Spirit of Talk Talk book now available

Spirit of Talk Talk book published by Rocket 88We’re thrilled to announce that our latest limited edition music book, Spirit of Talk Talk, is now available from our Rocket 88 imprint.

This richly illustrated book celebrates the music and art of 1980s pop legends Talk Talk. It’s packed with previously unseen photographs of the notoriously camera-shy band, as well as a comprehensive catalogue of the iconic album art created for them by top illustrator James Marsh, displayed alongside the artist’s own fascinating commentary. There are also over 100 tributes to the band by artists, musicians, label owners and DJs – including Robert Plant, Ray Bradbury and Sir Peter Blake.

Add to that a new comprehensive history of the band by Chris Roberts, in-depth interviews with some of the key figures in the Talk Talk story and a complete discography and you see why this really is the ultimate Talk Talk tribute.

It’s all available as either the Classic or Deluxe Edition. Both feature a stunning cover designed by James Marsh, and the Deluxe Edition adds a beautiful slipcase plus three, signed fine art prints of James’ work. The Deluxe Edition is strictly limited to 200 copies, all signed by James. The Classic Edition is not limited, but the first 1,000 copies will also be signed by James.

Purchasers pre-ordering the book from spiritoftalktalk.com before 16 July 2012 also have the option of including their name in the book. For all the latest updates, check out the Rocket 88 Facebook page, follow Rocket 88 on Twitter, and visit the Spirit of Talk Talk website.

Spread from the Spirit of Talk Talk book

Spread from the Spirit of Talk Talk book

Spread from the Spirit of Talk Talk book

Spread from the Spirit of Talk Talk book

Spread from the Spirit of Talk Talk book

Spread from the Spirit of Talk Talk book

Lift Off with R88


Because publishers never sleep, on Christmas day last, as many people now know, we sent out an invitation to download, for free, the first title on our brand new imprint, Rocket 88 Books (‘music books with extra thrust’); ‘Rocket 88: Classic Singles‘. We have a raft of new titles intended for R88 in the coming months, among them a companion volume, ‘R88 Classic Albums’, which is as quirky as the Singles book. There’ll also be the autobiography of Glen Matlock, ‘I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol’, and a fascinating and an intriguing book about Nick Drake, titled ‘Pink Moon’ (below) by a Danish poet named Gorm Henrik Rasmussen (who is the only writer to have interviewed the tragic singer’s parents, back in the early 1970s).


Over the course of the year we’ll announce and publish a wide range of music books, some of which will be reprints of classic, ‘lost’ texts and some of which will be brand new titles. R88 books will be far-reaching, vitally critical and entertaining, covering essentially interesting areas of music and the vast history of pop culture. And later in 2012, we will launch another new publishing imprint, called Nostromo. For now that’s all we can say about it, but there’s a clue in the name as to what it’ll be like. Or not.

Our work for publishers carries on apace, and next month will see the publication in America of our latest large format, lavishly illustrated appreciation (that’s marketing speak for you!) of the great Barbra Streisand (Retrospective) who’ll be—whisper it soft—70 years old on April 24 this year. We like to think of the book as a ‘Glee-ful’ appreciation of La Streisand. Hopefully her legions of fans will agree.


Meanwhile, two of our authors are regularly blogging and both worth a read if you get the time. Peter Silverton’s ‘Psycho’ blog, http://petersilverton.blogspot.com is as eclectic as the man himself. He’s also tweeting brief and hilarious excerpts from his most recent book, Filthy English. Johnny Morgan’s Rum Do http://johnnymorgansrumdo.blogspot.com includes personal takes on music, fashion, disco, growing up (as if) and letting loose. There are some great images and hyperlinks on both blogs. There are also some questionable fashion statements…


Register for Spirit of Talk Talk book

We’ve just opened registrations for a new book celebrating the music and art of the legendary band Talk Talk.

Illustration of the Spirit of Talk Talk bookSpirit of Talk Talk will be a richly designed and beautifully illustrated volume packed with the band’s signature cover artwork. Celebrated illustrator, and Talk Talk cover artist, James Marsh has remastered and chronicled all of the iconic artwork that he produced for the band throughout their 10 year reign in the 80’s. The book will feature James’ original cover concept sketches, hand written lyrics from Mark Hollis, as well as various ephemera, posters, and related items of interest to fans. There will also be lovely unseen photos of the band from 3 sessions with photographer Richard Haughton.

Renowned rock music writer and enormous Talk Talk fan Chris Roberts is writing the main essay and there are also 80 written contributions from bands, label owners, DJs and creatives, all of whom have been inspired or influenced by the music and art of Talk Talk – including Elbow’s Guy Garvey, Depeche Mode’s Alan Wilder, Weezer’s Patrick G. Wilson, Pink Floyd’s Rick Wright,  Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, author Luke Rhinehart, presenter Mark Radcliffe, designer Wayne Hemingway and artist Sir Peter Blake to name just a few.

Find out more about the book and register your interest over at spiritoftalktalk.com.

Clash ebook is iBookstore featured title

The illustrated, ebook version of our authorized biography of the Clash is currently a featured title on Apple’s iBookstore, and the book’s also available for Amazon’s Kindle.

This new ebook edition features many of the photographs and ephemeral material found in the original hardback, which we produced back in 2008. It’s still the only book to have been created by the band themselves, and it’s now more accessible than ever.

The Clash ebook now available in iTunes, and on Kindle.

The Clash ebook now available in iTunes, and on Kindle.

USA Today do Disco

double76While author Johnny Morgan continues to blog over at  http://johnnymorgansrumdo.blogspot.com where he’s giving his view of the world as seen through disco goggles, the book Disco; The Music, The Times, The Era continues to garner great reviews. A few weeks back (we’ve just discovered) America’s only national newspaper USA Today gave a big shout out for it. As they said, the book ‘captures the era through detailed storytelling and lavish vintage photos’.

51y4oopgdpl_ss500_We’ve also just met The Society For The Preservation & Propagation of Disco, and would urge all true disco freaks to sign up at their facebook page:


008065_blondie_lgAnd finally, we’re about to go all Punk & Post Punk. An old friend in New York has just part of his truly unique and exhaustive collection of flyers, posters, handbills and memorabilia from 1976-1982 currently on show at the Steven Kasher Gallery until the end of this week (August 19, 2011). It’s the Rude & Reckless: Punk/Post-Punk Graphics exhibition. If you’re in Manhattan, get down there quick before it all disappears. Though much will reappear in book form, soon, we hope. http://www.stevenkasher.com

Johnny Morgan and his Beatles disco secret

The author of Disco; The Music; The Times; The Era (Sterling) has recently blogged about an aspect of the book which might surprise some people. The part that The Beatles played in the development of disco was perhaps small, but it was important, nonetheless. You can read about it here. The blog contains some great links to video of some fantastic girl groups of the early 1960s, including The Shirelles, Royalettes and The Marvelettes, plus footage of the Beatles covering Shirelles songs.

Morgan’s book contains a cool photograph of Ringo dancing in 1964 at London’s then exclusive Ad Lib Club, and tells the story of how the drummer inspired the creation of one of New York’s earliest discotheques, Arthur’s. You should  also check out the man who helped make The Shirelles one of the Fab Four’s fave bands and who went on to be one of disco’s most prolific and successful producers; Van Mcoy.

He’s in Disco; The Music; The Times; The Era, too (p. 212). (Do The Hustle.)

The Politics of Dance: Disco is here!

We’ve been waiting for months, and it’s finally here: Disco (the music, the times, the era) by Johnny Morgan has arrived at Essential east-central. Disco book by Johnny Morgan, ISBN 9781402780356

Because we do not usually create the covers for the books which we produce for Sterling Publishing  in New York, it’s always something of a pleasant surprise when we get the finished article. We had no idea that Art of The LP, for instance, was being sold in a red, clear plastic slipcase until we saw a copy. The cover for Disco is not quite so different to an early design we created a couple of years ago, but it does have the title word printed in raised, embossed pink neon dots over a sparkling disco ball.

Inside there are 256 large, matt-art pages filled with color, glamor, dancers, musicians, discos and divas who made the original movement (1969-1979) such a fantastic, organic scene. The book traces the evolution of the club scene from Paris immediately post-WWII through London and on to New York, where the private loft party scene at the end of the 1960s saw the birth of DJ culture, 12″ singles and the Gay Rights movement, which played a key role in establishing Disco’s dominance of the clubs and charts in the 1970s. From James Brown to Madonna, Disco profiles everyone from Isaac Hayes to the O’Jays, Allen Toussaint and The Meters to Gloria Gaynor—who wrote a foreword for the book—and Sylvester, ending with current queen of Disco, Lady Gaga.

The story includes the regrettable, semi-racist anti-disco movement which resulted in the public burning of disco records, the overkill suffered in the wake of Saturday Night Fever and the emergent club scene of the 1980s. Then there’s the top 100 disco dance tunes to argue about.

Summer’s here and the time is right; Disco is available now via Amazon, B&N and discerning bookstore everywhere.

Pages from Disco by Johnny Morgan, ISBN 9781402780356Pages showing Michael Jackson from Disco by Johnny Morgan, ISBN 9781402780356Pages showing Madonna from Disco by Johnny Morgan, ISBN 9781402780356Pages and cover Disco by Johnny Morgan, ISBN 9781402780356

New Barrett book is “a sensation”

Our Barrett book has caught the attention of the mainstream German media in the last couple of weeks, with an extensive review in one of the country’s most revered newspapers and a feature on one of its two main public television networks.

Writing in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Alexander Gorkow says “this book is a sensation […] the most amazing coffee table book in years”.

On German television channel ZDF, arts magazine show Aspekte described the book as “opulent”, and used its publication to examine Syd’s enduring influence on Pink Floyd – tying in with Roger Waters’ current German tour with The Wall. The programme was first broadcast on Friday, but if you missed it you can watch it online now.

Luzia Braun discussed the "opulent" Barrett book on Aspekte, ZDF German television

Presenter Luzia Braun discusses the "opulent" Barrett book on Aspekte, ZDF German television

Barrett review in Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung

Barrett review in Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung. The paper called it "the most amazing coffee table book in years".

Five star reviews for Barrett

It’s nearly two months since the launch of Barrett, but our definitive visual companion to the life of Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett continues to turn heads. Right now, we’re celebrating fantastic reviews in two of the UK’s biggest music monthlies: Mojo and Classic Rock.

Barrett Classic EditionWriting in Mojo, Mark Blake hails the “extraordinary achievement” of authors Russell Beecher and Will Shutes in gathering so many rare and unseen photographs, letters, and artworks by and about Syd. Blake’s particular favourites include shots of Pink Floyd performing at a UFO club night (“taken so close you can almost feel the static off Rick Wright’s satin shirt”), the letters Syd wrote to girlfriends Jenny Spires and Libby Gausden-Chisman (“playful, funny and touching, with no hint of the troubled soul Barrett would become”) and the artworks Syd created after finishing his studies. Blake concludes: “Beautifully packaged, eruditely written and full of insight (but, inevitably, tinged with sadness), Barrett feels like the ultimate work of art”.

Over in Classic Rock, the legendary Mick Farren is equally taken by the comprehensiveness of the book’s content and the “sumptuous and immaculate” quality of its finish – indeed “the whole presentation subscribes to the concept of the book as a work of art in itself”. For Farren, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. The book, suggests the standfirst above Farren’s review, risks being “almost too perfect to be useful”. But Farren’s suggestion that Syd’s “romantic legend” could be about to “eclipse the actual value of the artist’s work” is roundly rejected by fans on the Barrett book Facebook page, for whom the book – and the Idea Generation Gallery exhibition that accompanied it – have finally given Syd the recognition he deserves.

Throughout the Barrett project, our use of Facebook has allowed us to build an extraordinarily close relationship to the book’s readers, with whom we’ve shared almost the entire production process through all manner of multimedia updates. So it’s no surprise that fans have turned to the Facebook page to tell us what they think of the finished product. “Amazing”, “fantastic”, “wonderful”, “beautiful”, “superb” and “well worth the wait” are, we’re happy to say, a pretty representative sampling of the reaction.

Last but not least, we’ve also enjoyed the odd admiring glance from friends and colleagues in the book trade. Barrett got a very warm reception at last month’s London Book Fair, and the book was also on display last week at the Winter & Company Discover exhibition – a showcase of special products using the company’s marvellous cover materials (including the cloths and leathers used for Barrett).

Meanwhile, the book continues to sell well, with the limited-run Signature Edition (containing an extra book of rare images, and signed by one of Syd’s siblings) proving particularly collectable. Grab one before they’re gone at barrettbook.com.

Barrett review in Mojo magazine

Barrett reviewed in Mojo magazine

Barrett reviewed in Classic Rock magazine

Barrett reviewed in Classic Rock magazine

Barrett in the Winter & Company Discover show

Barrett in fine company at the Winter & Company Discover show

Barrett published

Barrett was published on March 18 and we had the most marvellous launch in tandem with the opening of the Syd Barrett: Arts and Letters exhibition.

We are extraordinarily grateful to Elosie Rowley, Rachel Wood and Megan Thomas at Idea Generation who worked like demons to stage the exhibition, and to Hector Proud.

Many wonderful people were able to come along and celebrate Syd’s life and work with us and to view the artworks, letters and photographs. We hope everyone enjoyed the event as much as we did.

Here are just a few snaps from the night, there are many more over on our Barrett book facebook page. Some of the friends and colleagues who were good enough to attend were: Will Shutes, Russell Beecher, Rosemary Breen, Jenny Spires, Viv Brans, Libby Gausden-Chisman, Adam Ritchie, Anthony Stern, Steve Wilkins, Irene Winsby, Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon, Warren Dosanjh, Glenn Povey, Storm Thorgerson, Hoppy, Barry Miles, Duggie Fields, Jeff Dexter, Iggy, Noel Fielding, Graham Coxon and Captain Sensible – and many more! Can you spot any of them in the images?

Thanks to all who made it such a special evening.