Just bought this book and it's great. V interesting how much musicians' surroundings influenced their work (so obvious in bands like The Smiths, Joy Division, Blur) and this book is great for that- tells you which schools and council flats they were brought up in, what lyrics were about their home towns etc Also liked the album cover shots- where and how they were taken and stories behind them. I found out one of my favourite songs (Mad World) was written five minutes away from where I'm sitting now, as well as the stories behind the songs about places like Primrose Hill and nearby (for me) Solsbury Hill. Slightly disheartened to learn that Ray Davies didn't actually write Waterloo Sunset about Waterloo.
Also made me want to check out bands I hadn't bothered with before, such as Half Man Half Biscuit who sound hilarious.
Great for those `did you know...' moments in the pub.
I bought this book as a present for my father but ended up keeping it myself - it's very funny, entertainingly written and informative. Even the author's biography on the back inside cover made me laugh. It covers all my favourite English bands and artists and the author is clearly in love with Kate Bush! I particularly liked the book's quirky themed features like The Margaret Thatcher Songbook and Tips For Aspiring Bands. I'll have to buy another one for my dad.
You don't just get the usual info about the bands and singers but an entire potted history of England thrown in.It covers every known genre of music dealt with in seperate sections of the book which starts in London travels South then up North My own town of Blackpool even had a couple of record labels one of which was reissued on Cherry Red's Punk Collector series but this isn't mentioned because obviously there's nothing too obscure otherwise it would be full of Indie bands like Stitched Back Foot Airman from Stockport.But there was a similar one to this in the 90s just for Manchester bands called And God Made Manchester
There are also many pages with non-geographical related information, such as: Progressive Rock, Strange album titles, famous songs inspired by English people, The Margaret Thatcher "Songbook"; Football and Pop music; Rock myths debunked; Rock films; jailhouse rockers and many more. (pity that most of them don't appear in the table of contents)
Even the Rutles and Spinal Tap make notable appearances...
There's a very funny section with "top tips for aspiring bands".
The paper, text and pictures print quality are consistently excellent. I'll again compare to the above mentioned Rock Atlas. Both have, for instance, a picture of Roxy Music's Siren album cover taken on a beach near Ellins Tower. The Building on Rock Atlas can hardly be seen because of the picture's print quality, even though it's actually bigger than the one that appears here, which is much sharper and the building can easily be discerned.
Another similar comparison can be made with Who's Next album cover...
Overall great buy, even though currently not a cheap one.
This is the book everyone should read if you want to know "anything" about UK GIG venues and who' played there Its a total belter of a book and a even better read, do yourself some justice, go make yourself a cup of tea , sit down and immerse yourself in this book, FRANKLY , it doesn't get any better than this FOLKS!!!!!!
This is a book for dipping in and out of in short doses, and as such is ideal to have sitting in the bathroom for when you've nothing better to do. It's not long before you're struck by the heritage of The Beatles and The Stones in UK rock history, or maybe it's just that so much has been recorded about these two bands that trivia about them is more plentiful and thus more available than most. At times, I found myself wondering how much of this book could have been written without Google, and some of the themes become repetitive, such as the constant listing of music festivals as the geography of the book demands. Still, the author manages to maintain a tone and style that pulls you along, and captures some off-the-wall facts that you'd probably never discover anywhere else. Sometimes the line between trivia and lame jokes becomes questionable - did Johnny Cash really pen "Ring of Fire" after a visit to an Indian restaurant, for example, or was it too good an urban legend to resist inclusion, regardless of veracity? This collection must have taken a good deal of research and it probably pays not to think too long about just how much. I think it would be a good thing to have the book as a sort of wikki-blog that people could place their own additions to. Mine would be to highlight the Kah Poo Chinese takeaway in Kilmarnock that Angus Young of AC/DC stated was the best Chinese in the world. It might be difficult to verify the entries, but then I'd like to ask Johnny Cash about his ring of fire. Or maybe not. Sometimes, as Paul Weller wrote after vomiting a takeaway into a litter bin outside a Woolworths in Pontefract, "That's Entertainment" - just like this book is.
After reading a review of this book I though it sounded really interesting and put it on my Christmas wish list. I am somewhat of a car buff and my sister was concerned that I was getting obsessed with cones, bollards and signage. Anyway come Christmas she told me it was delayed by the adverse weather. This was somewhat of an untruth as it had arrived and she had decided to see how sad it was. Finding it very interesting she decided she had to read it first! I got it in time for New Year!
Onto the book. It is a fascinating tour around the UK linking pop (anything from punk to rock `n' roll, and all shades in-between and outside) songs to various locations. However it does it in a way that is both interesting and informative, and makes the book un-put-downable. I defy anyone not to find something they did not know even if they area pop guru. Highly recommended! My sister has now ordered her own copy!
This book is absolutely packed with gems. It goes through England county by county and town by town to give you a definitive rocknroll history of England. It will have stuff youve heard before but many other things you wont ( I never knew about the punk credentials of genteel Tonbridge Wells for example). You will find out what happened at legendary locations such as the Eel Pie island and what you can find there now. There are fascinating sections on for example Pink Floyd's Cambridge or the Canterbury Sound. Whats great about this book is that it links English music to its geograohical and cultural setting in a way ive not seen before. Its also written with great passion and wit and beautifully laid out. The only thing missing is more photos showing you what the locations are like now.
Loved it! Not the usual rock trivia fest (although it IS full of great trivia!) but an amusing, well written and passionate book covering a wide range of English pop. You can dip into it or read it from start to finish. Great pressy for the music fan who thinks they know it all already.