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The England's Dreaming Tapes Paperback – August 4, 2010

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The England's Dreaming Tapes + England's Dreaming, Revised Edition: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond
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Editorial Reviews


"The England’s Dreaming Tapes takes you back to the genesis, to the very beginning of the cult, back to a time when Poly Styrene was a hippy, when Steve Diggle and John Lydon had long hair, when Siouxsie Sioux was a disco kid. This book holds the provenance of punk, and identifies, through the words of the 59 people Savage interviews, its very essence. . . .Everyone is here—all the bands, all the protagonists, all the club-runners, all journalists, shopkeepers, photographers, and the rest—and it is an absolute joy." —Dylan Jones, GQ (UK)

"A journalist on a British music weekly at the time of punk, Savage succeeded in assembling a comprehensive cast of interviewees when he was writing England’s Dreaming in the late 1980s, and their unedited voices, presented in this new context, bring the epoch alive with the force of oral history." —Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, The Financial TImes

"The England’s Dreaming Tapes is undoubtedly the best interview-based book on British punk published thus far. It’s an indispensable documentary resource that offers panoramic insight into UK punk’s most innovative and influential stage; it manages to immerse the reader in the visceral rush and the sheer creative energy of the period at the same time as it provides measured, incisive commentary on that period." —Wilson Neate, Blurt

About the Author

Jon Savage is a writer and broadcaster. His books include England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond and Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture and among the documentaries he has written are the award-winning The Brian Epstein Story and Joy Division. He lives in North Wales.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (August 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081667292X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816672929
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,213,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
I admired "England's Dreaming," the essential study of punk's birth from music critic Jon Savage, who watched. For me, it's the best account of its rapid rise and, post-Grundy interview with the Sex Pistols, fall as the small vehicle of artists, intellectuals, students, toilers at dead-end jobs if they were "lucky," and I suppose even a few bonafide working class kids turned into a media-hyped bandwagon where many leaped on, eager to cash in on by what after that TV appearance by the Pistols and pals the end of '76 transformed into a cynical case study in capitalism harnessing an "alternative" subculture. Not that some who were there, alongside Savage, resisted the lure to sign with big labels and reach wider audiences, but this conflicted among purists with the art-school, hermetic, and countercultural (often reflexively anti-hippie, but many older punks had dodgy pedigrees in other bands, in the days of flared trousers: "sub-heavy metal played badly" in Pete Shelley's phrase shows up along a love for Iggy, Bowie, and Roxy) suspicion of selling out.

I write this review the day manufactured publicity rolls out for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and I reflect on how little protest occurs compared to the punks the summer of the Silver one in '77. The final section of these conversations deals with the post-Jubilee Pistols, the major labels, the drugs, the tours, the fatigue, and it makes dispiriting if necessary reading after earlier idealism. Savage in this compendium provides perhaps a fans-only companion to his own narrative, but the tapes-- transcribed here from his interviews edited with those featured in the original "England's Dreaming"-- convey nuance and offer necessary testimony on what I find are three reiterated, key issues.
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By Cow on September 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
"The England's Dreaming Tapes will surely become the final word..." as the blurb round the back cover says. A bold claim when p. 721 states that "Joe Strummer died in 1992." Picking the nit aside, the book's a hell of a lot of fun to wade through [if not hernia-inducing].
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Suzinne Barrett VINE VOICE on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading "England's Dreaming" (see my review), I had to go for the full monty w/ this oral biography. I was swayed by the strong reviews here, but have to say I was let down somewhat. There's a couple of issues w/ this book that pose a problem. First, quite a few contributors are completely unknown to us punk fans stateside. There's always been music that doesn't translate from England to the States, so I suppose this is no surprise. But since author Jon Savage chose to include unfamiliar voices, how about a photograph at least showing us who's doing the talking? Or better yet, include a photographic representative for each and every contributor?

At the heart of this book is the back story of English punk band par excellence, The Sex Pistols. Music has never been more pungent than theirs, and the level of their audience antagonism rates right up there w/ Iggy Pop. What true punk fan would want it any other way? You hear from them all: Malcolm, at the helm, John Lydon, bassist Glen Matlock (writer of "Pretty Vacant" and "God Save the Queen"), Steve Jones, lead guitar and drummer Paul Cook. Anyone seriously into The Pistols, this here is the inside dope on the band that re-wrote rock and roll history. Go ahead and check out the oh so-fun portrayal of Steve Jones. Tangents include: Steve the sex machine and Steve the thief. Aside from being a fabulous guitarist in the Johnny Thunders' tradition, Steve Jones proudly admits to regularly nicking other bands' equipment, most notably post-Barrett Pink Floyd's! The post-Barrett distinction must be noted because while Pink Floyd, the corporate machine, was famously depised by the English punk movement (hence the famous "I hate Pink Floyd" t-shirt), Syd Barrett was actually sought out as producer by both The Sex Pistols and The Damned.
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