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The History of Live Music in Britain, Volume 1: 1950-1967: From Dance Hall to the 100 Club – Simon Frith, Matt Brennan, Martin Cloonan and Emma Webster (2013)


Author(s): Simon Frith, Matt Brennan, Martin Cloonan, and Emma Webster
Organisation / Affiliation: Ashgate
Date: March 2013

The first of three books detailing the history of live music in Britain since 1950.

Jazz Club, London, 1949

6th August 1949: Canadian director Edward Dmytryk, who was forced into exile during the McCarthy witch-hunt spends an evening at the Jazz Club in London, listening to jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton. With him is his wife, actress Jean Porter. Original Publication: Picture Post - 4851 - Hollywood's Purged Director - pub. 1949 (Photo by Charles Hewitt/Picture Post/Getty Images)

The social history of music in Britain since 1950 has long been the subject of nostalgic articles in newspapers and magazines, nostalgic programmes on radio and television and collective memories on music websites, but to date there has been no systematic scholarly study. The three volumes of The History of Live Music in Britain address this gap, and do so from the unique perspective of the music promoter: the key theme is the changing nature of the live music industry. The books are focused upon popular music but cover all musical genres and the authors offer new insights into a variety of issues, including changes in musical fashions and tastes; the impact of developing technologies; the balance of power between live and recorded music businesses; the role of the state as regulator and promoter; the effects of demographic and other social changes on music culture; and the continuing importance of do-it-yourself enthusiasts.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, the books are likely to become landmark works within Popular Music Studies and broader cultural history. Sources include:-

  • archival research;
  • a wide range of academic and non-academic secondary sources;
  • the memoirs of such musicians as James Blades, Ted Heath, Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber, Bruce Welch, Vic Flick, John Schroeder and Andy Summers;
  • the work of such music historians as Pete Frame, John Fordham and Dave Allen;
  • and interviews with music industry figures such as Harold Davison, Stuart Littlewood, Danny Betesh, Tony Smith, Pete Jenner, Jef Hanlon, Harvey Goldsmith and Joe Boyd.

Click here for publication information

Click here to read the full book proposal

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