Rolling Stone Cover to Cover -
The First 40 Years (Boxed Set)
by Rolling Stone and Bondi Digital Publishing
Written by Glen Boyd
Published December 15, 2007
First off, let me state right up front that this is an absolutely
amazing boxed set.
But before I get to how incredibly cool this thing actually is and
how it is absolutely the perfect holiday gift for that special music
geek, or "rockologist" in your own life there is one thing you
absolutely need to know:
Make sure you have enough memory to actually run the software that is
what really makes the Rolling Stone Cover to Cover: The First 40
Years boxed set so special.
You see, it takes a lot of RAM to grant the user instant access to
some 1026 issues, and over 98,000 scanned pages of the last 40 years
of Rolling Stone magazine.
In geek terms, that means you had better have at least 512 MB of RAM
on your machine and in all honesty, a gig is probably really more
like it. Because as many of those computers that are still out there
that seemed positively "tricked out" with anything less a few years
back I can tell you that 256 MB of RAM just isn't gonna cut it
here. As I found out the hard way on my initial test run, that won't
get you past the first install disk.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I can happily report that
Rolling Stone Cover to Cover: The First 40 Years, represents the most
complete historical account of the rock and roll era that I have ever
come across. It is also every bit worth going the extra mile to boost
the memory necessary to run on your PC if need be.
Because for even the most casual student of rock and roll history,
you could literally lose yourself for hours if not days in this
massive, and easily searchable archive of data. Imagine having the
entire history of rock and roll and for that matter modern culture
as a whole at your fingertips with the click of a mouse. For the
music freak in your life, Rolling Stone Cover to Cover represents
that wet dream come to life.
Love them or hate them, Rolling Stone is the magazine which most
consistently and accurately has documented the most significant
musical and cultural events of what is closing in on the past half
century from the rise of the sixties counter culture, through
disco, punk-rock, MTV, grunge, and right on up to what some argue is
the currently ongoing death of rock and roll music itself.
You wanna talk about "what a long, strange trip it's been"?
Well, it's all here as originally chronicled in Rolling Stone. You
can even search out the ads which is something I got a particular
kick out of when I came across those old Warner Bros. double disc
samplers you could order for two bucks in Rolling Stone back in the sixties.
Now that was some great marketing cleverly disguised as the
sixties' hippie "free music" sort of deal it was.
So what you get here, is a beautifully packaged boxed set that
retails for about $125. The most obvious draw for the rock and roll
historian armchair or otherwise is the easily searchable archive
of every single page (even the ads), of every single issue of Rolling
Stone from 1967 to the present, on 4 CD-Rom disks. The menus are also
very user-friendly, allowing the user multiple options ranging from
simply clicking on a year or a magazine cover, to more specific
searches by say, a favorite artist or even an individual author or writer.
At $125 retail, having the sheer volume of that kind of history and
information at the touch of a mouse has to be considered an
absolutely amazing bargain.
Beyond that however, you also get a beautiful coffee table-style 200
plus page book which breaks down those same 40 years of Rolling Stone
with highlights of each year. You get key features, reviews, and
pictures from every pivotal point in history, as well as new,
previously unpublished material. To top all of this off, the set also
comes with a coupon for a free one year subscription to Rolling Stone magazine.
Can't beat that with a stick.
In this holiday season, there are some other very worthwhile
documents of the so-called sixties and seventies "golden age of rock
and roll" out there most notably the Creem Magazine coffee table
book (which will be the subject of a future review here once I unwrap
that expected present).
But nothing covers the whole enchilada from then right up to now
quite like Rolling Stone Cover to Cover does. Like I said, love them
or hate them, Rolling Stone has been an eyewitness to the cultural
revolution in a way few, if anyone, else can claim.
Together with Bondi Digital Publishing, (who also have a similarly
complete boxed set with searchable CD-Rom archive for Playboy),
Rolling Stone has created the ultimate historical record of the past
40 years of rock and roll.
Just make sure your PC can handle it.