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Publisher's Summary

Allan Jones launched Uncut magazine in 1997 and for 15 years wrote a popular monthly column called Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before, based on his experiences as a music journalist in the 70s and 80s, a gilded time for the music press.

By turns hilarious, cautionary, poignant and powerful, the Stop Me...stories collected here include encounters with some of rock's most iconic stars, including David Bowie, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Smiths, R.E.M. and Pearl Jam. From backstage brawls and drug blow-outs, to riots, superstar punch-ups, hotel room confessionals and tour bus lunacy, these are stories from the madness of a music scene now long gone.

Allan Jones is an award-winning British music journalist and editor. In 1974, he applied for a job on the UK's best-selling music paper as a junior reporter, signing off his application with 'Melody Maker needs a bullet up the arse. I'm the gun, pull the trigger'. He was editor of Melody Maker from 1984 to 1997 and until 2014 editor of music and film monthly Uncut.

©2017 Allan Jones (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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  • Overall
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  • Jim
  • 09-09-17

Funny, touching and informative

Allan Jones operated at the top of music journalism business from soon after he was hired by the New Musical Express in the mid-1970's. By pure coincidence he was also friendly with the Clash's Joe Strummer from the early part of the decade when Strummer was a grave digger in South Wales and Jones was at art school there. This was the period when jouralists could be friendly with rock stars and travel as part of a band's tour party and not only witness but also participate in the sex'n'drugs'n'rock'n'roll lifestyle.

Written as a sequence of shortish stories the book starts at the time when Lemmy Kilminster was famous as the bassist in Hawkwind up to the point when new wave artists like Squeeze and Elvis Costelloe were cracking America and Def Leppard began to popularise big hair, tight jeans and white trainers. Jones really had a front row seat for all of this so we get to hear for instance what it's like to meet Lemmy and get on with him well enough to go on a speed fuelled bender. Not everyone was as clubbable as Lemmy however so we suffer with the author as he's beaten to a pulp by Black Sabbath's Toni Iommi and deal with the extraordinarily charmless Elvis Costelloe. And while it's no suprise to hear another anecdote confirming that Van Morrison is a rude git Jones' capacity for getting along with people means we get to hear what it's like to get along with Lou Reed well enough to be invited to hang out with him.

As the book progresses some artists crop up repeatedly as Jones' work intersects with their rising or falling careers. His writing about the Clash is really interesting on that front as he was friendly with Strummer from the days when he was scratching around to find venues that would allow his early bands to play through the period when he reinvented himself as a punk and the singer of the Clash and on to the point where the band were huge and a view was growing that Strummer was a slightly ridiculous political poser. Glasgow's finest, Alex Harvey, also makes a welcome appearance as he takes Jones on a guided tour of Glasgow before it reinvented itself as a city of culture.

The stories alone would be worth four stars and honourable mention should be given to the narrator who manages a range of pretty convncing impersonations of everyone from Lemmy and Lou Reed to Jonny Rotten and Mike Oldfield. What elevated it to five stars for me was the range of tones; real sadness at the fate of Gene Clark for instance; whose huge talent was largely ignored after he left the Byrds end eventually succumbed to a lifetime of substance abuse. Also the slightly Zelig like quality that sees Jones on the spot for incidents like Ozzy Osbourne's infamous visit to the Alamo and the Sex Pistols' legendary silver jubliee boat cruise. And finally a surprisingly affecting final chapter which I won't spoil.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian
  • 05-02-18

Cliched, prejudiced, limited on real music

Disappointing, full of self glorifying stories with limited musical analysis, just cliched attacks on the usual suspects (.Sting, Lou Reed, Oldfield etc). Little appreciation of the music involved. Thumbs up to Tony Iommi, who in one story beats up this smug, self opinionated writer .... he’s not the only one tempted, I’m sure. What’s annoying is that Jones had such easy access to these stars, yet does so little of meaning with it. Listen to Danny Baker, Stuart Maconie, or David Hepworth instead...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr Aly Smith
  • 08-16-18

A bit dull

The book consists of 70 odd rather dull stories of the author meeting various rock and pop stars from the mid 70s to 1999s. I found a lot of chapters too hard to listen to and the stories were covering the same old ground and towards the end of the book I was skipping chapters.

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  • Vicuña
  • 07-12-18

Trip down memory lane

Really enjoyed this. Numerous anecdotes from a respected music journo about his meetings and interviews with many famous names. Some Farr better than others. I was pleased to see that Gordon sumner was egocentric and affected even in his early Police days. Some fascinating snippets. Well read with interesting accents. Enjoyed this.

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  • Andrew Sutcliffe
  • 07-07-18

Brilliant

Fantastic stories brilliantly told by the narrator. I come back to this book again and again. Laugh out loud funny.

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  • Steven Bowen
  • 06-20-18

What a rush

Story by a local boy, with very extraordinary life. A great store told with by a great performance.

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  • Mike Milton
  • 04-26-18

Great audiobook performance

The tales of excess are interesting enough but the narrator gets into each character with a facsimile of the star in question not an impersonation which is akin to reading it in your own head.

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  • Mark
  • 01-08-18

Laser Sharp Vinyl Vignettes

This is an entertaining collection of interviews with rock stars from Allan Jones' impressive journalistic back catalogue. There is plenty of the usual narcissistic claptrap from self-obsessed, drunken, pretentious rockers with bloated egos but Jones is having none of it and he nails his subjects mercilessly to the page. To be fair, some of his subjects are surprisingly sane given their mad lives but the best fun is to be had with those Jones takes the piss out of. I found this to be a great listen in the car and would recommend it to anyone who loves music and grew up in the era. Now that I look back it was also a golden era of rock journalism.

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  • Colin
  • 11-24-17

A must for any music lover

As a sallow youth of 14, I discovered my older brother's copy of Melody Maker and was instantly hooked. At last, a publication that talked about the only thing I really cared about at that age; music.

Our story starts when a 21yr old Alan Jones blags his way past an interview with the paper to become it's newest junior features writer having, it must be noted, zero experience in such a role. But there's one thing Alan can do very well, and that's drink; and so in no time he finds himself the confidant and best buddy to any number of the rock stars who strode the earth from the early 70s through to the late 90s

But this was no easy ride, not one bit of it; negotiating the fragile ego of a rock star was a 24hr-a-day job, and you always had to be on your guard, in case you caused some offence and were banished, such punishment ranging from sullen silences (Van Morrison) to a full-on violent assault in which teeth were lost (Tony Iommi).

The book is very well structured, with each chapter dealing with a specific meeting or event, and Jones painting a world filled with petulant prima donnas, filled with their own importance and surrounded by people whose soul job was to pander to every whim. (Bowie is the only one who comes across as a decent person)

A word must be said about the narration by Matt Bates, which is excellent. He has a gift for giving an inflection of a star's voice without going into an out-and-out impersonation. (Although his Sting voice was eerily accurate.)

This book is amazing, and a wonderful reminder (should we need it) that rational, sane people have no place in the music industry.

Fascinating stuff...

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  • Chris
  • 09-12-17

Here is why you don't meet your heroes

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes I would, but I was in and around the scene anyway so I got all the anecdotes. I was a roadie for the Pretenders and was on the fairground ride and got hammered.!!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lou Reed was a knob, Alex Harvey was scary, Tony Iommi would be Jeremy Kyle fodder today. Jerry Dammers a saint - David Bowie is just him..Van Morrison strange..et al..I loved them all in this book.

What does Matt Bates bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Well narrated and never lost me for a second

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Pubs open yet

Any additional comments?

Just a great book (listen)...go get it