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Black Vinyl, White Powder

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  174 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Charts the amazing fifty-year history of the British music business, where bad behaviour is encouraged, and where drugs are sometimes as important as talent.
Unknown Binding
Published January 1st 2001 by Ebury Press
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Mar 02, 2008 Tosh rated it really liked it
Simon Napier-Bell was the manager for Marc Bolan (before T-Rex), The Yardbirds, John's Children (never heard them, shame on you), Wham!, and Japan. He is also a hysterical wit and wrote three fantastic books about the music business. "Black Vinyl, White Powder" is not a tell-all but more of the underbelly of the record business and what makes it tick. What is so great is how Napier-Bell tells the tale - and god one wants to have dinner with him. But be careful he knows how to live.
Mar 17, 2011 Bookgirl89 rated it really liked it
This was a totally random pick for me, saw it at the library this morning and just sat down and read it, all i knew was that Simon Napier-Bell managed "The Yardbirds","London", and "John's Children". i love them so i was like what the hell and it turned out to be a cool read. It tells the true story about "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll" how they are all linked from the start. It gives fans the inside story from a person who has been there for decades. I have always been interested in the British ...more
May 06, 2008 Godzilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, 2008
A really good insight into the world of music, from a guy who's been there.

I learnt a lot about the music business, which is couple with lots of anecdotes about rock stars' behaviour.

Simon Napier-Bell comes across as a little smug and self righteous. Then again, if I'd made my fortune out of managing the "talent" he has I'd feel quite smug too!

He dwells a little too much on Boy Bands and gives them a little too much credence for my liking, but I guess he's done alright out of it whilst we've suf
I stumbled upon this book while looking up Japan and David Sylvian on Soundcloud. One thing led to another and before you know it I was getting all nostalgic on fan sites and came across a reference to this book.

I must admit I'm a bit on the fence with this rather pithy yarn. It is a fascinating glimpse into the workings of the British music industry no doubt, and I am pretty convinced that drugs slash the gay community did play a big part in the making of many a rock/pop star and superhit, but
Jul 14, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
A very interesting read about the drug industry, and how it has affected the music industry since the 50s. You might think that the correlation between the two is quite obvious, but it runs deeper than first thought.
W. Nicol
Sep 28, 2014 W. Nicol rated it liked it
I'm prepared to believe this book is as authoritative on the history of music designed for UK teenagers as it says it is. Mr Napier-Bell assumes his readers to be as well-versed in the minutiae of his industry as he is,eg from the foreword onwards he repeatedly refers to A&R departments but not until p398 does he reveal to the non-cognoscenti of his industry that the abbreviation stands for Artists and Repertoire. I cannot help wondering whether he is as aware that drug-taking might be as ob ...more
Amelia Barnard
Sep 13, 2016 Amelia Barnard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: real-life
A perfect blend of music history and personal, gossipy conversation, with a fascinating insight into how drugs have influenced musical movements. You'll learn more about the industry and be amused by the outrageous lifestyles of your favourite rockstars and popstars alike. Well worth a read.
Oct 31, 2014 Bart rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-5-star
From a guy that's been there and done it, it's a good insight.
The history of recorded music laid out by a guy who's watched it happen and spoke to those that were in it.

He pretty much nails the future of the music industry when he says it's about management of the copyrights - as Roger Faxon (at the time CEO of EMI group) said to a courtyard of EMI executives and staff in 2010, nine years after this book, "we are not a record company, we are a rights management company"...and so we are.

On the ba
Apr 30, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it
Fascinating insight into the music industry. It's a wonder any of them are still alive!
Feb 04, 2015 Rai rated it did not like it
This pompous, self-rightous twit of a man has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to genres other than cheesy pop. New Romantics changed the world and all punks are foul-mouthed, stupid racist thugs? Really? Napier-Bell needs to get his facts straight and needs his head roughly removed from his arse.

And at least four chapters of this book wasn't the history of British music, it was the history of fucking Wham! They can hardly be classed as one of the world's most influential groups.
Jun 15, 2016 Ralph rated it liked it
Not as smart as the author thinks he is
Jan 03, 2014 Trevor rated it it was amazing
Liked this from start to finish.

This is more of a potted history of pop music but it's very interesting nevertheless.

If you're looking for a warts n all book about drugs in the music industry then you'd probably be a little disappointed. There's no real shocks about who was doing what, we all knew that all along.

However, that said, it gives an interesting insight into the way the music industry works, particularly surrounding contracts etc.

Overall I found it a good read and Napier-Bell comes acr
Sep 07, 2016 Laura added it
A good insight into the music industry in general. Entertaining and well written.
Pete Kelly
An excellent history of the British music industry seen through the eyes of someone who was at the centre from the sixties to the recent past. His central premise that without the important contribution of homosexual men in the business there would be no music industry seems to stretch a point a bit far. However, if Napier Bell is to be believed buggering pretty boys was a key element to success in British pop music. Whatever the truth it is a good read.
Jul 26, 2010 Richard rated it liked it
If you know who Simon Napier Bell is, you will want to read this.

If you don't he is one of the real characters in the UK music business, and managed a few great bands, read it is you want to see the seedy and amateurish workings of the music business. Learn what is behind the press release, and what drugs fueled what songs.

I would recommend reading You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' first, which predates this and is a great read.
Aug 13, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it
Really interesting. Enjoyed it from start to finish. I guess most people who read this are into the general gossip, but for me (a lover of classic rock) it was a very insightful look into the music industry and its history throughout the second half of the 20th century - what inspired the music, how it was marketed, and how the public were wrapped up in it. I wanna read it again sometime soon actually.
Anna Heireth
Jun 30, 2009 Anna Heireth rated it it was amazing
The best music industry book out there
Dec 30, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
One of my top books of 2002.
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