envisioned the books as buyer's guides, specifically: "something akin to a good record store clerk or that fellow shopper you meet while you're looking through the racks and with whom you strike up a spontaneous conversation".Gale-owned Visible Ink also published a series of VideoHound film guides, beginning with 1996's Golden Movie Retriever.
Gale is an educational publishing company based in Farmington Hills, Michigan, west of Detroit. Since 2007 it has been a division of Cengage Learning.
Edited by Gary Graff and published in 1996, MusicHound Rock was the first guide in the series. 's record guide; Guitar World editor Alan Paul; and Anders Wright, news editor of the music website Wall of Sound. In 1996, the book contained entries for some 2500 artists; in this first edition, the reviewers deemed that 541 albums were worthy of a five-bone rating.A revised edition appeared in 1999, co-edited by Graff and Daniel Durchholz. Among the guide's reviewers were US music critics Joel Selvin ( San Francisco Chronicle ), Mark J. Petracca ( Creem ), Greg Kot ( Chicago Tribune , Rolling Stone ), Brian Mansfield ( USA Today ), Thor Christensen ( Dallas Morning News , Spin ), and Roger Catlin ( Hartford Courant ). Other contributors included: Gary Pig Gold, who went on to work on six subsequent MusicHound guides; Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock, co-founding editors of No Depression magazine; The Big Takeover publisher Jack Rabid, who had previously written for Trouser Press
Joel Selvin is an American San Francisco-based music critic and author known for his weekly column in the San Francisco Chronicle which ran from 1972 to 2009. Selvin has written books covering various aspects of pop music—including the No. 1 New York Times best-seller Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock with Sammy Hagar—and has interviewed many musical artists. Selvin has published articles in Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, Billboard, and Melody Maker, and has written liner notes for dozens of recorded albums. He has appeared in documentaries about the music scene and has occasionally taken the stage himself as a rock and roll singer.
The San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of northern California in the United States. It was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. The paper is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which bought it from the de Young family in 2000. It is the only major daily paper covering the city and county of San Francisco.
Dusty Wright is an American musician, producer, and writer, and a former editor-in-chief of the music magazine Creem. In August 2005, he co-founded the audio podcasting and video webcasting online pop-culture magazine CultureCatch.com, which features his interview series The Dusty Wright Show. Interviews from the show were among the very first video and audio podcasts featured at iTunes with such guests as Ron Howard, Gore Vidal, Jim Marshall, Budd Hopkins, and CultureCatch.com board advisor David Lynch.
The 1999 edition came with a CD, supplied by Capitol Records,and included "What album changed your life?" sidebars written by celebrity musicians. Among the latter contributors were the following: Joan Baez, Peter Buck, Adam Clayton, Phil Collins, Jakob Dylan, Ben Harper, Mickey Hart, Lenny Kravitz, Simon LeBon, Stevie Nicks, Lou Reed, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Sting and Pete Townshend. The book's foreword was written by Doug Fieger, singer and guitarist with the Knack. Writing in The Riverfront Times in July 1999, Jason Toon noted "some unique elements" that the guide offered – such as details on each artist's main influences and who they in turn influenced – while comparing MusicHound Rock with reference works by Penguin, Rough Guide and AllMusic.
Capitol Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group imprint. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label "of note" in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label's circular headquarter building in Hollywood is a recognized landmark of California.
Joan Chandos Baez is an American singer, songwriter, musician and activist. Her contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest or social justice. Baez has performed publicly for over 60 years, releasing over 30 albums. Fluent in Spanish and English, she has also recorded songs in at least six other languages.
Peter Lawrence Buck is an American musician and songwriter who is best known as co-founder and lead guitarist of the alternative rock band R.E.M.
Van Halen is the self-titled debut studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen. Released on February 10, 1978, the album peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200. The album became widely recognized as the band's popularity grew, selling more than 10 million copies in the United States by August 7, 1996 and being certified Diamond.
An American Prayer is the ninth and final studio album by the Doors.
More(released in the United States as Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from the film More) is the first soundtrack album and third studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd. It was released on 13 June 1969 in the United Kingdom by EMI Columbia and on 9 August 1969 in the United States by Tower Records. It was the band's first album without any involvement from former band leader Syd Barrett, and is a soundtrack for the 1969 film of the same name, which was primarily filmed on location on Ibiza and was the directorial debut of Barbet Schroeder.
Fresh Cream is the debut studio album by the British rock band Cream. The album was released in the UK on 9 December 1966, as the first LP on the Reaction Records label, owned by producer Robert Stigwood. The UK album was released in both mono and stereo versions, at the same time as the release of the single "I Feel Free".
Sweet Baby James is the second album by American singer-songwriter James Taylor, and his first release on Warner Bros. Records. Released in February 1970, the album includes one of Taylor's earliest successful singles: "Fire and Rain", which reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album itself reached #3 on the Billboard Album Charts. Sweet Baby James made Taylor one of the main forces of the ascendant singer-songwriter movement. The album was nominated to a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, in 1971. The album was listed at #104 on Rolling StoneMagazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Court and Spark is the sixth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. It was an immediate commercial and critical success—and remains her most successful album. Released in January 1974, it has been described as pop, but also infuses Mitchell's folk rock style, which she had developed through her previous five albums, with jazz inflections.
Miles of Aisles is the first live album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, released in 1974 on Asylum Records. It is a double album documenting her concerts in support of the Court and Spark album with her backing band for the tour, the L.A. Express. It reached #2 on the Billboard 200 and became one of her biggest-selling records, certified a gold record by the RIAA.
You're Gonna Get It! is the second album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released in 1978. Originally, the album was to be titled Terminal Romance. It peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart in 1978.
Elvis is the second studio album by American rock and roll singer Elvis Presley, released by RCA Victor in October 1956 in mono. Recording sessions took place on September 1, September 2, and September 3 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, with one track left over from the sessions for Presley's debut album at the RCA Victor recording studios on January 30 in New York. It spent four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart that year, making Presley the first recording artist to have both albums go straight to number one in the same year. It was certified Gold on February 17, 1960, and Platinum on August 10, 2011, by the Recording Industry Association of America.
13 is the first compilation album by American rock band the Doors, released by Elektra Records on November 30, 1970. The title refers to the thirteen tracks included, which feature a variety of songs from their five studio albums released up to that point. It is the band's only compilation album released while lead singer Jim Morrison was alive.
Electric Light Orchestra Part Two is the debut album by ELO Part II, released in 1991. "Kiss Me Red" was originally from Cheap Trick's album The Doctor. In March 1991 "Honest Men" charted at number 60 on the UK Singles Chart, and 36 on the Dutch Top 40 chart.
Who's Greatest Hits is a 1983 greatest hits compilation album from The Who. It includes the rare track "Relay", presented here in its original full length. An earlier appearance on Hooligans has shortened it by almost 30 seconds. It also includes the original single version of "Won't Get Fooled Again". Who's Greatest Hits has sold over 2 million copies and was certified 2x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
In Concert is a live double album recorded by the Doors. The album's performances are culled from a variety of different concerts and releases. In Concert includes all the tracks from Absolutely Live and Alive, She Cried. The three remaining tracks come from An American Prayer, Live at the Hollywood Bowl and one previously unreleased.
Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite is a live album by American singer and musician Elvis Presley, released by RCA Records in February 1973. It peaked at #1 on the Billboard chart in the spring of the same year. Despite the satellite innovation, the US did not air the concert until April 4. Aloha from Hawaii went to #1 on the Billboard album chart. The album dominated the charts, reaching #1 in both the pop and country charts in the US.
From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee is the twenty-third studio album by American singer and musician Elvis Presley, released by RCA Records in May, 1976. It became Presley's fourth album to reach #1 on the Billboard country music album sales chart within the last four years.
The Electric Light Orchestra is the eponymous debut studio album by English rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released in December 1971 in the United Kingdom by Harvest Records. In the United States, the album was released in March 1972 as No Answer, after a misunderstood telephone message made by a United Artists Records executive asking about the album name; the caller, having failed to reach the ELO contact, wrote down "no answer" in his notes, and this was misconstrued to be the name of the album.
Who's Better, Who's Best: This is The Very Best of The Who is a 1988 compilation album by The Who. A compilation of videos also titled Who's Better, Who's Best was released in 1988 as well.
Who's Missing is a compilation of rare and previously unreleased songs by The Who. Its second part Two's Missing was released on 11 April 1987.
Gary Graff is an American music journalist and author.
Wall of Sound was an American music website that provided news, reviews and information on musical artists. The site was launched and developed in the mid 1990s by Paul Allen's software and website company, Starwave, in Seattle, Washington. In April 1997, Starwave entered into a joint venture partnership with ABC News, which expanded the coverage of the company's internet services into the ABC domain. A year later, Wall of Sound – along with Starwave sites such as Mr. Showbiz, NBA.com and NASCAR Online – was part of a joint e-commerce initiative between ABC and ESPN.