Irwin Stambler, who chronicled the history of rock in scholarly encyclopedias, dies at 92

Encyclopedia,Pop music,Aerospace engineering

Irwin Stambler, an aeronautical engineer whose love of music inspired him to write some of the earliest and most flavorful encyclopedias on pop music, has died at the age of 92. Stambler died Feb. 10 of complications from sepsis in West Los Angeles, his family said. A prolific author who wrote dozens of books on a variety of topics, including space exploration and biographies on treasured sports figures, Stambler took a particular interest in the roots of rock ‘n’ roll, the blues, and country and Western music. In assembling “The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul” and other compendiums on music, Stambler would often do his own research, interviewing musicians and attending concerts, his son Lyndon Stambler said. The process gave the entries in his encyclopedias a folksy you-were-there quality. “He really wanted to give people a flavor of these artists,” his son said. An engineer by training, Stambler arrived in Los Angeles as a correspondent for Space Aeronautics Magazine in 1954, just as the aeronautical industry began putting its first footprints on the Southern California landscape. He wrote newsletters, a book on aviation, another on engineering, and later a set of books on the Mercury, Gemini...

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