Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll by John Harris (3 stars)

Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll by John Harris

Pop miscellany from the former music mag hack

John Harris is best known these days as a face on Newsnight Review and a Guardian columnist, but this knockabout trawl through the world of musical myths and legends owes more to his days as an NME and Select magazine hack. More fun than the author’s previous, rather po-faced books about New Labour and Britpop, this illustrated miscellany has everything from a history of the rock moustache to a guide to obscure metal genres and a lot more nonsense aside.

Harris treats the excesses and idiosyncrasies of rock’n’roll with the light-hearted derision they deserve, but there is also clearly love in his heart for the spectacular carnival that is modern music. It’s a little uneven (there’s way too much Beatles stuff, for instance) and doesn’t aspire to being much more than a chucklesome read while you sit on the toilet. Still, it’s an entertaining look at all the egotistical daftness.


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