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The History of the NME: High Times and Low Lives at the World's Most Famous Music Magazine Hardcover – Dec 4 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Anova Books (Dec 4 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907554483
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907554483
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #380,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 27 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Pat Long was an assistant editor of The New Musical Express and like many of my friends has had a love hate relationship with the magazine/newspaper for many years. This is timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the paper, but as Long explains, the paper has roots in a much darker place indeed, that being the lamentable scourge of the accordion music mania that gripped Britain in the 1930's. As tastes thankfully developed, the music coverage had to change too and `The Musical Express' took over `The Accordion Times' to cater to more modern tastes like Jazz and the Big Bands- and not before time if you ask me.

We move on to 1952 when the paper was taken over and re launched with the added `New' in the title and when it started covering rock and roll types who used hair product, wore strange clothes and used language that their parents could not quite get - how times have changed!

Long takes us on a spell binding journey through the life of NME and it is told through the people who wrote for it and their influences as much as trying to record what the paper was and is. The constant animosity with `Melody Maker', the drugs excess, that started almost from the start, the devastating effect that the changing fashion in `drug of choice' would have on the writers and pop stars and the love ins and fall outs with some notable names from music. The tit for tat stuff that went on. Nick Cave writing a song full of hate after a lack lustre review, death threats, the politics and the self delusional pretence that they were an underground paper, when they got their pay checks from the `media corporate whore' that is IPC .
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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The History of the NME May 27 2012
By S Riaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For those with an interest in the history of music it is no surprise to learn that NME has roots in the accordian (a hugely popular instrument around the time of the second world war) and that the Accordian Times merged with Musical Express in 1946 to create a magazine which became a weekly staple for music fans. What is interesting is how many times the magazine has reinvented itself. Nearly bankrupt in 1952 it was saved by manager/promoter Maurice Irving Kinn and, through him, published the first ever UK singles chart. Kinn's emphasis was on the performer and not the writer, just in time for the rise of rock'n'roll, the fact that cheaper 45's replaced the more expensive 78 and the advent of guitar groups over jazz. By 1960 music and sales were flagging and, as Dick Rowe (yes, he who turned down the greatest group of all time) wrongly predicted, "guitar groups are on the way out". Kinn sold NME in 1962, realising his mistake with the coming of the Beatles, whose success led to increased sales and an appetite for new music. Kinn quickly revived his annual NME Poll Winners Party to cash in on the sudden Beat Boom.

This then is the story of NME and the ups and downs of music. From the joyous music of the 1960's to another period of decline by 1971. To the NME creating a gig guide to help point fans towards live music and an era of star writers, such as Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent, who almost seemed more important than the artists. On to the punk scene, rapidly awash with hard drugs, to the post punk era of the 1980's (not a good era for music by any standards) and the advent of MTV, face paint and frivolity. This book looks at the infighting and factions at the paper, how it lost direction and was challenged by other magazines, from Smash Hits to Q, who catered for fans re-buying their record collections on CD, with a more middle aged and affluent readership, who still liked Led Zeppelin and Paul McCartney (as did I and I also defected to Q at this point as a reader). Pat Long carries the story on to the music of grunge and Britpop and the still, almost continual, infighting at NME, which seems to be the one constant at the magazine.

This is a very well written account of the history of the paper and the history of the UK music scene. It is a readable and interesting book, which could have had some more illustrations, but which overall is a must for music lovers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Sex, Drugs, Rock n' Roll, Right on Politics and Morrissey April 27 2013
By Tommy Dooley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Pat Long was an assistant editor of The New Musical Express and like many of my friends has had a love hate relationship with the magazine/newspaper for many years. This is timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the paper, but as Long explains, the paper has roots in a much darker place indeed, that being the lamentable scourge of the accordion music mania that gripped Britain in the 1930's. As tastes thankfully developed, the music coverage had to change too and `The Musical Express' took over `The Accordion Times' to cater to more modern tastes like Jazz and the Big Bands- and not before time if you ask me.

We move on to 1952 when the paper was taken over and re launched with the added `New' in the title and when it started covering rock and roll types who used hair product, wore strange clothes and used language that their parents could not quite get - how times have changed!

Long takes us on a spell binding journey through the life of NME and it is told through the people who wrote for it and their influences as much as trying to record what the paper was and is. The constant animosity with `Melody Maker', the drugs excess, that started almost from the start, the devastating effect that the changing fashion in `drug of choice' would have on the writers and pop stars and the love ins and fall outs with some notable names from music. The tit for tat stuff that went on. Nick Cave writing a song full of hate after a lack lustre review, death threats, the politics and the self delusional pretence that they were an underground paper, when they got their pay checks from the `media corporate whore' that is IPC . The extent of IPC's crimes can only fully be realised when you see some of the so called `magazines' they produce; we have `Golf Monthly', `Super Yacht World', `Woman and Home' and wait for it `Amateur Gardening', these are NMEs bed fellows.

The ups and downs are measured by the staff in terms of their `coolness' and being as big as the people they write about, but IPC sort of used sales figures in a pathetic attempt to inject some capitalist fervour into what we all felt was a left wing agitator mag, that also covered stuff by `Flowered Up' and `Dumpy's Rusty Nuts' and `The Slits'.

The fortunes of the paper act almost like a barometer for the state of the country, with the next big thing always being hotly anticipated and or created by the NME. So we go through the sixties hippydom, the nadir of taste that most prog rock brought us, to the exuberant glam of the seventies, that rumbled into disco. Then the break NME needed with punk, but the bubble burst soon after and despite taking on new talent like Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill, the curve died even when the NME was just in front of it.

There is some retelling of events that I was at like `Madstock' (Finsbury Park North London)and the Morrissey wears a Union Jack incident. Long doesn't mention that he cancelled the second day, which was a Sunday and the Smiths/Morrissey fan club all turned up on coaches from Manchester and they would not believe us (I was a steward) when we told them that `rock legends' - `The Farm' were playing instead (tragic and funny in equal measures). We also have grunge and the betrayal of Kurt Cobain and then move onto Brit pop. The book ends at the year 2000, with an epilogue bringing us up to date. Pat Long has done a labour of love; this is extremely well written and researched. More than that it is absolutely engrossing and very human. There are stories that will make you laugh (Swells' favourite band) and cry the tale of Nick Kent and stuff you knew nothing about, like Michael Winner once wrote for them.

I utterly loved this book and can only commend it in the highest terms, it helps if you loved the paper and or music or indeed music journalism, but what is great to see is it is grounded, mostly, in the real and ever changing world.
A good read, certainly made me want to get back into writing about music. Jan. 11 2014
By Grant Muir - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read, certainly made me want to get back into writing about music. I feel a few more personal anecdotes from the writers would have been good & less focus on the circulation figures.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Another Great Book from Amazon Nov. 3 2012
By John S. King - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent source of information on what I consider to be one of the most respected music publications in the world

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