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Totally Wired

The Rise and Fall of the Music Press

Paul Gorman


A raucous yet reflective look back at the evolution of the music press and the passionate rock and pop journalists who defined the music of the 20th century

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Totally Wired is the definitive story of the music press on both sides of the Atlantic, covering its evolution from the 1950s to the 2000s, through rock ’n’ roll, mod, the Summer of Love, glam, punk, pop, reggae, R&B and hip-hop. Paul Gorman chronicles the development of individual magazines from their Tin Pan Alley beginnings and the countercultural foundation of Rolling Stone, to the 1970s heyday of NME and Melody Maker and the rise of dedicated monthlies like The Face and Mojo.

Drawing on his own interviews with many of the key players, Gorman paints a complete picture of the scene, exploring the role played by such writers as Lester Bangs, Caroline Coon and Nick Kent in the careers of David Bowie, the Clash, Led Zeppelin and others. He also tackles the entrenched sexism and racism faced by women and people from marginalized backgrounds by shining a spotlight on those publications and individuals whose contributions have often been overlooked. What emerges is a compelling narrative containing stories of unbound talent, blind ambition and sometimes bitter rivalries, making Totally Wired a rollercoaster and riveting read.

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'Paul Gorman has given us the book that the music press deserves: fun, factual, glamorous, gritty, packed with mad anecdotes as well as cold-eyed truth. Essential'
Miranda Sawyer

'The music press as we knew it barely exists any more, which makes 'Totally Wired' the perfect eulogy - a broad, deep, fascinating exploration of its 100-year lifespan'
Alexis Petridis

' I learned so much from this riveting sweep through the birth and evolution of the music press. The characters in it are almost as fascinating as the stars and scenes they wrote about'
Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages

'An illuminating treatise … Gorman expertly combines first-hand interviews with his own insight from inside the trenches to paint a vivid portrait … essential reading'
Electronic Sounds

'Nobody is better qualified to write the history of the music press … there’s no doubt that he does a fine job of telling the whole story, from the launch of the Melody Maker as a monthly for dance band musicians in 1926 through to the closure of all the big titles in the 21st century'
David Hepworth, The New Statesman

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 384 pp

Illustrations: 54

Publication date: 6 July 2023

ISBN: 9780500297469

About the Author

Paul Gorman is the author of many books on music, fashion, design and pop culture, including The Story of the Face: The Magazine that Changed Culture, The Look: Adventures in Pop & Rock Fashion, The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren and The Wild World of Barney Bubbles.

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