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The History of the NME: High Times and Low Lives at the World's Most Famous Music Magazine Hardcover – Import, 22 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Portico (22 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907554483
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907554483
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"[A] riveting history." --"Philadelphia Weekly "

Pat Long is a highly fluid writer who can move a narrative along at a brisk pace. --Classic Rock

If Long s book is to be read as a eulogy to music print media s past, it couldn t be more vibrant or loving. --Record Collector

Racy, illuminating and often salutary. --Uncut best books of 2012

If Long s book is to be read as a eulogy to music print media s past, it couldn t be more vibrant or loving. --Record Collector

Racy, illuminating and often salutary. --Uncut best books of 2012

If Long s book is to be read as a eulogy to music print media s past, it couldn t be more vibrant or loving. --Record Collector

About the Author

Pat Long was assistant editor at NME during the 2000s. He has written about music for, among others, The Guardian, Uncut and Q. He is a features editor at The Times and lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Og Oggilby TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Author Pat Long has done a great job of annotating the history of the New Musical Express in this highly readable, very entertaining and often very funny book. Of course, for me, being in my early fifties, the paper was in its Golden Era in the mid to late seventies, when great writers such as Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Roy Carr, Mick Farren, Ian MacDonald et al held sway. They were often more rock and roll than the acts they wrote about, and guided me to more great music than I could ever reflect in this review. I've not read the NME in about ten years, and in truth, I felt that it started going down the tubes in the early 80s, when the frankly incomprehensible likes of Ian Penman and Paul Morley were in the ascendant. However, Pat Long actualy enthuses me to perhaps pick up a copy and see how it's going. He doesn't stint in cataloguing the travails of various writers drug use, and the debilitating addictions which derailed the career of Nick Kent, for example, and led to the shock early death of Pete Erskine - a sad waste and loss of talent. There is an underlying melancholia within the story that kind of acknowledges that maybe music has had it's day, that it doesn't carry the same weight or importance as it did thirty-odd years ago, reduced to merely another entertainment option, along with 24-hour TV, computer games and the world wide web. Music was more important when there was only one national radio station, and you had to look hard to find the good stuff, and it simply meant more, a soundtrack to good and bad times, and the NME helped define those times. Long ends on an optimistic note, and confidently predicts that the paper will still be around to celebrate another sixty years. Me, I'm not so sure, but I can wholeheartedly recommend this excellent book to anyone with more than a passing interest in the history of British rock music, and how words can often inform music.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those with an interest in the history of music it is no surprise to learn that NME has roots in the accordian 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 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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Fillery VINE VOICE on 21 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I confess I was never really an NME man. I first got into music in a big way in the 80's, so my staples were Smash Hits (greatest magazine ever...?) and then, when I hit the 6th form, Q. The NME was always a little too "out there" for my musical tastes; although, to be fair, at that time it was also going through one of its "leaner" spells (as outlined in this book). But this was still a fascinating read. It races through the first 10+ years - understandably so, as it's only from the late sixties that the story starts to get interesting. The golden years of the paper (late sixties to early eighties, and then the brief nineties resurgence) are then outlined in depth, with input from all the names you would want to see. And what a list of names - Charles Shaar Murray, Nick Kent, Mick Farren, Tony Parsons, Julie Burchill, Danny Baker, Danny Kelly, Mark Ellen, Paul DuNoyer, Jon Savage, Steve Sutherland, Andrew Collins, Paolo Hewitt, Stuart Maconie, Steve Lamacq, David Quantick. All brilliant, and responsible for much of the best writing on rock and pop in the last thirty years in the NME, Smash Hits, Q, Select, Mojo, etc. The interviewees are candid about fallouts, drugs, the leftist politics of the paper, industrial action, and the leaner times - and this makes for a thoroughly absorbing read. Ok, it skips briskly through Britpop and the last ten years hardly get mentioned - but then the NME is probably on its last legs as a physical magazine, thanks to the impact of the internet and the paucity of good music at the moment. So this book is as much a memorial to the good old days as a history, which makes me a little sad. I might not have often read the paper - but a world without it would be a much sadder place. If you have any interest in the music of the seventies, eighties and nineties then this is a fantastic and nostalgic read. Now, can we have a similar book written about the mighty Smash Hits please?
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