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

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  539 ratings  ·  36 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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Lee Broderick
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
Santiago
El libro es una suerte de anecdotario demente de qué significó la gran falacia Albarniana del britpop, aderezado con brillantes comentarios del señor Harris, que demuestra sentido del humor y profundidad sociopolítica al mismo tiempo. El britpop nunca será justamente ponderado, puesto que su condición revivalista y festiva lo hacen poco popular para los críticos más sesudos, pero más allá de sus indudables méritos musicales (Si lo duda, pedazo de necio, escuche del tirón Parklife, Dog Man Star y...more
Chris
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...more
Ben Walton
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...more
Roberto
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
Dan
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 historical 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 senses that preceded it, on both sides of the pond; we never get lost in the details or lose sight of the narrative itself. Jo...more
Simon Harvey
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
Chris
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."

Though I'm not comparing anyone to Nazis, I'm reminded of a joke that was popular in...more
Kathleen
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
Michael
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
Meera
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
Rosemary
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.
Colin Lowndes
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!
Nathan
Sep 17, 2007 Nathan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.

NC
Dignan107
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.
Jason
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.
Pedro
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?
Johanna.burnett
This is an excellent non-fiction book about brit pop music. It reads like a novel and has some very interesting anecdotes involving the Gallagher brothers and Damon Alban and others that are entertaining. Definitely get an iTunes voucher so you can listen to music along with it. I like Suede and Pulp the best.
Joey LaBartunek
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.
Amy
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."
City of Villages
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
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.
Steve
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'.
Cassie
A fascinating read about the history of Britpop. Plus, this book has helped me discover more great music than just the albums from biggest names (Blur and Oasis).
Drew Athans
Re-read it for the umpteenth time, and it's great as always. Really captures a moment in time, especially for those of us who weren't in the UK when it happened.
Alana
Aug 21, 2007 Alana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cool fake Brittanians
my friend sam sent me this book while i was in ghana. one who knows the power of britpop knows that this was no task at all, it was a moral obligation. Mad ferrit.
Kimba
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.
Sarah
One of the better music books I've read, and I'm not even a big Britpop fan (took years for me to appreciate Blur, and I still don't particularly like Oasis)
Eric
A nice look at Britpop music, and the personalities. That said, the whole book takes a major detour when it starts talking about politics.
Tim Evans
Probably the definitive account of Britpop particularly Oasis, Blur and the rise of Blair's New Labour.
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