A Howlin’ Wind

Pub Rock and the birth of New Wave by John Blaneyjacket for A Howlin' Wind

A fascinating study of how Pub Rock started, thrived and ultimately evolved into the New Wave

Published: October 2011
ISBN: 9780956642042
Price: £14.99 paperback
352 pages including 8 page plates section and integral mono images

Read: John Blaney’s blog | Reviews on Amazon | Review in Islington Tribune | Dan Swinhoe’s blog | Review in Record Collector | Review in Shindig!
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You may also be interested in Jumpin’ In The Fire: a life in rock’n’roll by Sean Tyla

Take a trip to a lost world. A world permeated by the odour of stale tobacco and beer; a world where your feet stick to the carpet and in the bogs some joker always pisses in the sink when the urinals are all occupied. The walls are covered in peeling flock wallpaper with some posters advertising future gigs. The Watneys Red Barrel (20p a pint would you believe?  Well, they always stick a couple of pence on the ale when there’s live music) is warm, but the band on stage is hot.  Welcome to the world of 1970s pub rock.

John Blaney traces the history of pub rock from its Mod roots through to its reinvention as British new wave. He covers all the essential bands such as Eggs Over Easy (who started it all at the Tally Ho in Kentish Town), Brinsley Schwarz, Kilburn & The High Roads, 101ers, Dr Feelgood, Elvis Costello, Graham Parker and more, in a fascinating study that has been painstakingly researched.

Crucial to the movement were Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera, both of whom managed pub rock bands before setting up Stiff Records. With little money, or inclination, to sign big acts they turned to the pub rock caterpillars they knew and turned them in new wave butterflies. Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Elvis Costello were all on roads to nowhere, but made it big as a result of Stiff’s involvement.

The book ends with the Be Stiff tour of 1979, when a ‘new’ new wave was breaking with Wreckless Eric, Lene Lovich and Rachel Sweet.

With eye-witness accounts from those involved, including a lengthy interview with Dave Robinson, John Blaney explains perfectly how pub rock started, flourished and reinvented itself as the new wave:  ‘A Howlin’ Wind’ that blew away the cobwebs from a moribund music scene.

This book is different from Will Birch’s excellent No Sleep Till Canvey Island, and is complementary to it:  Will looks at the When and Where, whereas John covers the Why and How. Will has been very supportive of our book, for which we thank him.

In addition to an 8 page plates section there are black and white images of people and memorabilia scattered throughout the book, making this a lovely memento of an era when the music mattered.

About the authorJohn Blaney

John Blaney brings to his writing the expertise and rigour of a professional historian mixed with a genuine passion for the subject. Born in Devon, England, he trained as a graphic designer before starting a career in music retail. He subsequently studied History of Art at Camberwell College Of Arts and at Goldsmith College (both in London) before taking up his present post as curator of a museum of technology. A massive Beatles fan he has written Paul McCartney: The Seventies vol. 1: The Songs He Was Singing (Paper Jukebox 2010); Paul McCartney: The Eighties vol. 2: The Songs He Was Singing ( Paper Jukebox 2011); John Lennon: In His Life, (with Valeria Manferto de Fabianis) (White Star 2009);Lennon and McCartney, Together Alone: A Critical Discography of the Solo Work (Jawbone 2007) and Beatles For Sale: How Everything They Touched Turned To Gold (Jawbone 2008). He is also a reviewer for Shindig! magazine. Never frightened of a challenge, John has just launched a record label called Mega Dodo. The first single is ‘Georgina Jones’ by Mordecai Smyth and available on vinyl and downloads. An album has just been released too. Stiff Records watch out!

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