Recommend book of "must have" rock albums

I'm looking for a book that walks through a list of "must have" rock albums. I searched Amazon and Audiogon, but didn't see any strong opinions for a particular book.

Here's what I'd like to see:

1) A good decription of why this album is a "must have"
2) Decent pictures
3) Enough information to help me connect with this new-to-me material.
4) If an artist has mutiple great albums, give me some guidence on where to start.

Any suggestions?
Consider the Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music.

Look for the unabridged versions.
I would suggest another idea: spend some time on Robert Christgau's site at He is a highly admired rock critic who has written for the Village Voice among others.

His reviews are well-written and often very funny. He uses a grading system and it's pretty easy to figure out his tastes. He has books of his compilations of the best albums of the 70's, 80's and 90's. But the web site has all of this data with his reviews dating back to 1967.

Good luck and happy hunting!
I bought a book for a bud in our audio club last Christmas or two and I think it was called 100 must have albums or 100 albums everyone should own or something like that from "Rolling Stone" it had some nice photos and a reviewers take on what made that album special and a must have.
Check this out.
agree with christgau....the man could tell the good from the lame like no other. don't always agree, but helped me but lots of goodies.
Tom Moon's new book, "1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die", is pretty cool, although no photos of album covers. Genre-wise, this is far reaching, limited to one or two selections per artist. Each selection includes another pick to continue with by the same artist, and another pick to follow with that builds on the strengths of that recording.
I received this as a gift, and find myself grabbing it during listening sessions while pondering questions like, "Which album by ______ made the list". Fun stuff! Cheers,
Take a look at Amazon's Essential Recordings as well as the comments from those who wrote reviews. Lots of references about which album is better then the other and what else you have to hear from the same artist or in a related vein.
Sbank I bought that for another audio bud last year I think and the other book a year before, both were great coffee table books.
Nic Hornsby's 20 Songs is one of the "best of" music books, an intimate and revealing look at the author's relationship with 20 songs by varied artists, full of magic and insight.
A combination of Mix Tape and Love Letter.
Several years ago, the magazine Mojo did a booklet of 1000 must haves. Well written and provocative. It did them by genre and chronologically (mostly). It is out of print but worth finding.

richard bischoff
El Paso, Texas
OTOH, Christgau gives Dylan's Modern Times his highest rating. Perhaps that's enuf said.