5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not just for musos,
This review is from: The History of the NME: High Times and Low Lives at the World's Most Famous Music Magazine (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was a little apprehensive before starting this book - I consider myself to be a music fan but certainly not an expert and I thought it might be a bit too earnest and intense for me, but thankfully I was wrong.
Pat Long has produced a very informative and entertaining guide to a British institution, starting with its humble beginnings when Accordian Times joined forces with Musical Express, and later morphed into the New Musical Express in 1952. The sections covering the 1950s and 60s seemed quite brief compared to those which dealt with the late 70s to mid-90s (my era). For me the book really hit its stride when it reached 1970 and the legendary writers Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent are holding sway. This was before my time but Long successfully conveys just how powerful and influential these journalists were, often eclipsing the artists they were writing about in terms of fame and notoriety. After the punk explosion the mantle is handed to Parsons and Burchill, but the in-fighting and drug taking carry on pretty much as before.
The story stops in 2000 because, as Long explains, the digital revolution had such a profound effect on the way we listen to and read about music that it's really another story in its own right. Those of us of a certain age will always look back nostalgically on the NME and its ilk, whatever form music journalism takes in the future.
As well as following the numerous rises and falls of the paper's fortunes, this book is also a fascinating chronicle of alternative and indie British music from the second half of the 20th century. A must for those who were involved in the scene and those (like me) who looked on admiringly from the sidelines.