Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story

Press Release

Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story

by Richard Balls



Format: Paperback

Price: £16.99

Available: 23rd October 2014

ISBN: 9780957570061





At Last, The Full Story Of The World’s Most Flexible Record Label

Started in 1976 by maverick music entrepreneurs Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson, Stiff tore up the rulebook and changed the landscape of a moribund record industry.

Stiff were amazing marketeers, with their wealth of slogans (most famously “If It Ain’t Stiff, It Ain’t Worth A Fuck”), use of coloured vinyl and different packaging for the same records, appealing to the completest market. Riviera left Stiff in 1977, but Robinson carried on, signing Madness and The Pogues amongst others. The label went spectacularly bust in 1987, but was resurrected in 2006 by Trevor Horn’s ZTT operation, and is still going strong to this day. Stiff has kindly allowed us to use the legendary logo, plus badges and other memorabilia. In addition, the book features some rare and previously unseen photos – with ex-Stiff press officer Nigel Dick sharing some from his personal collection, which will delight the label’s army of fans.

Richard Balls (author of the bestselling Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘N’ Roll: The Life of Ian Dury,Omnibus Press) interviewed over 50 people who were there at the time – both record company staff and artists. Rat Scabies, Lene Lovich, Jona Lewie, Graham Parker, Shane MacGowan, Larry Wallis, Wreckless Eric and many more, help trace the highs and lows of this revolutionary record label, where there was never a dull moment. Their stories are, by turns, funny, moving and shed light on what life was like at a small record label that was trying to carve out its own niche on limited funds.

As a fun tribute to the marketing genius of Stiff, Soundcheck Books will be publishing the book with five different limited edition coloured covers.

For more information, please contact Phil Godsell at Soundcheck Books; email him at or call on +44 (0)7880 792259