Melody Maker – November 26, 1966

FrontCover1Melody Maker was a British weekly music magazine, one of the world’s earliest music weeklies, and—according to its publisher IPC Media—the earliest. It was founded in 1926, largely as a magazine for dance band musicians, by Leicester-born composer, publisher Lawrence Wright; the first editor was Edgar Jackson. In January 2001 it was merged into “long-standing rival” (and IPC Media sister publication) New Musical Express.

Originally the Melody Maker (MM) concentrated on jazz, and had Max Jones, one of the leading British proselytizers for that music, on its staff for many years. It was slow to cover rock and roll and lost ground to the New Musical Express (NME), which had begun in 1952. MM launched its own weekly singles chart (a top 20) on 7 April 1956,[6] and an LPs charts in November 1958, two years after the Record Mirror had published the first UK Albums Chart. From 1964, the paper led its rival publications in terms of approaching music and musicians as a subject for serious study rather than merely entertainment. Staff reporters such as Chris Welch and Ray Coleman applied a perspective previously reserved for jazz artists to the rise of American-influenced local rock and pop groups, anticipating the advent of music criticism.

The first Melody Maker (January 1926):
No 1 (January 1926)

On 6 March 1965, MM called for the Beatles to be honoured by the British state. This duly happened on 12 June that year, when all four members of the group (Harrison,[9] Lennon, McCartney, and Starr) were appointed as members of the Order of the British Empire. By the late 1960s, MM had recovered, targeting an older market than the teen-orientated NME. MM had larger and more specialised advertising; soon-to-be well-known groups would advertise for musicians. It ran pages devoted to “minority” interests like folk and jazz, as well as detailed reviews of musical instruments.

A 1968 Melody Maker poll named John Peel best radio DJ, attention which John Walters said may have helped Peel keep his job despite concerns at BBC Radio 1 about his style and record selection.

Starting from the mid-60s, critics such as Welch, Richard Williams, Michael Watts and Steve Lake were among the first British journalists to write seriously about popular music, shedding an intellectual light on such artists as Steely Dan, Cat Stevens, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Henry Cow.

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By the early 1970s, Melody Maker was considered “the musos’ journal” and associated with progressive rock. However, Melody Maker also reported on teenybopper pop sensations like the Osmonds, the Jackson 5, and David Cassidy. The music weekly also gave early and sympathetic coverage to glam rock. Richard Williams wrote the first pieces about Roxy Music, while Roy Hollingworth wrote the first article celebrating New York Dolls in proto-punk terms while serving as the Melody Maker’s New York correspondent. In January 1972, Michael “Mick” Watts, a prominent writer for the paper, wrote a profile of David Bowie that almost singlehandedly ignited the singer’s dormant career. During the interview Bowie said, “I’m gay, and always have been, even when I was David Jones.” “OH YOU PRETTY THING” ran the headline, and swiftly became part of pop mythology. Bowie later attributed his success to this interview, stating that, “Yeah, it was Melody Maker that made me. It was that piece by Mick Watts.”[16] During his tenure at the paper, Watts also toured with and interviewed artists including Syd Barrett, Waylon Jennings, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

Caroline Coon was headhunted by Melody Maker editor Ray Coleman in the mid-1970s and promptly made it her mission to get women musicians taken seriously. Between 1974 and 1976, she interviewed Maggie Bell, Joan Armatrading, Lynsey de Paul, and Twiggy. She then went on to make it her mission to promote punk rock.

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In 1978, Richard Williams returned – after a stint working at Island Records – to the paper as the new editor and attempted to take Melody Maker in a new direction, influenced by what Paul Morley and Ian Penman were doing at NME. He recruited Jon Savage (formerly of Sounds), Chris Bohn and Mary Harron to provide intellectual coverage of post-punk bands like Gang of Four, Pere Ubu and Joy Division and of new wave in general. Vivien Goldman, previously at NME and Sounds, gave the paper much improved coverage of reggae and soul music, restoring the superior coverage of those genres that the paper had in the early 1970s. Despite this promise of a new direction for the paper, internal tension developed, principally between Williams and Coleman, by this time editor-in-chief, who wanted the paper to stick to the more “conservative rock” music it had continued to support during the punk era. Coleman had been insistent that the paper should “look like The Daily Telegraph” (renowned for its old-fashioned design), but Williams wanted the paper to look more contemporary. He commissioned an updated design, but this was rejected by Coleman.

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In 1980, after a strike which had taken the paper (along with NME) out of publication for a period, Williams left MM. Coleman promoted Michael Oldfield from the design staff to day-to-day editor, and, for a while, took it back where it had been, with news of a line-up change in Jethro Tull replacing features about Andy Warhol, Gang of Four and Factory Records on the cover. Several journalists, such as Chris Bohn and Vivien Goldman, moved to NME, while Jon Savage joined the new magazine The Face. Coleman left in 1981, the paper’s design was updated, but sales and prestige were at a low ebb through the early 1980s, with NME dominant.

By 1983, the magazine had become more populist and pop-orientated, exemplified by its modish “MM” masthead, regular covers for the likes of Duran Duran and its choice of Eurythmics’ Touch as the best album of the year. Things were to change, however. In February 1984, Allan Jones, a staff writer on the paper since 1974, was appointed editor: defying instructions to put Kajagoogoo on the cover, he led the magazine with an article on up-and-coming band The Smiths.

In 1986, MM was invigorated by the arrival of a group of journalists, including Simon Reynolds and David Stubbs, who had run a music fanzine called Monitor from the University of Oxford, and Chris Roberts, from Sounds, who established MM as more individualistic and intellectual. This was especially true after the hip-hop wars at NME, a schism between enthusiasts of progressive black music such as Public Enemy and Mantronix and fans of traditional white rock – ended in a victory for the latter, the departure of writers such as Mark Sinker and Biba Kopf (as Chris Bohn was now calling himself), and the rise of Andrew Collins and Stuart Maconie, who pushed NME in a more populist direction.

Melody Maker redesigned as MM:
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While MM continued to devote most space to rock and indie music (notably Everett True’s coverage of the emerging grunge scene in Seattle), it covered house, hip hop, post-rock, rave and trip hop. Two of the paper’s writers, Push and Ben Turner, went on to launch IPC Media’s monthly dance music magazine Muzik. Even in the mid-1990s, when Britpop brought a new generation of readers to the music press, it remained less populist than its rivals, with younger writers such as Simon Price and Taylor Parkes continuing the 1980s tradition of iconoclasm and opinionated criticism. The paper printed harsh criticism of Ocean Colour Scene and Kula Shaker, and allowed dissenting views on Oasis and Blur at a time when they were praised by the rest of the press.

In 1993, they gave a French rock band called Darlin’ a negative review calling them “a daft punky thrash”.[citation needed] Darlin’ eventually became the electronic music duo Daft Punk.

Australian journalist Andrew Mueller joined MM in 1990 and became Reviews Editor between 1991 and 1993, eventually declining to become Features Editor and leaving the magazine in 1993. He then went on to join NME under his former boss Steve Sutherland (who had left MM in 1992).

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The magazine retained its large classified ads section, and remained the first call for musicians wanting to form a band. Suede formed through ads placed in the paper. MM also continued to publish reviews of musical equipment and readers’ demo tapes –though these often had little in common stylistically with the rest of the paper – ensuring sales to jobbing musicians who would otherwise have little interest in the music press.

In early 1997, Allan Jones left to edit Uncut. He was replaced by Mark Sutherland, formerly of NME and Smash Hits, who thus “fulfilled [his] boyhood dream” and stayed on to edit the magazine for three years. Many long-standing writers left, often moving to Uncut, with Simon Price departing allegedly because he objected to an edict that coverage of Oasis should be positive. Its sales, which had already been substantially lower than those of the NME, entered a serious decline.

In 1999, MM relaunched as a glossy magazine, but the magazine closed the following year, merging into IPC Media’s other music magazine, NME, which took on some of its journalists and music reviewers. (wikipedia)

And I will continue with my “Melody Maker” entries with this issue from Novemer 26, 1966:

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The backside of the magazine:
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More from Melody Maker:
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Guitar Magazine – The Les Paul Bible (2018)

FrontCoverIt’s 60 years since Gibson released the sunburst Les Paul Standard, creating what would become the holy grail for electric guitar enthusiasts, rock stars and vintage collectors alike.

In celebration, the team behind The Guitar Magazine have compiled The Les Paul Bible: 132 pages of breathtaking photography and expert insights that chart the development of Gibson’s greatest electric guitar from Les Paul’s early prototype designs through to the Gibson production models that changed the course of popular music history, stripped-down ‘student’ guitars and the iconic single-cutaway’s late-1960s return.

We also go inside Gibson’s Nashville Custom Shop to see how the company goes about remaking history in its Collector’s Choice and True Historic ranges and compare modern reissues to vintage originals.

Whether you are a Burst believer or think that all that glitters is a classic Goldtop, there’s something in The Les Paul Bible for you.

Enjoy the history of the legendary Gibson Les Paul !

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Downbeat (Jazz Magazine) – February 1987

FrontCover.jpgDownBeat (stylized DOWNBEAT) is an American magazine devoted to “jazz, blues and beyond”, the last word indicating its expansion beyond the jazz realm which it covered exclusively in previous years. The publication was established in 1934 in Chicago, Illinois. It is named after the “downbeat” in music, also called “beat one”, or the first beat of a musical measure.

DownBeat publishes results of annual surveys of both its readers and critics in a variety of categories. The DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame includes winners from both the readers’ and critics’ poll. The results of the readers’ poll are published in the December issue, those of the critics’ poll in the August issue.

Popular features of DownBeat magazine include its “Reviews” section where jazz critics, using a ‘1-Star to 5-Star’ maximum rating system, rate the latest musical recordings, vintage recordings, and books; articles on individual musicians and music forms; and its famous “Blindfold Test” column, in a which a musician listens to records by other artists, tries to guess who they are, and rates them using the 5-star maximum rating system.

In April 1979, DownBeat went to a monthly schedule for the first time since 1939.

DownBeat was named Jazz Publication of the Year in 2016 and 2017 by the Jazz Journalists Association. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a Downbeat magazine from my archive …

Enjoy it !

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The backside of the magazine

Strange Things (Are Happening) (Magazine) – Volume 1 – Number 5 (April/May 1989)

FrontCoverHere is another “Strange Things” magazine from my archive:

Recently included in Ugly Things’ list of the greatest fanzines of all time, Strange Things was different from the run-of-the-mill zines. Although rooted in the great music of the ’60s and early ’70s, the editors and writers found room to cover everything from Krazy Kat comics to the Barbarella movie. Excellent, entertaining writing from Brian Hogg and colleagues, and a timelessly cool layout. More magazines should be like this!

Strange Things (Are Happening) was a part of Bam-Caruso Records:

Bam-Caruso, the pioneering record label, started in 1983 by Phil Smee, growing from the dying embers of St Albans “Waldo’s Records”, with a mission to record the best new sounds emerging from the UK and America’s so called “paisley underground”, and merge them with rare and unknown psyche and garage/pop gems from the ’60s, to be licensed in.

Enjoy this rare and brilliant magazine from the 80´s … more issues will come !

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The backcover of this magazine

ZigZag (Magazine) – Nr. 19 (May 1971)

FrontCoverZigZag was a British rock music magazine. It was started by Pete Frame and the first edition rolled off the printing presses on 16 April 1969. The magazine was noted for its thorough interviews, well-researched articles, innovative “rock family trees” by Frame, and support for American songwriters such as Michael Nesmith, Mickey Newbury, Gene Clark, etc.

It was edited by Pete Frame for the first 29 issues – up to February 1973. Frame later said: “None of the English music papers wrote about the music I liked. They all concentrated on popular acts, but I was interested in the Underground scene. So I decided to start a magazine for people who liked the same kind of music I did. I called it Zigzag after the Captain Beefheart track “Zigzag Wanderer” and also the cigarette papers, which were used for rolling joints.”

Pete Frame’s “rock family trees” first appeared in ZigZag. Very basic examples appeared in issue #14 The Byrds (August 1970) and issue #17 John Mayall (Dec 1970 – Jan 1971). The first “rock family tree” to be presented in the format that Frame would become well known for was in issue #21 Al Kooper (July 1971).

John Tobler joined immediately after the start-up and wrote for ZigZag from issue #2 onwards under the name John HT (his full name being John Hugen-Tobler). He wrote under the name John Tobler from issue #16 (October 1970) onwards.

Example21A.jpgAfter dying a first time, the magazine was taken over by Tony Stratton-Smith, founder of Charisma Records, and became a regular monthly from January 1974 with even some colour inside. Stratton-Smith also financed The Amazing ZigZag Concert on 28 April 1974, to celebrate the magazine’s fifth birthday. Issues #30 (March 1973) to #40 (April 1974) were edited by Connor McKnight, with Andy Childs becoming editor from issue #42 (June 1974) for about 18 months. Andy Childs originally had his own fanzine, Fat Angel. This period was marked by more musical British influence such as pub rock and the precursor of punk (Dr. Feelgood, The Stranglers). Pete Frame became editor again from issue #58 (March 1976) to issue #74 (July 1977) – with the exception of three of those issues where Paul Kendall was editor.

Appointed as editor in August 1977, a major revolution was led by Kris Needs which saw ZigZag going through a third period where the magazine was totally devoted to punk. It was also around this time that Pete Frame distanced himself and published the first book of his famous series of ‘rock trees’ tracing changing personnel line-ups in the rock music world.

ZigZag continued to be published in London and edited by Needs until the end of 1981 when Mick Mercer took over editorial duties. In April 1982, the ZigZag Club live music venue was opened at 22-24 Great Western Road, London W9. By the end of the year it had closed. The magazine ceased publication for a period during 1983 and was then re-launched for a fourth period, in October 1983, with Mick Mercer as editor, covering post-punk and early goth. It ceased publication with its final issue in January 1986 – having published approximately 140 issues of rock journalism.

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There was a failed attempt to relaunch the magazine in June 1990, with just one issue being published. ZigZag was purchased in July 1988 from Northern & Shell, who had amalgamated it with music equipment title “one two testing”. Jim Maguire, who had been Business Manager of ZigZag in the Seventies, persuaded Richard Desmond (Northern & Shell) to sell him the title. Maguire believed he had secured a sound publishing deal with EMAP, who purchased the title in October 1989. However, EMAP closed ZigZag after just one issue (May 1990) and then produced Mojo, a new rock monthly, some months later. In accordance with the terms of the contract, the ZigZag title and the intellectual copyright then reverted to Jim Maguire in January 1994. (wikipedia)

And here´s an early issue of this great magazin, taken from my personal archive … let´s take a trip to May 1971 … I include an interesting interview with the great Pete Frame (taken from cloudsandclocks.net)

And we read in this issue stories about:

  • Rod Stewart & The Faces
  • Duster Bennett
  • Help Yourself
  • Grateful Dead
  • Mick Jagger
  • Duane Allman
  • Genesis
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears
  • Mike Nesmith´s First National Band
  • John Sebastian
  • and much more …

More old ZigZag magazines will come .. .enjoy this trip in the year 1971:

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Guitar Legends (Special Collector´s Edition) – The Guitar Genius Of Eric Capton (2007)

FrontCoverEric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945), is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”. He was also named number five in Time magazine’s list of “The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players” in 2009.

In the mid-1960s Clapton left the Yardbirds to play with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Immediately after leaving Mayall, Clapton formed the power trio Cream with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce, in which Clapton played sustained blues improvisations and “arty, blues-based psychedelic pop”. Furthermore, he formed blues rock band Blind Faith with Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech. For most of the 1970s Clapton’s output bore the influence of the mellow style of J. J. Cale and the reggae of Bob Marley. His version of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” helped reggae reach a mass market.[6] Two of his most popular recordings were “Layla”, recorded with Derek and the Dominos; and Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads”, recorded with Cream. Following the death of his son Conor in 1991, Clapton’s grief was expressed in the song “Tears in Heaven”, which was featured on his Unplugged album.

Clapton has been the recipient of 18 Grammy Awards, and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2004 he was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. In 1998, Clapton, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, founded the Crossroads Centre on Antigua, a medical facility for recovering substance abusers. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a very interesting magazin about Eric Clapton, a special collector´s edition from the “Guitar Legends” magazine. Discover the world of one of the finest guitar player ever !

 

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Beatles Monthly – Nr. 1 August 1963

FrontCoverThe Beatles Book (also known as Beatles Monthly) was founded in 1963. It was first published in August 1963 and continued for 77 editions until it stopped publication after the December 1969 edition. It was revived in 1976, and ceased publication in 2003.

In early 1963 a publisher, Sean O’Mahony, (who already published a magazine about the music scene called Beat Instrumental) heard Please Please Me and asked Brian Epstein if he could publish a magazine devoted to The Beatles. Epstein and the group agreed and the title launched in August 1963 with a print run of 80,000. By the end of the year circulation had grown to 330,000 copies per month. O’Mahony edited the magazine under the name of Johnny Dean.

The magazine’s photographer, Leslie Bryce, had unrivalled access to the group throughout the 1960s, travelling the world and taking thousands of photographs. In addition, Beatles roadies Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans wrote many of the articles, and artist Bob Gibson created numerous cartoons and caricatures of the fab four on a regular basis. (He eventually did the cartoons for the Beatles’ 1967 Magical Mystery Tour EP-set/US-album booklet.)

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In May 1976 O’Mahony revived the publication and republished all 77 original issues surrounded by eight (later sixteen) pages of new Beatles news and articles. The reissue programme was completed in September 1982, coincidentally at a time when interest in the band was high due to the impending twentieth anniversary of “Love Me Do”. Consequently, the decision was taken to continue the magazine with all new content. Publication continued until January 2003 (Issue 321) when it once again ceased.(by wikipedia)

Enjoy this sentimental trip in the early days of the fab four …

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Billboard – January 30 (1961)

FrontCoverBillboard (stylized as billboard) is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style. It is also known for its music charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular singles and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows. Billboard was founded in 1894 by William Donaldson and James Hennegan as a trade publication for bill posters. Donaldson later acquired Hennegen’s interest in 1900 for $500.

In the early years of the 20th century, it covered the entertainment industry, such as circuses, fairs, and burlesque shows. It also created a mail service for travelling entertainers. Billboard began focusing more on the music industry as the jukebox, phonograph, and radio became commonplace. Many topics it covered were spun-off into different magazines, including Amusement Business in 1961 to cover outdoor entertainment, so that it could focus on music. After Donaldson died in 1925, Billboard was passed down to his children and Hennegan’s children, until it was sold to private investors in 1985, and has since been owned by various parties. (by wikipedia)

And here´s another nice example from 1961 … This issue was the 20 anniversary editon !

Enjoy this sentimental journey in the Sixties … when we were young … very young …

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Billboard (Magazine) – July, 10 (1965)

FrontCoverBillboard (stylized as billboard) is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style. It is also known for its music charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular singles and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows. Billboard was founded in 1894 by William Donaldson and James Hennegan as a trade publication for bill posters. Donaldson later acquired Hennegen’s interest in 1900 for $500.

In the early years of the 20th century, it covered the entertainment industry, such as circuses, fairs, and burlesque shows. It also created a mail service for travelling entertainers. Billboard began focusing more on the music industry as the jukebox, phonograph, and radio became commonplace. Many topics it covered were spun-off into different magazines, including Amusement Business in 1961 to cover outdoor entertainment, so that it could focus on music. After Donaldson died in 1925, Billboard was passed down to his children and Hennegan’s children, until it was sold to private investors in 1985, and has since been owned by various parties. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a nice example from 1965 …

And this is another sentimental journey in the Sixties … when we were young …

Enjoy it !

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Guitar World – Holiday 2015 Edition

FrontCoverGuitar World is a monthly music magazine devoted to guitarists, published since July 1980. It contains original interviews, album and gear reviews, and guitar and bass tablature of approximately five songs each month.

The magazine is published 13 times per year (12 monthly issues and a holiday issue).

Formerly owned by Harris Publications, Future US bought the magazine in 2003. In 2012, NewBay Media bought the Music division of Future US.

The latter company also published a spin-off title, Guitar Legends, each issue of which typically combined past articles from Guitar World under a specific theme.

And here´s the holiday editon from 2015 with articles about

  • Keith Richards
  • The Beatles (and their “love affair” with the Ephophone Casino guitar
  • Richie Kotzen
  • Deafheaven
  • Iron Maiden

plus many columns and tablatures “Here Comes The Sun” for example.

More Guitar World issues will come …

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