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Britpop!: Cool Britannia And The Spectacular Demise Of English Rock
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Britpop!: Cool Britannia And The Spectacular Demise Of English Rock

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  781 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Beginning in 1994 and closing in the first months of 1998, the UK passed through a cultural moment as distinct and as celebrated as any since the war. Founded on rock music, celebrity, boom-time economics, and fleeting political optimism, this was "Cool Britannia." Records sold in the millions, a new celebrity elite emerged, and Tony Blair's Labour Party found itself retur ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published October 13th 2004 by Da Capo Press (first published October 12th 2003)
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May 23, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cool-and-unusual
I recently read the book "Everyone Loves Our Town", an oral history of Grunge music. I was never a huge fan, but it sounded interesting. While I read it, I thought to myself, "I wish there was a book like this about Britpop." Well...duh. But I'm American, so you need to cut me some slack.
I was studying abroad in Scotland in the spring of 1990, so I feel like I was present for a tiny bit of the movement. You could tell something was brewing. When I walked down the streets of Edinburgh, every son
Lee Broderick
Apr 08, 2012 Lee Broderick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
From the outside, Britpop must have appeared to be a strnge thing. For one of the only times since the 1950's the UK had a musical culture all its own - different from that in the USA (which was at the time, as I understood, dominated by college rock - or else rudderless). To see it this way though is to rather miss the point: Britpop was never a music genre, it was a zeitgeist. In the mid-nineties the banner covered bands and artists as disparate as Radiohead, Black Grape and PJ Harvey. That is ...more
Jul 26, 2011 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unlike most people of my generation (late 30's) I did not get into alternative rock via grunge. One day in March 1994, I saw Blur's Girls and Boys on television. It was a revelation and weirdly I started to notice a ton of British bands started to creep into my life: Pulp, Oasis, Supergrass, Radiohead, Sleeper, Terrorvision, Reef, Echobelly, Suede, Cast, Shed 7 (yeah I now they are joke but they did have a couple of great tunes) and so many more. These songs were played on national radio (for Ma ...more
Ben Walton
May 09, 2013 Ben Walton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 350 pages or so of this book are a fantastic, well written and balanced account of the Britpop years, taking into account it's origins with bands like Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses up until the end of 1997, when Blur had moved away from their Parklife blueprint, Elastica had all but given up the ghost, Pulp were fighting with demons on This Is Hardcore and Oasis had released the self-indulgent, depressingly overcooked Be Here Now.

Where the book falls down is in the final chapter an
Oct 06, 2011 Bert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this, and I'm so glad it exists. Captures that initial rush of euphoria at the start of the Nineties (oh suede...), that feeling of being in the right place at the right time, the ritual listening to a singles first airing on the radio, the glory of b-sides, talking like a cockney, smoking fags, and being excited about politics and art, and the inevitable slip into vacuous lad culture, betrayal, broken promises, bad drugs, and bands like Northern Uproar. Harris chronicles th ...more
Edmund Bloxam
Dec 10, 2016 Edmund Bloxam rated it it was ok
What this book is not:
1) about music
2) short
3) coherent
4) about the topic of its title

What this book is:
1) Primarily about the lifestyles of some well-known musicians, some you haven't heard of, some producers, and various other people. Almost everyone receives a tiresomely complete biography.
Did you want to know which musician you don't remember slept with which roadie from somewhere you've never heard of? (Also which celebrity musician slept with which other celebrity musician, and about how
May 16, 2017 David rated it it was amazing
A history of music from punk to around 2001
It bounced back n forth a bit throwing the time lines out, but every major band/label/make up and break up is in here.
It's an easy read explaining the ups with good anecdotes and fun. Also the MANY downs without getting too heavy.
A must read
May 29, 2017 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exhaustive history of four frantic years in British culture - the rise of Britpop, the end of 18 years of Tory rule and the coronation of Tony Blair.

The focus is mostly on the music, and covers it in great depth. Even hardened Britpop fans while find some revelations in here.
Jul 31, 2011 Dan rated it it was amazing
Real stellar read. Excellently well researched and equally well written. Although brimming with loads of interviews from the stars themselves and well as plenty of additional (to some supplemental) historical (essential contextual considerations) information to flesh out and make sense of not only the very world Britpop was born into and briefly inhabited before its untimely, yet ultimately predicable, abrupt implosion in 1997- and the music scene (as well as the contemporaneity aesthetic asipir ...more
Ismi Persson
Feb 19, 2017 Ismi Persson rated it it was ok
Terlalu berpusat dalam Oasis, Blur, Elastica, Menswear, Alan McGee dan Tony Blair, Tony Blair, Tony Blair.

Politik sungguh membosankan, seperti buku ini.

Satu bintang buku ini karena ceritanya kebanyakan membahas Alan McGee dan konsep politiknya..

Satu bintang lagi karena ini cerita Britpop, hampir tak ada buku yang membahas britpop, bukan?
Steve Parcell
Jan 13, 2015 Steve Parcell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uk-history, music
Wow what a book to start the year of.

Do you remember Oasis, Blur, Shed Seven, Pulp, Suede, Elastica, Sleeper taking on the might of Nivarna in the 90'x and wondering what were these people really like who brought so much pride passion and pleasure to the UK public in the 90's. Did you sing along to Wonderwall, Beetlebum, Going for Gold, Sorted Out for E's and Wizz, Beautiful Ones, Connection and Inbetweener and wonder where these musicians got their inspiration from. Well pretty much all is reve
Simon Harvey
Feb 02, 2013 Simon Harvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up cheap on a whim, but was very pleasantly surprised when I got around to reading it. Much of the music at the heart of this book does little for me (believe me, I tried), and those who created it are typically unsympathetic rock star types-- vapid, vainglorious drug addicts who predictably fall victim to their own vices almost immediately upon achieving any sort of commercial success. The resulting tawdry tales of excess and decadence would be mildly entertaining in their own right ...more
Feb 04, 2009 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Loaded with amusing anecdotes from the Britpop heyday plus an intelligent look at the role politics played in the movement. Doesn't over-analyze, just tells the story. I was literally laughing out loud at some of the stories, like Alan McGee going to Japan and meeting Michael Jackson and Bubbles while off his face on drugs. As a lifelong Blur fan, this was the first time I ever learned anything about Oasis, as I totally ignored them back then. I have a huge appreciation for th ...more
May 29, 2008 M rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books on rock and roll. Harris does an excellent job of tracing the genre's roots and sudden popularity to its inglorious end. It's also useful as a look at British popular culture as a whole during the period, covering the rise of 'lad mags' and 'working class chic'. Particularly interesting, to me, was the side story of New Labour's rise: I'd be interested in a volume on the subject in the same tone. All the more enjoyable that such a thorough treatment could be given to wh ...more
Mar 27, 2009 Meera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to say I was a bit daunted when I picked up this book - I don't normally read non-fiction, plus it was 400 pages of densely packed, TINY writing. But it was absolutely fantastic! A rock n' rolling trip down memory lane and the music that I listened to in my formative years told in an inciteful and engaging manner. The tie-in of the Labour party's politics and strategies at that time adds an interesting dimension to the tale... can't imagine Gordon Brown hanging out with the pop stars of t ...more
Sep 10, 2007 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elastica fans.
George W. Bush's friend Tony Blair spent a lot of time catering to rock stars. This book covers Tony Blair's courtship of UK youth via the stars of Britpop. Though the stories mainly center around Blur and Oasis and their political activities, it covers an extended and arguably creatively vibrant period of British pop music, and any Anglophile over 25 would probably enjoy reading this. It's like a great article in the NME, before the NME went utterly crap.

Jul 29, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for fans of Britpop and anyone interested in modern politics. There is a lot about music in "The Last Party," but the thrust of the book is about how roguish politicians use artists they know and care little about to further their political ambitions. If you read this book, I recommend following it with the documentary "Live Forever" and then listening to the Pulp B-side "Cocaine Socialism."

Mar 27, 2012 Rosemary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music-books
Lots of great info, I learnt a lot more about New Labour than I was expecting, but it was all really interesting. It's got a great balance of important facts and personal anecdotes. However, it really doesn't go into much depth about any bands other than Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Elastica and Suede. So if you're looking for info on Lush or Supergrass for example you're not really going to get a lot of information from this book. In saying that, great reading for anyone interested in britpop.
May 30, 2012 Dignan107 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
A very enjoyable read, thoroughly researched and well written. Has spurned me to go to iTunes and download some albums I never quite got round to buying first time round. Was great to reminisce. I must disagree with the authors portrayal of Blur being the most important band of that era, but thats just my opinion. Also very little mention of Paul Weller, again just my opinion. Overall a great read, purchased from a second-hand bookshop in Lyme Regis.
Colin Lowndes
May 20, 2013 Colin Lowndes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I was born in 1980 I can almost count this as an autobiographical account of my music fandom as a teenager. Fascinating insight into the explosion of grunge and the way in which us Brits said we're not having this, listen to us. Full of amazing insights and brilliant anecdotes plus fantastic quips fro Noel Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker et al this is a must read for any music fan! It makes a great companion piece to he excellent documentary film Live Forever!
Jan 24, 2014 Jason rated it it was amazing
Blur or Oasis? How about Elastica, Pulp and Suede? This is a very compelling read that deftly dissects an interesting mid-nineties music scene that quickly became overhyped and hostile. If you listened to or cared about any of the aforementioned bands, this book is for you. Driving home the weirdness of the Britpop phenom, the appendix include lists of Tony Blair's listening preferences.
Feb 10, 2015 Pete rated it really liked it
A great trip down memory lane of the good old days of the mid-1990s Cool Britania pop culture movement. This book focuses on the music of the time, "BritPop." With bands like Oasis, Blur, Supergrass, Travis, and Manic Street Preachers dominating the British charts and also breaking into the United States, this book documents the rise and fall of one of the last great music movements
Jan 27, 2008 Pedro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music-bios
I loved this book. It took me back to a time when music was still original. No one band sounded alike. Yeah Oasis ripped off older bands, but Blur and Elastica ripped off Wire (Blur wanted to be the Kinks). It does mention Tony Blair a lot, but he tried to feed off the scene's coat tails to get the young vote. He got Noel, right?
Aug 28, 2007 I rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book about the origins, rise, and crash of britpop and its key players throughout the late 80s to mid-90s. Also included is the now-familiar story of britpop's presence in Blair's failed "cool Brittania" campaign, but the numerous interviews and thorough research makes it feel fresh.
Jack Conlon
Mar 06, 2013 Jack Conlon rated it liked it
Read this as part of my research for a dissertation on Oasis, which may have knocked a star off as I had my working hat on rather than reading purely for the pleasure of it. Very entertaining and lots of funny and informative stories about many of the britpop acts.
Jun 08, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I literally couldnt put this down when I read this on holiday - a gossipy, infprmative and highly entertaining account of the rise and fall of Cool Britannia, well written and startling. Also check out the documentary 'Live Forever'.
Joey LaBartunek
Sep 06, 2012 Joey LaBartunek rated it liked it
If you want a fun history of just the bands Blur, Oasis, Elastica, Pulp, & Suede then sure, this is your book. If you want someone who marginalizes the rest of the Britpop genre, this, too is your book.

But if you wanted something a little more definitive, might want to check elsewhere.
Mar 06, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
I was hooked from the first chapter. Check out this cliff hanger from the end of chapter one: "In the midst of such mediocrity, however, lurked one group who aimed to create music of an altogether higher stripe. At its core were two architecture students named Brett Anderson Justine Frischmann."
Sep 18, 2013 Kimba rated it really liked it
My edition is "The Last Party". Great book about Brit culture in the 90s. Being a massive Oasis fan I couldn't resist the juicy Britpop rivalry with Blur.
Tim Evans
Jan 04, 2012 Tim Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the definitive account of Britpop particularly Oasis, Blur and the rise of Blair's New Labour.
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