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The History of the NME: High Times and Low Lives at the World's Most Famous Music Magazine [Import] [Hardcover]

Pat Long
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Dec 2012
'The NME mattered to all those generations who grew up with music at the centre of their universe. The NME never had a truer chronicler than Pat Long.' Tony Parsons Since it was founded in 1952, the New Musical Express has played a central part in the British love affair with pop music. Snotty, confrontational, enthusiastic, sarcastic: the NME landing on the doormat every Wednesday was the high point of any music fan's week, whether they were listening to The Beatles, Bowie or Blur. The Sex Pistols sang about it, Nick Hornby claims he regrets not working for it and a whole host of household names - Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill, Nick Kent and Mick Farren, Steve Lamacq and Stuart Maconie - started their career writing for it. This authoritative history, written by former assistant editor, Pat Long, is an insider's account of the high times and low lives of the world's most famous, and most influential, music magazine. The fights, the bands, the brawls, the haircuts, the egos and much more. This is the definitive - and first - book about the infamous NME. Word count: 85,000

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The History of the NME: High Times and Low Lives at the World's Most Famous Music Magazine + How Soon is Now?: The Madmen and Mavericks who made Independent Music 1975-2005 + Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Own Past
Price For All Three: 28.44

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Portico (4 Dec 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 (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"[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

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rattling good rock and roll read... 30 Jan 2012
By Og Oggilby VINE VOICE
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars JIM 28 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The History of the NME reads like a history of a large dysfunctional family. Many of the journalists had no professionalism and placed their own egos, disestablishmentarianism and serious drug abuse habits ahead of the artists they were supposed to be reporting on to live their own rock star lifestyle.
Alan Smith portrays himself as the saviour of the New Musical Express by hiring hippies and young new writers from the underground press. But then shortly after hiring Nick Kent, Alan calls him into his office to tell him that IPC had done a survey; "We found that they don't read the paper at all. They buy it to look at the photographs; the only thing they bother reading is the f***ing gossip column." (p. 68). Not surprisingly Alan Smith didn't last 2 years in the Editor's seat in the difficult position of balancing the financial needs of a commercial enterprise and the idiosyncrasies of its staff writers. His successors didn't fare much better. Some maturing enough to realize that returning to the suburbs and a supportive family in the evening sure beats partying all night with egotistical wanna be rock stars and workmates.
I purchased the book because I was interested in reading about the first 20 years of the NME during the 50's and 60's, but unfortunately I found that it is superficially covered in less than a quarter of the book. Andy Gray started out as editor of the Record Mirror prior to being hired as editor of the New Musical Express in May of 1958. He led the NME through ups and downs as editor for close to 14 years then was promoted to managing editor when new blood was needed. Yet there is no indication that Andy Gray or his family were ever interviewed for the book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, and not just for NME readers 14 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I suspect that the NME is a publication that many people will read but most of them will, at most, have read it for only a few years before moving on either because of change in taste or musical preference. My era for reading the NME was the late seventies when New Wave was at its peak; once the initial New Wave storm had blown itself out and interest started to wane so did my interest in the NME. When I first read the NME articles written by the likes of Charles Shaar Murray, Mick Farren and Nick Kent had seemed not only relevant but also important, but just a few years later much of the stuff churned out in the NME seemed, to my time altered taste, to be practically unreadable.

Because my acquaintance with the NME was so brief I had suspected that the vast majority of this book about its history would hold little interest for me but I was wrong; this proved to be an absorbing book that not only provides a history of the NME but it is also acts as an alternative view of the last sixty years of rock music and youth culture.

The NME has always been a home to some of the most gifted and outspoken names in rock journalism and I found it particularly interesting to read how some of them allowed their egos to outstrip their talent and how others embraced the rock `n' roll lifestyle a little too much, becoming hopelessly addicted to booze and hard drugs.

Whilst I feel that the book could have been improved by a more inventive use of photo's this is still a publication that is well worth seeking out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift for someone in hospital.
For anyone of a certain age who read the NME this is truly a perfect gift. Packed well and posted as agreed. Thank you
Published 2 months ago by P. Keelin
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed History
On leaving journalism college back in the early 70s my ambition was to work for the New Musical Express. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr. Peter Steward
5.0 out of 5 stars How things have changed
Really illustrates how music journalism has changed so much ! Very good interesting read! This I would highly recommend folks !
Published 8 months ago by Ian Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Its only rock N roll but i like it
I purchased this as a present for someone middle aged tha would remember tha 70's + rock ldols. it was a nice looking hardback book containing the history and stories behind some... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mama Chill
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing - BUT NOT LONG ENOUGH
What a fantastic account of British music's most significant weekly publication. Its all here, the innocent period, then the drugs [ and there appeared to be a lot more heroin... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Paul M
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than a Crass B-side not as good as a Costello best of
Really looked forward to this as I was a huge fan of the paper for many years, worked better not surprisingly while detailing the personalitys and anecdotes from the papers... Read more
Published 20 months ago by uncle wald
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating history
A confession: I'm not a regular reader of the NME, nor have I ever been one. I'd occasionally buy a copy if the cover caught my eye, but I've maybe bought a dozen or so issues... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Peter Lee
1.0 out of 5 stars Chapter missing
Where's the chapter on their hatred of Feeder for reasons unknown to man? I think I've found it here:

After passing the NME entry exam by answering `yes' to the test's... Read more
Published 23 months ago by spaceagehero
4.0 out of 5 stars Not essential but very enjoyable.
I ordered this off Amazon Vine as a curiosity. To be honest, the NME and I have never really crossed. Read more
Published on 12 July 2012 by A. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to read
Pat Long has put together an absolute brilliant book. Each chapter is fantastically written and captures the music,drugs, fashion, people and politics at that time. Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2012 by Entropy
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