Saturday, 21 May 2011

"The Music Goes Round And Round"

The post about the Louis Barfe book made we relook at the other books I have on the history of the record industry.  I would recommend the following for anyone who is interested in the whole story from Edison onwards.  "Where Have All The Good Times Gone?" is one of the few that, as it is more recently written (2004) can bring you right up to date.  The following are books covering the story from the late 1800s through to the 1970s - so pre CD, pre digital, Napster, Apple etc.

The widely acknowledged master is Roland Gelatt's "The Fabulous Phonograph 1877-1977" which was first published in 1954 and updated in a second edition in 1977.   This is the starting point I would recommend as it lays out the problems and events of a technology based business intertwining with entertainment for the first time (pre film, TV etc).  The phonograph was the first invention of Edison to get him noticed, although he would go on to contribute to the development of the commercial use of electricity, invent the light bulb, the carbon microphone, the Kinetogaph and thousand others.  A history well written and less about the music more about the industry.

"Putting The Record Straight" by John Culshaw pubished in 1981 is a personal history of Culshaw's career with British Decca as a musical director.  As you would expect given his direct relationship with the artists this is a more musical story and certainly helped me build on my knowledge.

"On And Off The Record" by Elizabeth Schwartkopf is her memoir of Walter Legge, the EMI producer of some of the major classical recordings of his time.  Scwartzkopf was his wife and she combined Legge's own writings together with her own memories of her husband's career.  This would be more interesting to fans of classical music as it gives an insight into the prima donnas of the day, the challenges faced with recording large orchestras performing long compositions without the recording and editing technologies available today.

"The Music Goes Round And Round" is a collection of writing by Raymond Horricks and Peter Gammond covering many aspects of the business including the role of producer; the engineer;  the effects of the pop explosion of the 50s and 60s; Marketing and The Media.  Again this, after the first two mentioned here, would provide anyone with an understanding of the development of this, let's face it, fairly young industry.

All of these are available although probably second hand - the Gelatt in it's second edition can go for up to £50 and the Culshaw more, so shop around.

Apologies for the scans here - i'll try and get better at this.

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