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In the City: A Celebration of London Music

In the City: A Celebration of London Music [Kindle Edition]

Paul Du Noyer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"The first book properly to anatomise the popular music of our capital is a mighty achievement - and a cracking read ... An engrossing story, beautifully told." (The Sunday Times - Music Book of the Year)

"A dense and colourful account of one of the most vibrant musical centres in the world, In the City almost puts you on that train to London" (Guardian)

"(An) exhilarating new history of the music that defines the capital" (Evening Standard)

"Du Noyer's crowning achievement with In the City, however, is to tie all the strands together ever so neatly without affecting a smug resolution. Its a celebration of the citys music through the centuries, for sure, but its more than just that" (Irish Times)

"Du Noyer digs impressively deep for insight ... it evokes London as a place of converged cultures, found sounds and infinite possibilities" (Metro)

Book Description

The definitive history of the world's most innovative musical city

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1816 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0753515741
  • Publisher: Virgin Digital (10 Nov 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RS33U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #408,436 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Paul Du Noyer's newest book is the biography of Deaf School, the influential art-rock band formed 40 years ago in Liverpool. Paul's writing career began on Britain's legendary music weekly the New Musical Express. He later joined the launch team of Q magazine, becoming its editor in the early 1990s. He was then the founding editor of Mojo magazine and later worked on the launches of Heat and The Word. Along the way his interviewees have ranged from Paul McCartney to Pavarotti, and Madonna to David Bowie. His first full-length book was We All Shine On, a study of John Lennon's solo years, later re-published as Working Class Hero. It was followed by Wondrous Place, about the popular music of his home town Liverpool. More recently there has been In The City: A Celebration Of London Music. All three have appeared in various updated editions, and the latter two books are now available on Kindle. Du Noyer has edited, or been a contributor or consultant, on many other titles besides. You can find a full account of his work at

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars London Pride 6 July 2009
Tremendously good book.I enjoyed it for the erudition worn lightly, and for the wit and warmth of the writing. I was drawn into the enthralling story of how London has been the inspiration and home of so many and various music makers. It ranges from the ballad-makers and tavern tunesmiths, through music hall, Noel COward, Mods, and glam rock to
the cheeky Lily Allens and sharptongued Streets of the present day. The author has taken a huge and daunting subject and shaped it beautifully,bringing a wealth of fascinating information about London, and about the talented and peculiar characters who were enthralled, infuriated or overwhelmed by the City, and moved to make music about it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Capital Melting Pot for Music 12 Aug 2009
By H. meiehofer VINE VOICE
London may be the most important city in the history of popular music. Others may no doubt cite Los Angeles or New York but Paul Du Noyer makes a very convincing case for his choice.

In the City has an ambitious reach, covering more than eight centuries of the development of popular music, although it concentrates on the 20th Century. Du Noyer makes interesting linkages; from Elizabethan taverns to Victorian music halls to Ian Dury. A particularly interesting example is the Threepenny Opera from 1720 (itself was based on a folk tradition) which gave use the characters McHeath, Jenny Divers and Suky Tawdry who featured in Mack the Knife performed by the likes of Sinatra and Bobby Darin in Las Vegas.

London appears here as the great big melting pot (aided by being the capital of the largest Empire the world has known) where musical traditions from across the planet met and cross-fertilised; a process which carries on to the present day.

This is an excellent history of the city and its profound effect on popular music. The book does not have the same coherence as Du Noyer's previous work on Liverpool. However, London itself does not have the same coherence. It is a much larger and more complicated metropolis with many different "scenes" active at the same time. The book is packed with interesting anecdotes and insights.

This book should be read by anyone who has an interest in popular music and its origins. I just hope Mr Du Noyer turns his spotlight on New York next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive 12 Sep 2011
Highly readable account. Perhaps a bit too comprehensive; you feel that just about every London song is going to be dredged up, no matter how tenuous, and nothing quite captures the vibe of Philip Norman's Shout!, with its paragraphs about Swinging London circa Revolver and Abbey Road.

There's also that fact that the author overdoes the Small Faces acclaim a bit. To be fair, I can now see why Itchygoo Park is very much of its time, but it doesn't transcend its time either, unlike other stuff by The Who and The Beatles. Often he'll enthuse about some bit of music and you'll look it up on youtube and frankly, it aint all that! Still, at least it gives you the option. He does plenty on Ray Davies, with good reason, but also because you sense Davies has time to spend shooting the breeze, not having made Macca's moolah. In that sense the book has an air of melancholy and flat beer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a very lively and entertaining book that explains how London's identity as a city has been so closely tied to the development of popular music. There are fascinating chapters covering the rise and fall of the music hall, the emergence of rock'n'roll and pop in all its various forms since the early 1960s, the blues rock movement and the mods, Bolan and Bowie , punk, new wave, the new romantics, as well as their descendants Brit pop. The narrative moves seamlessly through each of London's musical phases and the author shows just how much each generation influenced the next one. Boy George took his cue from Bowie and Bolan, The Jam and the Clash from The Who and The Kinks. And bands like Ian Dury and the Blockheads and Madness essentially repackaged many of London's theatrical musical hall traditions. My favourite passage is the description of Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce of late 60s psychedelic blues power trio Cream live on stage "Baker... would stride about looking like a magnificently debauched Jacobean duke, then settle down to batter the hell out of his drum kit. All mad, panting, hollow eyed, many limbed ferocity, his was an artful blend of frenzy and dexterity. Jack Bruce, the bassist was not so theatrical but no less intense - hunched over his instrument, fingers tugging urgently at its four fat strings, face screwed up in agonies of concentration. Then he would raise his head to the mike and let forth torrents of wounded jazz poetry in a Caledonian soul bellow.
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