Garth Cartwright: Going For A Song: A Chronicle of the UK Record Shop

Going For A Song: A Chronicle of the UK Record Shop

Garth Cartwright

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  • Release Date 22 March 2018
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The Flood Gallery

The in-depth history of the rise, fall and rise of the independent record shop in the UK.

With foreword by Stewart Lee

Travelling the length and breadth of the UK, Garth Cartwright conducted 100+ interviews with many record shop pioneers, noted musicians and record collectors. Utilising comprehensive research, Cartwright traces record retail history across a century of unprecedented social, cultural and political change.

From market traders selling music hall 78s via HMV's gloved classical emporium through Soho's post-WW2 jazz, blues and folk scene to mods hungry for imported ska and soul 45s, Going For A Song documents how popular music and youth fashions took shape around influential record shops. Brian Epstein, the genius behind Liverpool's NEMS shops, utilises his trade contacts to launch The Beatles. Psychedelia's golden dawn is overseen at Mayfair's One Stop (Jimi Hendrix's being a regular) while A Clockwork Orange is filmed in the Chelsea Drug Store. The '70’s finds Richard Branson’s Virgin shops leading a revolution in record retail. Rough Trade and Small Wonder launch punk record labels from within their respective shops. Disco and reggae, techno and dubstep, are all shaped by visionary record shops. Then, at the dawn of this century, hundreds of record shops crash. From these ruins rise independent shops surfing the vinyl revival and Record Store Day.

Never before published research documents how a young Bob Dylan records in the basement of a Soho shop while David Bowie, Dusty Springfield, Elton John, Danny Baker and Pete Burns all first entered the music industry via working in record shops. Here friendships were forged, knowledge shared, bands formed and history shaped.

Going For A Song offers a chronology of the UK's 20th Century via record retail. Anecdotal, witty and extremely informative, this engaging book will resonate with readers who enjoy popular music and history.

Garth Cartwright is an award-winning journalist and author of several books. A regular contributor to Radio 4 and the World Service, he writes for The Guardian, The FT, The Sunday Times, Record Collector and many international publications. Garth lives in London.