The big hit records of today are assembled. The great records of 1968 were made. In a few cases they just happened, seemingly brought into being by some higher power over and above the efforts of any one individual. In his new book “Wichita Lineman: Searching In The Sun For The World’s Greatest Unfinished Song” Dylan Jones traces the combination of inspiration and chance which makes this “the world’s greatest unfinished song” and, more to the point, arguably the greatest pop record ever made.
Daniel Rachel talked to everyone from Noel Gallagher to Tony Blair for his new book “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and he came in to Word In Your Ear to talk about how Kate Moss, David Beckham, Alan Macgee, Damien Hirst, Alastair Campbell and many others, knowingly or otherwise, managed to shape Britain’s last feelgood decade, which began with Spike Island and finished with the death of Diana. We guarantee, this will change the way you think about the era you lived through.
When Dave Lewis first went to see Led Zeppelin at the Empire Pool, Wembley in 1971 it cost him 75p. When they played their final show at the O2 in 2007 he was on Robert Plant’s guest list. From the germ of his teenage scrapbook he built a small empire, based on his fanzine “Tight But Loose”, which has produced a staggering range of titles dedicated to every aspect of Led Zeppelin’s career. His book “Evenings With Led Zeppelin” has the distinction of being literally the heaviest book ever to feature on “Word In Your Ear”. Dave came in to the Islington to talk about what got him excited in 1971 and, as you’ll hear, still excites him today.
For more than forty years Ian Penman has been one of the best writers about music in the country. His new book, “It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track“, is made up of essays about James Brown, Prince, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Fahey and other musicians who have a strange fascination for him. Ian came to the Islington to talk about his career as a writer, the book and his plan to write a book about searching for music in charity shops. Be warned. This is the kind of book that will send you straight back to your records to listen for things that you’ve been missing.
Is Nick Lowe the only musician of his generation who has actually got better as he’s got older? How did he survive the Famepushers hype? How did England’s most laid-back musician become the Midas of the punk era? What’s the secret of his success as a producer? What does he understand that most other musicians don’t? Will Birch, a musician himself, has known him a long time, and has written “Cruel To Be Kind”, the definitive biography of one of our great musical institutions.
Fifty years ago to the week the first Crosby, Stills and Nash LP was released in the UK, holding out the prospect of brotherly love in close harmony. Thus begun half a century of bitter infighting, chemical and sexual excess, regular break-ups and tearful reunions, all of which is documented in lip-smacking detail in “Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young” by one of our favourite authors Peter Doggett. He came along to the Islington to talk to Mark and David about it.
On Sunday the Dutch group The Analogues, who have set out to play the Beatles songs that the Beatles never played live, using the same equipment that was used fifty years ago, recreated the whole of “Abbey Road” in Studio 1 at Abbey Road. Mark and David were there and they haven’t stopped babbling about it since. Hence we thought they should share their enthusiasm with the wider public.
This conversation was recorded via Skype which is prone to the odd drop-out but we trust you’ll find it worth listening round. If you want to get an idea of why they considered it so remarkable, watch this clip from a recent Dutch TV show.
In his new book “Fried and Justified“, veteran PR Mick Houghton writes about his experience as the man whose job it was to get these bands and many others written about in the NME and Melody Maker, back in the days when thousands of bands formed, toured and split up purely in order to achieve their ultimate ambition, which was getting on the cover of a weekly music paper.
Have we really seen the last of all those mad haircuts, all those dramatic break-ups, all those madly controversial interviews in budget hotels in the Benelux countries? Mick came along to Word In Your Ear to tell us.
In a departure from our usual way of doing things we were delighted to welcome Art Of Noise-nik, ABC arranger and purveyor of fine soundtrack music for everything from “Poldark” to “The Hustle” Anne Dudley to talk about a career that has been largely spent behind the scenes.
Subjects covered include: the surprising things you can learn from working with people with no musical talent, why everything in a film is provisional, how to suggest a chord to Paul McCartney, the uncanny ear of George Michael and what it’s like to stand in front of an orchestra with a baton. Plus, for the first time ever, we’re delighted to introduce actual musical illustrations. Let us know what you think.
Gary Crowley has just put together “Gary Crowley’s Lost 80s”, a lovingly-curated four CD set of the kind of oldies that the radio station computer doesn’t automatically reach for. It’s the kind of stuff that might have soundtracked his teenage discos, his nights at the Wag, his shows on Capital Radio and GLR or served to warm up the crowd as he presided over shows by Wham or the Style Council.
He came along to Word In Your Ear to talk to Mark Ellen and David Hepworth about his extraordinary career, which began with meeting Joe Strummer in the street, climaxed with introducing Oasis at Knebworth and involved everybody from Elton John to the Wonder Stuff.