The first Rolling Stone Record Guide came out in 1979. The second edition came out in 1983, and is the oldest one that I own. Tucked into the back of this, making up the final four pages of the book, is a list of the artists who appeared in that first book but not in the second one. The list is headed up by this note:
"The following artists, all of whose material is now out of print, have entries in the first edition of the Record Guide only:" [emphasis mine]
That's a lie. Porter Wagoner is listed, and he not only continued to have records in print but released several records in this time period, including a duet album with Dolly Parton that went to Number Nine on the C&W album chart in 1980. I bet plenty of other acts had their work remain in print as well.
More interesting than that is that there are some true worthies on the list. I mean, I love "Sky High" but I totally understand why Jigsaw is on the list. What is an album guide going to say about Jigsaw, except to point out which LP has "Sky High" on it? On the other hand, some big, recognizable names fell off the cliff between 1979 and 1983:
Brewer and Shipley
Eric Burdon and War
George Clinton (!)
Dick Dale and the Del-Tones
Nick Drake (!!)
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Clarence "Frogman" Henry
Gabriel [sic] Kaplan
Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams (!!!)
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.
Starland Vocal Band
The Undisputed Truth
Johnny and Edgar Winter
Bill "Je Suis Un Rock Star" Wyman
...plus a whole bunch of Seventies one-hit wonders like the Hues Corporation and Pilot and David Essex and Silver Convention.
What I wonder is how many of these artists had enough of a second wind to get re-established in later editions of the Record Guide? Clinton, Drake, and Rea did, I'm sure. If I were getting paid big money to write this blog, I'd surely spend half a day or so checking that out.