Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Fitbit
Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Mistake Imaginable....the inner workings of a global company in 1976/77, 8 Sept. 2007
This review is from: The Sex Pistols: 90 Days at EMI (Paperback)
Brian Southall is an EMI insider. A PR Exec during the Pistols 91 day reign at EMI from October 1976 to January 1977, there can be few people better placed to write such a warts and all, methodically researched and insightful account into the politics and machinations that caused the Pistols to be signed in the first place only to be then unceremoniously dumped off the label barely 3 months later.

Recent years have seen a slew of books being produced on punk and especially the Sex Pistols. With only a few notable exceptions most are poorly researched and written with few new facts or insights - generally they just recycle the same old quotes and supposed facts. Southall has clearly gone back to the source material, much of it previously unpublished, and most importantly used his connections from his time at EMI to write a brief but fascinating guide to the bands time at the label. He also does a good job of putting the whole episode into the perspective of the era.

The music industry in the mid 1970s was a very different business from today with EMI records forming a significant but by no means dominant part of a long established, traditional, global conglomerate with fingers in many pies ranging from Arms to Hotels to Medical Devices. They even owned 50% of Thames Television - the London based station that broadcast live the infamous "Today" show with Bill Grundy and the band on 1st December 1976. It's these background facts that help the reader to understand why the label did what it did after coming under enormous pressure from senior executives in the post Bill Grundy show media fueled circus that wrecked the Anarchy tour and effectively short circuited the chances of the band having a long recording career with EMI.

The book includes some excellent quotes from a fans including those later to be successful music artistes themselves like Steve Strange, Siouxsie, Boy George and Marc Almond as well as others who became successful in very different fields like Jimmy Nail (actor) and Stuart Pearce (footballer).

The story develops on a day by day chronological basis capturing the initial euphoria of the band, their management and the label's A&R team upon signing, through to recording the Anarchy single and the very chancey circumstances of the band effectively substituting for their labelmates Queen on the "Today" show. This resulted in a brief but memorable drink fueled (presenter as well as band and fans) live tv interview that gave the band more newspaper coverage than they could have dreamed of over night but which ultimately brought about their untimely demise.

The final circumstances of the termination of the contract make fascinating reading 30 years on. An early morning call to an Amsterdam hotel room where the band had played the night before with the announcement to the label's tour rep and Malcolm McLaren that EMI were ending the contract with a press release to be issued later that morning, despite nothing having been signed or agreed on regarding the terms of the split. Over 30 years later it seems, by current day standards, incredible that this could happen without a team of lawyers negotiating long and hard over the terms of the break up but it was, in so so many ways, a very different era.

The book concludes with the views at the time of the EMI staff who worked with the band as well as their views now with the benefit of over 30 years of hindsight on the break up. The A&R team especially were worried that no new bands would want to sign with EMI (a worry that turned out to be needless) with the major ironies being both the Rich Kids (Glen Matlock's post Pistols band) signing to EMI later in 1977 and in 1980 Malcolm McLaren's new proteges Bow Wow Wow also appearing on the label.

For anyone interested in the music industry of the 1970s and/or the story of the Sex Pistols this book is an absolute must read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Marlow, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 212,615