The History of the NME
Time Out says
Rating: 4/5, RM94.82
It’s a well established fact that forest fires, while disastrous, are necessary in the long term if you want to keep your woodland thriving. Bolshy, divisive, passionate, prickly, sometimes misguided but always informative, the NME has been gleefully setting the British music scene ablaze for longer than most of its heroes (Dame Vera Lynn excepted) have been alive – knowing full well that, as tall trees fall, so small, green shoots spring up in their place.
Former assistant editor Pat Long’s factpacked history – released to mark the magazine’s sixtieth anniversary, but only covering the story up to the year 2000 – focuses on the magazine’s economic and creative pinnacle in the 1970s, when it absorbed both the best writers and the key lessons of the underground press (challenge authority, but be clever about it) to become the leading UK music publication in terms of serious writing, political nous and plain old good taste.
The main flaw in the book is that it lifts enticing but all-too-brief quotations from articles that you’ll want to read in full, but that’s a small complaint: this is a crisply written, superbly researched volume, sketching the key players from Nick Kent to Danny Baker without – and this is important – ever taking them too seriously. For anyone interested in the street-level stories behind the surface glamour of British rock ’n’ roll, this is a valuable text. Tom Huddleston