This book is divided into four sections that are meant to be read in roughly sequential order.

1. Introduction

This section contains chapters (including this one) that introduce the main theme of the book, and explain how the book can be used.

2. Elements

The second section presents the major elements of rock music: those attributes that distinguish it from other forms, and that separate outstanding examples of rock artistry from lesser works.

3. Artists and Tracks

The other major section of the book looks at a number of great examples of rock music. These are organized by artist, in chronological order by the original release date of their representative tracks. The intended reading sequence here is to read about one artist, then about a representative track from that artist, then the next artist, and so on.

I make no claim that these are the best rock songs of all time, only that they are all great examples that illustrate the combination of elements described in the preceding section. In some cases, you will find well-known artists and songs. As with many art forms, though, fame is often slow to catch up with artistic merit, and so some selections may be considered obscure.

4. Closing

This final section contains some closing thoughts and reference material, including a Recommended Reading list and an Epilogue, containing a discussion of factors that have contributed to the decline of the rock aesthetic.

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