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London's Calling! And it's well worth listening !!!!!!,
This review is from: In the City: A Celebration of London Music (Hardcover)
Almost every major city in the world, capital or not, can lay claim to a history of music and song, written or inspired by its' natural beauty and characteristics, and London is no different. `In The City: A Celebration of London Music' by Paul Du Noyer, he traces music from its origins way back in the 12th Century and up to the present day.
Along the way Du Noyer covers numerous genres of music, from the Canterbury tales through Victorian Music to the witty lyrics of Lily Allan in 2008.
Not only does he deal with Londoners, it's also about the artists who came to record here, who dropped by for a visit, so Bob Dylan and The Beatles, to name but two, are as much a part of this city as the Kinks are. It's helpful that the author has had access to many of these artists over the years, and segments from many of his interviews are used throughout to great effect, presenting a wealth of information throughout the 300 pages, that might this book so informative.
Hearing the late Dusty Springfield proclaim "I'm not English...I've got nothing against the English, and I'm glad I was born here. But I'm glad my mother came from Kerry...and I can weep at Riverdance on TV" is just now of the many jewels sprinkled throughout this book.
Ronnie Kray's shotting of a rival gangster while the Walker Brothers played on the jukebox in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel is priceless, with Kray rumoured to have said "the sun ain't gonna shine for him anymore" as he fired the fatal shot.
We learn that `mod' is short for Modernist (not modern), and why `Waterloo Sunset' is many people's favourite London song, as Ray Davies compares it to the classic `Casablanca'.
On the sadder side of London there's the legendary Ewan MacColl (as his daughter Kirsty), both of whom are now deceased and the legendary Marc Bolan, and the tragic end to his life in London. As Mickey Finn says "He was a big part of many people's lives. He would have been in his glory today. He probably is".
His friend David Bowie also loved London. "I've lived in London and been brought up here and find it's a great subject to write songs about" he states. We also find out where the name Ziggy Stardust came from.
As the music of London moves further into the 70s, there's David Essex, The Sparks, Kate Bush, Queen and Dire Straits to name but a few. Then there's the brilliant `Up the Junction' by Squeeze which takes us to Clapham, and Du Noyer reminds us that this song was a `hit record', without having a chorus.
As we enter the 80s a new legion of musicians appears. Spandau Ballet, Wham! Pet Shop Boys, and Culture Club, the latter consisting of lead singer Boy George, who spent most of his youth hanging outside David Bowie's home we're informed.
In the 90s we get East 17 and Soul II Soul, along with the whole Britpop phenomenon, which included the likes of Suede, Pulp and Blur, before bringing the book and the London influence right up to date with the likes of Dizzee Rascal, and Amy Winehouse.
There's also a list of 140 songs that the author recommends you should listen to, and just looking down the list makes you realise how much to London we should be thankful of, for influencing so many great songs and artists. There is so much more in here that I'm only scratching the surface here.
As the author says himself "London music is a projection of the self against a constantly shifting canvas of other people's bodies.......but every song is an act of reaching out". London, and Paul Du Noyer, we salute you.