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The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock [Paperback]

John Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Feb 2010

'The loveliest – and certainly the most human – book about pop music I've ever read … A delightful and humane soap opera, a real page-turner, full of rounded and entirely recognisable characters.'

Jon Ronson, Daily Telegraph

THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF BRITPOP – BLUR, OASIS, ELASTICA, SUEDE & TONY BLAIR

Beginning in 1994 and closing in the first months of 1998, the UK passed through a cultural moment as distinct and as celebrated as any since the war. Founded on rock music, celebrity, boom-time economics and fleeting political optimism – this was 'Cool Britannia'. Records sold in their millions, a new celebrity elite emerged and Tony Blair's Labour Party found itself, at long last, returned to government.

Drawing on interviews from all the major bands – including Oasis, Blur, Elastica and Suede – from music journalists, record executives and those close to government, The Last Party charts the rise and fall of the Britpop movement. John Harris was there; and in this gripping new book he argues that the high point of British music's cultural impact also signalled its effective demise – If rock stars were now friends of the government, then how could they continue to matter?

Britpop in numbers:

•There were an astonishing 2.6 million ticket applications for the Oasis gig at Knebworth in 1996. 1 in 24 of the British public wanted to see them play. In the end the band played to 250,000 fans across two nights with a guest list that ran to 7,000.

•’Definitely, Maybe’, Oasis's debut album, went straight to No 1, selling 100,000 copies in 4 days and outselling the Three Tenors in second place by a factor of 50%

•On its first day in the shops Oasis's second album, ‘What's The Story, Morning Glory’, was selling at a rate of 2 copies a minute through HMV's London stores.

• By 1997 Creation Records (which had been founded 12 years earlier with a bank loan of £1,000 by an ex-British Rail Clerk Alan McGee) announced a turnover of £36million thanks almost entirely to one band: Oasis.


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The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock + Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock + Just For One Day: Adventures in Britpop
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (26 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007134738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007134731
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘THE LAST PARTY is a title that deserves to stick around the book charts.' Mark Lawson, Guardian

'THE LAST PARTY is that rare thing, a book principally about rock musicians that is a compulsive page-turner.’ The Sunday Times

'Compelling … it reminds us what a corrosive and mean place the pop world can be.' Mojo

'A fine, bittersweet read.' Q Magazine

From the Back Cover

Beginning in 1994 and closing in the first months of 1998, the UK passed through a cultural moment as distinct and as celebrated as any since the war. Its spark was the music that became known as Britpop, which soon spawned the monster called 'Cool Britannia'. Records sold in their millions, a new celebrity elite emerged and Tony Blair's Labour party found itself, at long last, returned to government.

Drawing on interviews from all the major bands – including Oasis, Blur, Elastica and Suede – along with music business players and political insiders, 'The Last Party' charts the rise and fall of Britpop: its trailblazing beginnings, its mega-selling peak, and its eventual drug-fuelled demise. John Harris was there; and in this gripping new book he argues that the high point of British music's cultural impact also signalled its effective demise – for if rock stars were now friends of the government, then how could they continue to matter?

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading it and while I couldn't put it down at the same time I was desperate not to reach the end. I was a student during the final years of Britpop and "The Last Party" is a fascinating insight into the music, people and politics of the era. Even just reading about the backgrounds and music of Blur, Oasis, Elastica and Suede was enough to evoke the memories of the day Labour got into power - the only day that the university caretaker was pleasant to the students! If you don't buy another book this year, then buy this - it's more than worth it.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography of the Britpop years 18 Jun 2003
Format:Paperback
This excellent book about the Britpop and the "Cool Britannia" years in the mid 1990's. The book has an extremely broad appeal. It can be read as a cultural/sociological piece or just as a music biography in it's own right. The writing is perfect for both schools - it's always readable, informative and descriptive but never sensationalist or patronising. You get a lot of detailed information about Blur, Oasis, Pulp and the other Britpop bands. The information on Blur alone is as thorough as 3862 days - their official biography - but also comes from a neutral standpoint. Blur's Country House and Oasis's Roll With It were both rather poor singles and some of the bandwagon-jumping Britpop bands were simply plain awful. Harris is not afraid to say so in no uncertain terms. Oasis in particular are often painted as stupid and graceless yobs throughout, particularly towards the end of the book as they take too much Cocaine and release the disappointing album Be Here Now.
Harris tells the story of the 1990's chronologically starting by setting the context with the Smiths, Happy Mondays and 1980's Acid House. Then the rise of Grunge & Suede and the start of the Britpop years are explored. The music and culture of 1994 - 1997 are poured over. Everything from the emergence of Loaded Magazine to Jarvis Cocker's stage invasion at the Brit Awards is analysed and excellently researched.
Harris bases his story on the relationships within the story. The romantic links, the fighting and animosities between Albarn/Frishman/Anderson/Blair/Gallagher are all examined in great detail. This gives the book a very strong structure and focus and is surprisingly coherent as a whole.
This book is also well worth reading for the music fan because so many details and facts are revealed for the first time.
Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first book on a lost music scene. 3 July 2003
Format:Paperback
At last a book about the 90s music scene known as 'Britpop'. Harris cleaverly intertwines the music scene and the rise of New Labour. The book begins with Suede (the band who arguably started the britpop ball rolling) and takes all the way through Elastica, Blur, Pulp, Oasis and wannabes such as the ill fated Menswear. As the book continues we see how british fashion, art and culutre in general had changed and was marketed to be 'cool' and it was no suprise then that Alistar Campbell helped market the term 'cool Britannia' and link it to New Labour. An interesting read which Im sure will be the first of many on this particular subject, but what I enjoyed the most was being reminded of some great albums that were released between 1994-1997. It really was a great few years to be a music fan. So if you have an interest in Britpop and rock music in general I reccomend this book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable. 10 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
John Harris on the subject of Britpop is a dream combination. While effortlessly contextualising the phenomenon of Britpop, getting great material out of the major players, evoking the memory of those halycon years with perfectly placed details of what we were wearing, drinking, thinking, listening to, he is also a natural story-teller. The love story (Brett/Justine/Damon), the arrival of the boys from Burnage, the shift from hope and self-belief to drug-induced paranoia and disappointment is realised with the brilliance of a great novelist. And with Blair's steady rise to power playing out in parallel to the the rock-soap-opera, the book becomes the essential document of a decade that began with hope and ended in cocaine-addled cynicism. Top stuff.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Account of Britpop Years 17 Jun 2003
Format:Paperback
This book was something else. At last, a truly objective look at the key figures of mid '90s dominant groups. Sure, with time and distance, it's easy to criticize the once mighty Gallagher Bros., but it's hugely astonishing how the Oasis machine bullied and intimidated everyone around them and had the media in their collective pocket (how else to explain the sub-standard "Be Here Now" receiving nearly unanimous praise upon its release?). Add to that the Gallaghers' (Liam in particular) appalling behavior in numerous recollections and you've got a great read on your hands! It doesn't matter if you love the bands (Oasis from '94-'96, Pulp)or hate them (never liked Blur), this book is essential. Don't pass it by.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought from a wish list of a relative who was really pleased with The Last Party, good read and would recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it! 12 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So engrossing. Harris captures the the turbulence of the epoch, British artist's opposition to the Americanisation of the UK music scene, the surreal highs and lows of the Britpop years and the politicians who exploited a cultural phenomena.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Copy 30 Dec 2010
By Gazza
Format:Paperback
Amazon recomment "Britpop-Cool Britiania" as a purchase with this but don't be fooled it is the same book just a revised publisher. It caused me to sent what is a duplicate book to the same person as a Christmas gift.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Harris lets his Blur bias get the better of him.
After reading the book, i contacted Harris with this email;

John,
I've just read `The Last Party' and as somebody who lived through the `Britpop' years in their... Read more
Published on 11 Jun 2012 by Dale
5.0 out of 5 stars The defining book of an era
The early 1990s was something of a low period for rock and indie music in the UK. The so called Madchester era had come and gone and the music scene was dominated by the American... Read more
Published on 3 July 2007 by D. Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars Hang our heads in shame
I liked Britpop. You liked Britpop. It was great, wasn't it?

It takes a dispassionate observer like John Harris to open our eyes. Read more
Published on 16 Jun 2007 by Mr K
3.0 out of 5 stars Memorable moments but fundamentally flawed
A well written romp through the Britpop years, this is a great nostalgic read for those of us who turned 30 around the same time as Noel and Damon in the mid 90s. Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2004 by "niazalam"
3.0 out of 5 stars Memorable moments, but fundamentally flawed!
A well written romp through the Britpop years, this is a great nostalgic read for those of us who turned 30 around the same time as Noel and Damon in the mid 90s. Read more
Published on 4 Aug 2004 by "niazalam"
3.0 out of 5 stars brit-flop?
i was looking forward to reading this book as the whole britpop era is when i really started to get into music and develop my own tastes. Read more
Published on 20 Mar 2004 by M. black
2.0 out of 5 stars Too negative and too anti-Oasis.
Now, I always look back on the 'Britpop' era as MY era. A time when I could finally put away by Smiths records and be entertained by a new breed of British musicians. Read more
Published on 11 Jan 2004 by TheLaughingGeek
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