Cover Image: Before It All Went Rotten

Before It All Went Rotten

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Ahh, dear. I'm kicking myself as I usually manage to keep my eyes on the archive date and download before they occur, but I somehow managed to miss this one. My apologies.

Was this review helpful?

Early on in Simon Matthews' thorough history of 1970s pub rock, he quotes from a review in The Times of an Albert Hall concert featuring The Who and Chuck Berry which suggested that "Modern pop sometimes seems too dogged and hard working to be much fun". The same could be said of the book, which is informative and wide-ranging - Matthews has certainly done his research in terms of both reading and interviews - but lacks the kind of spark in the narrative or writing which characterise the best music histories. The structure also doesn't help - the inclusion of short narratives from key players at the end of each chapter is interesting but leads to facts and incidents being repeated in the main narrative.

There are also a few mistakes - David Bowie didn't produce Lou Reed's first album; Eno and the Winkies covered I'm a Boy not Substitute on the bootleg I found - and he struggles understandably to find different ways to describe so many songs (The Gorillas' She's My Girl apparently has "an interesting chord sequence"?), but Before It All Went Rotten captures an interesting period, the vital link between the 1960s and punk, which fills in lots of gaps and is a very useful accompaniment to Cherry Red's Surrender to the Rhythm excellent compilation. And I will forever be grateful for having learned that after being in a late version of Ducks Deluxe, Mickey Groome played bass for both Psychic TV and The Barron Knights. One of several things that made reading this book worthwhile.

Was this review helpful?

Shine a light on me...

Defying the popular 'wisdom' that the UK music scene was a stagnant wasteland before the year zero of punk changed the world, this book shows that, all along, there were thriving, interlocking scenes bubbling away.
Not so much a genre as a state of mind, pub rock was just that – music based in varying proportions on rock, knocked out unpretentiously in a circuit of under and just-on the radar venues. Rather than there being any abrupt transitions in style and form, the sixties bled into the seventies and onwards into the punk 'revolution' and beyond. Given that punk bands merely played faster and messier than before, and were often veteran musicians sniffing the wind, the notion of a sea-change is a bit overwrought. As ever, the 'year zero' hype can be traced back to that arch-arse, Malcolm McLaren, who was simply making the same old hustler moves – only with tighter trousers. It was also in a lot of old musical lags' interests to have mafia-boss style memory losses when it came to their own recent pasts. The real paradigm shift in popular music came maybe a decade later as dance music became the dominant genre for the nation's youth. Rock became rock became rock – plus ca change.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

This book includes some bands that I had never heard of, and I am researching them now. In fact I had only heard of the major bands mentioned in this book and major singers, for example Cat Stevens..
Some interesting memories of how life used to be in the early Seventies. This book filled a gap in my knowledge that I was not aware of. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for giving me a copy of the book.

Was this review helpful?

It is clear that the author is passionate about the music era and the venues in London.
If you are familiar with London then this book is great for you and will have a great insight as to how things used to be.
Most of the bands and singers in that era are not people I have heard of or can relate to so it isn't really aimed at anyone that wasn't growing up or going to the pubs in the early 1970's.
It is really interesting to read how things used to be - such as ow the charts were complied, the advertising of acts and the way that pubs used to be. It is surreal how most things now are all available on the Internet in comparison.
There are little stories contained in the book and these are inspiring and heart warming.
Overall this book is a very well written history lesson.

Was this review helpful?