5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Star-studded memoir - but not rock stars,
This review is from: The History of the NME: High Times and Low Lives at the World's Most Famous Music Magazine (Hardcover)
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I confess I was never really an NME man. I first got into music in a big way in the 80's, so my staples were Smash Hits (greatest magazine ever...?) and then, when I hit the 6th form, Q. The NME was always a little too "out there" for my musical tastes; although, to be fair, at that time it was also going through one of its "leaner" spells (as outlined in this book). But this was still a fascinating read. It races through the first 10+ years - understandably so, as it's only from the late sixties that the story starts to get interesting. The golden years of the paper (late sixties to early eighties, and then the brief nineties resurgence) are then outlined in depth, with input from all the names you would want to see. And what a list of names - Charles Shaar Murray, Nick Kent, Mick Farren, Tony Parsons, Julie Burchill, Danny Baker, Danny Kelly, Mark Ellen, Paul DuNoyer, Jon Savage, Steve Sutherland, Andrew Collins, Paolo Hewitt, Stuart Maconie, Steve Lamacq, David Quantick. All brilliant, and responsible for much of the best writing on rock and pop in the last thirty years in the NME, Smash Hits, Q, Select, Mojo, etc. The interviewees are candid about fallouts, drugs, the leftist politics of the paper, industrial action, and the leaner times - and this makes for a thoroughly absorbing read. Ok, it skips briskly through Britpop and the last ten years hardly get mentioned - but then the NME is probably on its last legs as a physical magazine, thanks to the impact of the internet and the paucity of good music at the moment. So this book is as much a memorial to the good old days as a history, which makes me a little sad. I might not have often read the paper - but a world without it would be a much sadder place. If you have any interest in the music of the seventies, eighties and nineties then this is a fantastic and nostalgic read. Now, can we have a similar book written about the mighty Smash Hits please?