As Blue Öyster Cult might have put it: Don't fear the reader. For the music aficionado on your holiday shopping list, "Rock Chronicles: Every Legend, Every Line-Up, Every Look" (Firefly, $29.99) might fit the stocking.
The new 576-page book, edited by David Roberts, offers a color-coded, encyclopedic look at "250 of the most important rock acts of the past 50 years," according to a statement from the tome's publisher. That means it skews heavy in the "classic rock" vein. To wit, the book nabs the always-colorful Alice Cooper to write the foreword: "Long live rock 'n' roll -- rock 'n' roll is NOT DEAD. You might want to take your own pulse. If it's too loud, maybe you're dead."
"Rock Chronicles' " biggest contribution to the music conversation is its "at-a-glance graphic timelines," as Roberts puts it in his introduction. Want to know every member of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band? Got 'em. Need to know how many copies of David Bowie's "Let's Dance" album sold globally? It's here (9.5 million), in an easy-to-read graphic.