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England's Dreaming, Revised Edition: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond Paperback – January 18, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Revised edition (January 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312288220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312288228
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With wit and authority, freelance writer Savage pens an entertaining, exhaustive chronological history of punk rock and politics through 1980. For the first several chapters the account focuses on attention-getting impresario Malcolm McLaren, who opened a series of outrageous clothing shops including Let It Rock and Sex during the early '70s with companion Vivienne Westwood. McLaren's visits to New York City left him enamored of such iconoclastic American bands as the New York Dolls and Television, and, using the nervy, bored adolescents he met while selling punk fashion, he nurtured a group that would become the Sex Pistols. McLaren and the Pistols' shenanigans are set against a background of such seminal punk bands as Iggy and the Stooges, the Clash, the Damned and the Ramones. Savage also devotes attention to McLaren's flamboyant shop maven Jordan, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees as he chronicles the Pistols' ascent and decline. Even readers who consider this volume's length somewhat daunting will find it the definitive source of early-punk anecdotes. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Savage uses the band the Sex Pistols as the core of this definitive history of the punk rock and pop culture movements of the 1970s. Music critics consider this the book on the subject. (LJ 4/1/02)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Sid Vicious, Steve Jones, John Lydon and Paul Cook all fit in one book.
newfound32
I read this book when it first issued, then picked it up again recently, and both times thoroughly enjoyed it.
KevinO
I read this book cover to cover it was a gerat book a must for fans of old-school punk.
degenx_4_life@hotmail.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Will Errickson on January 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Punk Rock is an oft-misunderstood musical genre, usually seen as one-dimensional, inarticulate, and musically incompetent, made by angry young kids who have no regard for anyone but themselves. This all may be true, but to dismiss it as such is to miss a vital element of rock'n'roll. 'England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock and Beyond' stands as the best book on its subject, and as one of the finest books on the sociology of music in general.
Jon Savage was prescient enough to have kept his teenage journal from those long-ago days of London in the mid-to-late-70s, he is able to present us with a thorough, first-hand account to spice up his in-depth journalism. Throughout this work he quotes from it, giving us impressionistic, colorful glimpses of the time:
"30.10.76: I go see my first proper punk group. I know what it's going to be like: I've been waiting for years, and this year most of all: something to match the explosions in my head. The group are called the Clash; everybody I talk to says they're the best.... Within ten seconds I'm transfixed; within thirty, changed forever.
23.11.76...fascism here won't be like in Germany. It'll be English: ratty, mean, pinched, hand in glove with Thatcher as mother sadist over all her whimpering public schoolboys.
25.12.76: A party... in the kitchen downstairs, members of the Damned, the Clash and the Sex Pistols sit around a large table.... Halfway through the evening, the Heartbreakers arrive, and install themselves in a tight corner near the telephone, which Johnny Thunders uses to make hour-long calls to the US. Not collect.
25.12.78: Public Image Ltd, Rainbow Theatre, London. this, as expected, is mainly Rotten's show. Except now there is a new element of whining and self-justification....
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By wordnat on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started this book thinking I would learn a thing or two about the Sex Pistols, but ended up -- about 700 pages later -- an armchair expert on the cultural history of the 1970s. In other words, Jon Savage is one hell of a writer.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1996
Format: Paperback
So many photos, so many interviews, its a long book, but also
the best book you will ever read. Its open minded, so punk
fans can love it, or people who hate those U.K. punks can hate
them more. Its not just the Sex Pistols, its the Clash and Ramones
in the spotlight also. I laughed to myself while reading some quotes,
but you'll be in tears when reading about how Sid Vicious was accused
of killing the only person he had, then slowly killed him self. jon Savage
had acess to all of the archieves of the Sex Pistols, so its accurate.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Coleen on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
In 1976, I was 14. I remember the excitement of seeing some video footage of the Sex Pistols in 1977. "Rock" was boring, so I got heavily into punk - it was thrilling! This book is by far the BEST I have read about that thrilling experience - being in the USA, I missed the action in London, and this book describes it in depth, bringing all sorts of strands of history together, and THOROUGHLY capturing the era. Jon Savage's writing style makes it a JOY to read. And the in-depth punk discography (with Savage's comments)at the end of the book is something I refer to over and over. If you are interested in READING about punk rock, including its origins and social impact on the U.K., THIS is THE bible! This is IT!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By CAS on August 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
There's a big difference between a book that is *exhaustive* and one that is *exhausting*. This one manages to be both. With much difficulty, Savage walks the line between a definitive written history of punk and a messy collection of pseudo-sociological essays (of the type John Lydon warns in his own collected reminiscings of the same period). For all of Savage's excrutiating attention to detail and accuracy, he completely misses the human story behind the punk movement. Yes, punk can be described with various hyphenated terms that scream "intellectual" ("Anglo-French deconstructionism," anyone?), but punk is also the story of four teenagers who wanted to be rock stars, drank too much, and could barely hold themselves together long enough to record a single studio album. By over-intellectualizing every moment of the Sex Pistols' existence, Savage turned the band members into puppets -- not of Malcolm McLaren, but of some imaginary, radical social force that somehow pulled all of their strings. Only when the book reaches the end of the Pistols' era, culminating in the death of Nancy Spungen, does Savage begin to write convincingly about the personal interactions between John, Sid, Paul, Steve, & Malcolm and how personalities -- not various groups of European malcontents -- drove the band off the cliff.
As a compendium of facts, this book has no peer. Use this book as an encyclopedia, however, not a story book. There's a real story out there about punk, and this isn't it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By KevinO on February 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
Jon Savage is a wonderfully fluent writer of English, rock history, and language. At 43 years of age now I look back at my salad days, or what I remember of them somewhat awestruck. What is amazing is not that the revolution never really happened, but that so much has been written about what at the time seemed rather more like fun than civil disobedience. Dressing up in silly costumes, consuming too many drugs, and mashing up My Father's Place when the Ramones played etc. At the heart of it then, we really did think we could change the world, and if anyone actually did bring real change it was the Sex Pistols and their mastermind Malcolm McLaren. I'm writing 25 years to the week after Sid Vicious died in New York, and two years after Joe Strummer of the Clash passed on. These bands changed the way music could be done in a fundamental way.
This book gives a detailed chronical in first hand reports of the early days of punk in London. For those of us who used to hang out at Club Mudd in the late 70's it is a mirror to look in to see ourselves in our self destructive glory. If you're too young to remember, or you're just into rock history this book is still important. I read this book when it first issued, then picked it up again recently, and both times thoroughly enjoyed it.
Savage put a wonderful scholarly gloss on the artistic and social heritage of punk rock. Some of his analyses may be overwrought but however tenous the links, it is undeniable that punk rock combined nihilism, socialism and the spirit of revolution in a way that is somehow unique in musical history. The first disenfranchised hip-hop generation of the late '80s is somehow a fair successor to the punk movement. Maybe I'm a crusty old rocker now, but everything else seems derivative somehow.
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