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Psychedelic Furs: Beautiful Chaos Paperback – January 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Best known for their hit "Pretty in Pink," which was immortalized in the 1985 film of the same name, Britain’s Psychedelic Furs remain one of the leading lights of the post-punk and New Wave eras. Never ascending to the superstar heights of contemporaries like U2, The Cure or Duran Duran, the Furs nevertheless managed to avoid the dreaded "one-hit wonder" fate of so many bands of the late 1970s and 1980s. Instead, they inhabit that realm of college-radio respectability in which bands have more impact on future musicians than they ever did in the marketplace. Right from the introduction, author Thompson declares his intention to eschew biography in favor of an exploration of the band’s story "from without." However, it soon becomes clear that without the benefit of backstory, none of the people in and around the band can be sufficiently understood as personalities, so snippets of biography do creep in. The book traces the standard narrative arc that we’ve all come to expect from VH1’s popular Behind the Music: rise, peak, semi-precipitous fall and the inevitable past-their-prime reunion. Likewise, the rock and roll clichés abound, from an endless stream of new drummers (a la Spinal Tap) to trashed hotel rooms and drunken brawls. But the book is mostly concerned with a staid litany of personnel, producers and dates. Thompson is also attracted to needlessly flowery prose, as when he writes, "Gone were the wired and weirdly worldly mavericks who still seemed forever torn between playing a set full of hits and bits." Thompson’s skills as a researcher will please dedicated Furs fans, but this band history is unlikely to win many new converts. 8 pages b/w photos.
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From the Publisher

I can't believe there has never before been a book on one of THE greatest, THE coolest, THE most groundbreaking, THE most talented lyrics-wise, generally most mind-blowing groups of the 1980s. Well, now there is, and about time too! Put on TALK TALK TALK, crank up the volume to max, and revel in the Beautiful Chaos of The Psychedelic Furs
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Product Details

  • Series: Beautiful Chaos
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Helter Skelter Publishing (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1900924471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1900924474
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,606,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Pumpkins Rule on October 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Psychedelic Furs were the soundtrack for an entire generation of 80s kids, but who remembers them today? Dave Thompson does, and he tells their story with a style and flair that makes you wish you could turn the clock back, and enjoy the whole era all over again. Almost all the old band members are interviewed, all the records are discussed at length, and the book rockets along so fast that you suddenly realize it's 3 in the morning, and you have work tomorow. But who cares? Because it's time to listen to "Mirror Moves" again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CD on July 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is not a bad bio and it avoids the usual cash-in type of superficial rock doc that you can find littering bookstore (or online) aisles all over. The author gets some good quotes from most of the band members as well as their former manager, Les Mills, who gives some often less-than-flattering but painfully honest opinions of his former charges. Thompson gives a fair balance, however, and it doesn't come across as a sour-grapes commentary on the band.

I've read quite a bit about the Furs in interviews over the years but this book dredges up some little known information. For instance, producer Daniel Lanois was all set to produce "Midnight to Midnight" but the Furs were not ready for him, and, according to Mills, treated him badly. He finally left only to produce U2's mega hit "Joshua Tree" instead!

The book slightly falters towards the end. The post "Midnight to Midnight" album-period is hardly given an in-depth look. In particular, their last LP, "World Outside" is barely given a single page of information. The author admits this was a good album and was critically acclaimed yet why is there so little written about the LP and the tour that ensued?

Perhaps an updated edition is needed...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maryanne Debs on February 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved reading about my favorite band. Great inside info on the goings on and artistic input into the different albums. A must read for any true Furs fans!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Maitland on August 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Unless you're a Furs fan, this book is really not going to be of interest to you at all. It's incredibly dense and at times a slog to read. There's plenty of info in here I did want to know such as why the band cut Roger Morris and Duncan Kilburn loose and altered the whole lineup for the worse, and how lead singer Richard Butler suddenly became the bee's knees to all the teeny bopper girls out there post-Talk Talk Talk album.

Kudos for the Appendix which has a bibliography, US/UK release discography w/ excellent notes and covers all band members' post-Furs projects, videography and even a list of artists who have covered Furs songs. The book does need an index, though, as in the end I spent most of the post-Talk Talk Talk era just flipping through and not reading it line by line.

I don't know if it's just that bands touring or the details of studio battles bore me now or if the writing of such is just not good, but it's not exactly a page turner. I think it's more a book to have if you're into the minutiae of this band.

One thing I appreciate is I finally have learned the line that is impossible to decipher on the track "The Fall"--it's "Needles on a beach at Goa." Thank you for that alone...it only took 25+ years top figure that out.

Also, I could find no explanation of why Richard Butler was at times referred to as "Rep" Butler which is what I've always called him after reading that in Trouser Press or NME or some such.
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