Other notable absences arise when you consider musicians-turned-actors. David Bowie has a prominent role in this book; he has his own entry and a movie like The Hunger, Tony Scott’s campy ‘80s vampire movie, gets an entry, too, because Bowie starred in it. But conspicuously missing is Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth. Amazingly, Muir includes the film in the biography in Bowie’s entry but doesn’t include an entry on the movie itself. The Man Who Fell to Earth was Bowie’s first role, and a publicity still from it served as the cover to his album Low. Seems pretty rock and roll. Labyrinth, a movie Bowie not only starred in but contributed a soundtrack to, is also missing. Diana Ross also gets the shoddy treatment, with Muir leaving out Lady Sings the Blues and The Wiz. So forgotten is Diana Ross that she doesn’t even warrant a personal entry, a fate most soul musicians and soul musicians-turned-actors suffer in the book.
These omissions, all of which fall under the purview of what Muir himself deems rock and roll, is quite distressing. Encyclopedias are, by definition, books that contain comprehensive information. The Rock & Roll Encyclopedia is hardly comprehensive. The book is an admirable effort on Muir’s part. He has an obvious reverence for the rock and roll movie and he’s enthusiastic about sharing his love of these films with others. Unfortunately, what he calls his “survey” seems far too short-sighted. It’s a primer, not an encyclopedia.