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"How Soon Is Now? The Madmen & Mavericks Who Made Independent Music" by Richard King

How Soon Is Now? The Madmen & Mavericks Who Made Independent Music (1975-2005) - Richard King

If you have any interest in British independent music 1975-2005 (with an emphasis on the 1980s); you feel an affinity with the independent labels of that era (Rough Trade, Factory, Postcard, 4AD etc.); and/or you enjoy well researched and readable books about popular music, then I would say you will find much to enjoy in Richard King's "How Soon Is Now? The Madmen & Mavericks Who Made Independent Music". 

It is also a great companion book to Simon Reynolds' "Rip It Up and Start Again", and it is equally entertaining and informative.

As with all good books about music, it inspired me to go away and explore or revisit some of the key tracks from the era. For example, I'd completely forgotten about Colourbox despite loving their music when it was released - thirty years on they still sound wonderful. I was also very interested to read how a massive hit single effectively stopped their career in its tracks.

Looking back from the detached perspective of 2013, the indie labels of the 1980s, and the personalities that were associated with them, seem even more magical and remarkable. It was a remarkable era for popular music and this book is a compelling reminder of a glorious and important musical era. The book concludes in 2005 when, in a reverse of the rest of the music industry, many modern independent labels are prospering relative to the major labels. That said, if this book proves one thing, it's that it is very difficult to run a small and successful independent record label - and always has been.