University of Oregon

Index for this guide:

Checklist for Doing Research in Rock Music
Subject Headings for Rock Music
Indexes for Finding Articles on Rock Music and Musicians
Magazines & Journals for Rock Research
Recording Industry Information
Indexes to Songs in Collections
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
Discographies and Finding Sound Recordings
Bibliographies - Individuals and Groups
Special Rock Resources
Web Sites on Rock Music

Research Guides



Checklist for Doing Research on Rock Music

I. Take a tour of the Library.

II. Read an encyclopedia article that may summarize your topic.

III. Search the catalog for books about your topic.

IV. Search the various indexes to find articles about your topic in magazines and newspapers.

V. Search this list of resources to determine which specialized resources might have useful information about your topic.

VI. Search for recordings in the UO Library's catalog.

ANY QUESTIONS? Ask the music librarian, Ann Shaffer. My hours are usually Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. You can make an appointment for help with your research by calling x6-1850 [346-1850]. You can also e-mail me your questions. Click

  • Tours of the Music area are available by appointment by calling Ann Shaffer (x6-1850) or e-mailing her at

      [The two general music encyclopedias that are best for research rock performers and music are: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2d ed.(MUS. REF ML 100 .N48 2001) [29 vols. + available online as Grove Music Online] and The New Grove Dictionary of American Music [MUSIC REF. ML 101 .U6 N48 1986].
      These provide an overview of the rock music scene, its performers and composers, and include useful bibliographies for further research. You should also consult the list included with this of specified encyclopedias in popular and rock music.

        Consult the list of subject headings to see what terms we use to find your books. Make a list of these terms, then search the SUBJECT section of the UO Library's catalog (which lists books and recordings from 1975 to the present).
        Another tip: people can be subject headings too. (For instance, books on Elvis are listed under Presley, Elvis in the subject catalog; books on The Who are also listed as a subject.)

          The Music Reference area and the UO Library's web site have a number of indexes that may be helpful in researching your topic. There is a list included with this resource that should help in determining which indexes are available, and which ones to use.

            [Especially note the list of journals and magazines.]

              Recordings often have program note information that can be used in your research, especially for determining who played on what recordings.
              To find particular songs on recordings or in sheet music collections, consult How to Find Individual Songs, on the web at



              Subject Headings to Use in the UO Library's Catalog to Find Information on Rock Music.


              The following subject headings from the Library of Congress Subject Headings books are used in the University of Oregon's catalog to find books, scores, and recordings of popular and rock music, as well as books on the subjects of the music, the performers, and instruments.
              Be sure to use the subject section of the UO Library's catalog.
              You may also use peoples' names as subject headings in the catalog and the article indexes.


              • Music and Musicians Subject Headings:
                BLUES (MUSIC)
                BLUES - MUSICIANS
                MUSIC AND RACE
                NEW WAVE MUSIC
                POPULAR MUSIC
                PROTEST SONGS
                PUNK ROCK MUSIC                 
                RAP (MUSIC)
                REGGAE MUSIC
                RHYTHM AND BLUES MUSIC
                ROCK GROUPS
                ROCK MUSIC
                ROCK MUSICIANS
                ROCKABILLY MUSIC
                SOUL MUSIC
                (+ names of performers, lyricists, and composers.

                Subject Headings for Instruments:

                • Beatles
                  McCartney, Paul
                  Lennon, John
                  Vicious, Sid

                  • BASS GUITAR
                    DRUM SET
                    ELECTRIC GUITAR
                    ELECTRIC GUITAR - HISTORY
                    GUITAR MAKERS
                    GUITAR METHODS - ROCK
                    Names of Guitar Makers (Fender, Martin)




                Music Indexes

                The Music Index.
                Available in paper at the Music Index Table and on the UO Library's web site, by choosing Articles, Databases & Indexes. [Note: to search for information about a performer or band, use the People search in this database and put their name in the search window.]

                The Rolling stone index: twenty-five years of popular culture, 1967-1991.
                [MUSIC ML1 .R65]
                An index to one of the earliest publications on rock music, from its beginning until 1991. (For indexing to newer editions, see the indexes listed above and below.)


                  General Indexes that include Music Articles


                  Academic Search Premier.
                  [Available on the UO Library's catalog by searching by its title under Articles, Databases & indexes.
                  This resource provides access to online versions of journals.
                  Use the same subject headings you used for the UO Library's catalogs, including the People search for performers.]

                  Alternative Press Index.
                  1969 - present.
                  [Available on the UO Library's catalog by searching by its title under Articles, Databases & indexes


                    Popular Culture Indexes with Music Articles

                    America: History and Life.
                    1964 - present.
                    [Available on the UO Library's catalog by searching by its title under Articles, Databases & indexes

                    Popular Abstracts.
                    [Provides abstracts for articles in The Journal of Popular Culture (1967 - 1977); The Journal of Popular Film (1972 - 1977); and Popular Music & Society (1971 - 1975).
                    [KNIGHT P 91 .P6]



                      [NOTE: Before looking through all these, try using the indexes listed above, as they should all include the resources listed here- and will save you hours of looking for articles!

                      To locate the most recent issues of the magazines with the ML call numbers, go to the white slanted shelves in the third floor Music section across from the music reference desk. Earlier unbound editions are held underneath the shelf. If they are bound, they are on the Music shelves.]

                      Many of these journals are available in full text through the indexes listed above, and searchable through the FindText button on the main library web site.

                      To gain access to them off campus, you must be a UO community member, and have your computer connected through the University of Oregon's VPN, using the Duckware software, available for free at any computer lab on campus.

                      Billboard Magazine
                      [MUSIC ML 1 .B512]
                      To 1975 in paper, then issues available through Academic Search Premier
                      Microfilm = v.98 (1986) to present
                      Google Books has scanned Billboard issues from 1942 through 2007, including images, advertisements, and the charts.

                      Blues Unlimited
                      [MUSIC ML 1 .B58]
                      1972 - 1987 only

                      Down Beat
                      [MUSIC ML 1 .D6]
                      paper= v.21 (1954) to present
                      Microfilm= v.41 (1974) to present

                      Electronic Musician
                      [MUSIC ML 1380 .E4]
                      v.3 (1987) - present
                      Also available (since 1996) from Academic Search Premier

                      Guitar Player
                      [MUSIC ML 1015 .G9 G9]
                      vol 1.(1967) to present
                      Also available (from 1996) from Academic Search Premier

                      Journal of Popular Culture
                      [KNIGHT P 91 .J6]
                      v.1 (1967) - present
                      Also available (from 1990) through the Academic Search Premier

                      Living Blues
                      [MUSIC ML 1 .L57]
                      v.35 (1977) - present

                      Melody Maker
                      [MUSIC x ML 5 .M17]
                      paper = v.49 (1974) to 1985
                      Microfilm = v.61 (1986) - v.76 (1999/2000)

                      Modern Drummer
                      [MUSIC ML 1035 .M6]
                      v.4 (1980 - present

                      [MUSIC ML 1 .M212]
                      v.94 (1986) to v. 205 (1995)

                      Popular Music
                      [MUSIC ML 5 .P66]
                      paper = v.1 (1981) to present
                      Also available in full text online (2000-present), by going to the Journal Title button on the left of the Library's web site, and typing in Popular Music

                      Rolling Stone
                      [MUSIC ML 1 .R6]
                      paper = 1967 - 1990
                      Microfilm = 1967 to present
                      Also available (from 1990) through Academic Search Premier


                        "Greatest Hits" Resources

                        [Value: Lists best sellers and chart statistics- gives you a sense of what was truly popular at the time and their place on the charts.]


                        All music guide to the blues: the definitive guide to the blues. 3rd ed.
                        [MUSIC REF. ML156.4.B6 A45 2003]

                        All music guide to rock: the best CDs, albums & tapes: rock, pop, soul, R&B and rap.
                        [MUSIC REF. ML156.9 .A39 1995]
                        Also available on the web at

                        Bronson, Fred.
                        The Billboard book of number one hits.
                        [MUSIC ML 156.4 .P6 B76 1985]

                        George, Nelson.
                        Top of the Charts: the Most Complete Listing Ever.
                        [MUSIC ML 156.4 .P6 G46 1983]

                        Murrells, Joseph.
                        Million selling records: from the 1900s to the 1980s: an illustrated Directory.
                        [MUSIC REF. ML156.4 .P6 B76 2003]

                        Anything by Joel Whitburn.

                        • Whitburn, Joel.
                          Joel Whitburn's top pop singles 1955-1996.
                          Menomonee Falls, Wisc.: Record Research, c1997.
                          "Chart data compiled from Billboard's pop single charts, 1955-1996."
                          [MUSIC REF. ML156.4.P6 J64 1997]


                          ENCYCLOPEDIAS AND DICTIONARIES


                          [Value: these provide an overview of each area of popular music, and give biographical information on performers and composers]



                            The Billboard illustrated encyclopedia of jazz & blues.
                            [MUSIC REF. ML102.J3 B55 2005]

                            Harris, Sheldon.
                            Blues Who's Who: a Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers.
                            [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .B6 H3]

                            Komara, Edward, ed.
                            Encyclopedia of the Blues.
                            [MUSIC REF. ML102.B6 E53 2006]

                              POPULAR MUSIC


                              The Billboard illustrated encyclopedia of rock.
                              [MUSIC REF. ML102.R6 B55 2003]

                              Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. 7 vols.
                              [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .P66 C66 2003]

                              The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 10 vols.
                              [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .P66 G84 2006]

                              Gammond, Peter.
                              The Oxford Companion to Popular Music.
                              [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .P66 G35 1991]

                              The Greenwood encyclopedia of rock history. 6 vols.
                              CONTENTS: v. 1. The early years, 1951-1959--v. 2. Folk, pop, mods, and rockers, 1960-1966—v.3. The rise of album rock, 1967-1973--v. 4. From arenas to the underground, 1974-1980--v. 5. The video generation, 1981-1990--v. 6. The grunge and post-grunge years, 1991-2005.
                              [MUSIC REF. ML3534 .G754 2006 v.1 -v.6]

                              Hardy, Phil.
                              The Faber Companion to 20th-Century Popular Music.
                              [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .P66 H37 1990]

                              Lissauer, Robert.
                              Lissauer's Encyclopedia of Popular Music in America.
                              [MUSIC REF. ML 128 .P63 L57 1991]

                              The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music.
                              [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .P66 P5 1998]

                                RAP & HIP-HOP

                                Bynoe, Yvonne.
                                Encyclopedia of rap and hip-hop culture.
                                [MUSIC REF. ML102.R27 B96 2006]

                                Icons of hip hop: an encyclopedia of the movement, music, and culture.
                                [MUSIC ML394 .I26 2007 v.1-2]

                                  ROCK MUSIC

                                  Freeland, David.
                                  Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians since 1990. 2 vols.
                                  [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .P66 B35 2004]

                                  Hardy, Phil.
                                  Encyclopedia of Rock.
                                  [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .R6 H37 1988]

                                  Helander, Brock.
                                  The Rock Who's Who.
                                  [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .R6 H5 1996]

                                  The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock.
                                  [MUSIC REF. ML 102 .P66 I4]

                                  International who's who in popular music.
                                  [MUSIC REF. ML105 .I58 4th ed. 2002]

                                  Nite, Norm N.
                                  Rock on almanac: the first four decades of rock 'n' roll.
                                  [MUSIC ML 3534 .N58 1989]

                                  Nite, Norm N.
                                  Rock On: the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock 'n' Roll.
                                  [MUSIC ML 105 .N49 1982]

                                  Rees, Dafydd.
                                  Rock movers & shakers.
                                  [MUSIC REF. ML 385 .R736 1991]

                                  The Rolling stone encyclopedia of rock & roll
                                  [MUSIC REF. ML102.R6 R64 2001]

                                  York, William.
                                  Who's Who in Rock Music.
                                  [MUSIC ML 102 .R6 Y7 1982]


                                    DISCOGRAPHIES and Finding Recordings in the UO Library


                                    [Value: Discographies list the recorded output of a particular record company, topic, or performer and contain historical information not found in other sources.]


                                    To find recordings in our library, see the Guide to Finding Recordings, available on the web at There you will also find access to our Audio Resources Online, which include the Database of Recorded American Music.


                                    Classic Material: the hip-hop album guide.
                                    [MUSIC ML156.4 .R27 C55 2003]

                                    Edwards, John W.
                                    Rock 'n' roll through 1969: discographies of all performers who hit the charts, beginning in 1955.
                                    [MUSIC REF. ML156.4.R6 E33 1992]

                                    Rock 'n' roll, 1970 through 1979: discographies of all performers who hit the charts.
                                    [MUSIC REF. ML 156.4 .R6 E32 1993]

                                    Gambaccini, Paul.
                                    The top 100 rock' n' roll albums of all time.
                                    [MUSIC ML 156.4 .R6 G35 1987]

                                    Graff, Gary and Daniel Durchholz, ed.
                                    MusicHound rock: the essential album guide.[2nd ed.]
                                    Detroit: Visible Ink Press, c1999.
                                    [MUSIC REF. ML156.4.R6 M87 1999 + Doug Circ COMPACT DISC CX3866]

                                    See also the various discographies Michel Ruppli has compiled of record companies' outputs.
                                    The Chess Labels: a Discography.
                                    [MUSIC REF. ML 156.2 .R783 1983]

                                    Shapiro, Bill.
                                    The CD rock & roll library: 30 years of rock & roll on compact disc.
                                    Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, c1988.
                                    [MUSIC ML156.4.R6 S4 1988]

                                    Strong, M. C. (Martin Charles)
                                    The great rock discography. 7th ed.
                                    New York: Canongate U.S., c2004.
                                    [MUSIC REF. ML156.4.R6 S8 2004]




                                      [Value: These list articles and books about topics in rock, blues, and popular music]

                                      Ford, Robert, 1964-
                                      A blues bibliography. 2nd ed.
                                      [MUSIC REF. ML128.B49 F67 2007]

                                      Hoffman, Frank W.
                                      The Literature of Rock, 1954 - 1978.
                                      [MUSIC REF. ML 128 .R6 H6 + available on Library's website by title]

                                      Hoffman, Frank W.
                                      The Literature of Rock II, 1979 - 1983.
                                      [MUSIC REF ML 128 .R6 H62 1986]

                                      Hoffman, Frank W.
                                      The Literature of Rock III, 1984 - 1990.
                                      [MUSIC REF. ML128.R6 H63 1995]

                                      Leyser, Brady J. and Pol Gosset.
                                      Rock stars/pop stars: a comprehensive bibliography, 1955-1994.
                                      [MUSIC REF. ML128.R6 L49 1994]


                                        BIBLIOGRAPHIES ON INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS:


                                        McKeen, William.
                                        Bob Dylan: a bio-bibliography.
                                        [MUSIC REF. ML 420 .D98 M25 1993]

                                        MacPhail, Jessica.
                                        Yesterday's papers: the Rolling Stones in print, 1963 - 1984.
                                        [MUSIC REF. ML 128 .R6 M3 1986]

                                        Wolter, Stephen.
                                        The Who in print: an annotated bibliography, 1965 through 1990.
                                        [MUSIC REF ML 134.5 .W5 W64 1992]


                                          Special Resources for Researching Rock Songs and Musicians' Grave Sites:


                                          Pollock, Bruce.
                                          The rock song index: essential information on the 7,500 most important songs of rock and roll. 2nd ed.
                                          New York: Routledge, 2005.
                                          [MUSIC REF. ML128.R6 P65 2005]

                                          Reed, J. D., 1940-
                                          Stairway to heaven: the final resting places of rock's legends.
                                          [MUSIC ML385 .R44 2005]


                                            Web Sites for Doing Research on Rock and Popular Music


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