Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Amazon Fire TV Amazon Pantry Food & Drink Beauty Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars26
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle EditionChange
Price:£5.49
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 9 February 2002
Fabulous book. I picked it up in the library but will certainly buy a couple of copies to give as presents. It's full up with mad little anecdotes from start to finish. An original page-turner which seems to cover every event, trend and star in the history of British pop music - and to connect each of them with their own drug. It all makes sense when you read it anyway. The constant reminders of the gay influence over the British pop industry of the last 50 years is quite hilarious at times, and Simon Napier Bell's own memories are full of wit and no regret. Recommended completely.
0Comment9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 October 2002
I enjoyed every word of this wonderful account of the British music business. I was born in 1960 and found that this was a reminder of the soundtrack of my life, from Dusty Springfield, through the days of Marc Bolan and Ziggy Stardust to the greed of the eighties.
The way in which Napier-Bell links the sounds of each era with the most popular drug could have been a bit of a cheap gimmick, but it works beautifully and is never less than totally convincing.
Anyone who's interested in popular music should read it.
0Comment6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This book comes loaded with great raves on the cover by many well known writers and critics on UK pop music - why, is easy to see in that the book tells more of the truth by a longtime insider in a manner that none of those writers have ever approached.
Napier- Bell has a simple thesis which is that UK pop owes it all to drugs and gay culture from the 1950s to date and certainly tells enough scurrilous but amusing anecdotes to support the proposition. His own predelictions (being gay but not into drugs) allow a writing style that seems to match Kenneth Anger and Hunter Thompson in sparing no blushes but also making telling points that this was sadly how it all was.
The most incisive aspects of the book and that justify it being a great read are on the wheeling and dealing by artiste's managers and the record companies and the tricks played along the way to maintain their control, with "rip off" being the only term applicable. With his own involvment with the Yardbirds and Wham being honestly told, the story has a level of depth and range that is rare in other pop books and avoids the researcher/avid fan tomes that litter this area of writing.
An excellent airplane or beach read - gripping but enjoyable.
0Comment4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 April 2001
This is the most readable and thought-provoking history of the music business that I've read. Although you might be forgiven for thinking that gay sex was just as influential as drugs, the book is a shrewd and honest insight into a business which has had a major influence on youth, and now adult, culture for the past 50 years. It may have taken 3 years to write - and if drugs is so influential then it's hardly surprising - but Black Vinvyl White powder was well worth waiting for.
0Comment5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I've managed to read a preview of this book, and if you at all interested in the history of British music, and the influence drugs has had in this fickle industry over the years then this well written, easy to read book is for you. Really enjoyable. Note: Fans of Japan and Wham / George Michael will particulary like it!
0Comment4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 February 2009
I sort of felt ripped off when I first read this book as it was not what was promised on the cover. Then I read the author's book about Wham! which was fantastic (sic)! I woke up to his raconteur style and went back to 'Black Vinyl', and appreciated it much more. Napier Bell has been at the centre of several major developments in the music industry so why not run it as a sort of memoir? It's certainly less self-indulgent that Walter Yetnikoff's book. There seem to be a few errors-- Billy Currie RE-formed Ultravox with Midge Ure for the 'Vienna' album, and Band Aid's song was called 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', not 'Feed The World'. And I thought Asia formed in the early Eighties, not the Seventies. But this is all relatively innocuous, given the wealth of information in the book.
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 November 2010
I don't usually review the items I buy on here. I thought I must on this occasion however, because I think some of the reviews of this excellent book are a bit unfair.

Firstly, I think Napier-Bell is an excellent writer and raconteur. I've read all three of his books this year and enjoyed all of them immensley. Black Vinyl, White Powder is the last in the series of Napier-Bell books and the final one I read. Whatever you think about him, the guy's been there, seen it and done it. He managed the Yardbirds, Bolan and Wham to name but a few, wrote the lyrics to Dusty Springfield's 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me' and had friendships with the likes of Brian Epstein and Kit Lambert. There are no heirs and graces with Napier-Bell - he tells it how it is in an entertaining (and honest to the point of sometimes being offensive) way.

His knowledge of the British music scene is first class and and in all three of his books you'll learn new things about the heavyweights involved in it. I can't recommend this book highly enough and if you enjoy it (which I'm sure you will) I would encourage you to check out his other two excellent books.

It's one of the best books about pop and rock music I've read - and I've read quite a few.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 September 2012
This is not a cheesy book whatsoever. It is absolutely accurate about what really goes on. Just look at the banks ! It is one of the few books that I really didn't want to finish. I got despondent as I neared the last chapter because I was enjoying the book that much. Plus, the author has over 50 years experience in the industry and has the decency to tell the truth about what really goes on without being falsely loyal to keeping quiet for undeserving greedy people. . . A lot of artists forget their manager, and what their manager did for them when they were in tears on the phone begging to be made a star again. Or just to be made a star. So it's fair to hear what an experienced manager has to say, avoiding a one sided situation. Well respected and savvy music with extensive experience. I would even say 5 minutes of this guy's advice could speak 5 years ! Enjoy. . .
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 November 2014
I have read the first book in this "trilogy" and he does tend to repeat himself a bit. He is good fun though and writes entertainingly. I was disappointed that he didn't go into much detail about the Band "Japan" because his being their Manager was one of the reasons I bought this book.
He briefly mentions the time they made the Tin Drum album but doesn't even mention the Gentlemen Take Polaroids album - so either he wasn't their manager then or he isn't interested in telling us much about the Band.
Its not a bad read but I found myself skim reading bits towards the end.
I want to know about Japan and George Michael but he doesn't really tell us very much about them.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 June 2014
Brilliant book on the British (and to a great extent American) music scene of the last 60 years or so. Written by someone on the inside with no axe to grind and very frank. Absolutely loved it and cannot recommend it high enough, if you're interested in this subject.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse