From the Publisher
"[Thompson] knows his stuff and can organize and write well about it. Libraries that pride themselves on well-rounded music and pop culture collections should purchase his work." —Library Journal
"Excellent anecdotal pop-music history." —Booklist
"Fans of the genre will relish this chronicle from an insider's perspective." Kirkus Reviews
"Thompson's a bit of a wiz, it must be said . . . Truly authoritative . . . compelling reading . . . Extraordinarily well researched, insightful and very funny . . . A dazzling accomplishment . . . Thompson is unafraid to have a lively opinion on (and a deep love for) the music he covers. And boy, there is an awful lot of it." Record Collector
"Of everything I've read on punk rock, London's Burning paints the truest portrait of the time." Cherry Vanilla
"He concocts colorful, driving portraits of the artists and we learn a lot from their struggles and triumphs as told by Thompson." Paper
"Thompson, the 'king of rock book writing,' manages like a good director to efficiently shuffle characters, giving his book[s] a sense of cohesion and refreshing twists and turns. Always a good read." Hard Radio
"A fond collection of memories from the early days of punk." Slug Magazine
Of everything I've read on punk rock, London's Burning paints the truest portrait of the time.
The social, political, economical, and musical elements that coalesced to shape the genre of punk have been well documented; however, few books tell the beginning from the perspective of a 17-year-old in the midst of a musical revolution. Thompson was that kid, working in a record store in London in the late 1970s and witnessing the humble start of punk rock. Although his narrative is personal, his emphasis throughout is on musicians who influenced and launched the DIY movement, both well-known acts (e.g., Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, the Damned) and lesser-known ones (e.g., the Adverts, the Maniacs, and Roogalator). One of rock music's most prolific writers, Thompson has authored more than 100 books over the last 25 years. This most recent effort reminds us of what punk music looked like before it became a career and a topic in college classrooms. Recommended for all public libraries; this will particularly appeal to punk enthusiasts, musicians, and every member of the punk generation.
Animated recollections of punk rock's meteoric ascension in 1970s London..In 1976, Thompson (I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto, 2008, etc.) was a teenager on the brink of finishing boarding school who spent most of his free time attending small rock shows and scouring local record shops for new singles. That May, American Patti Smith's incendiary deconstruction of Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" on the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test, followed by live performances in London, ignited the British punk movement, which the author fervently followed. Thompson's history finds its backbone in the legendary antics of the Sex Pistols, whose arc of success corresponds loosely to the 16 months covered here. A large supporting cast surrounds the central story, notably the Pistol's shrewd manager, Malcolm McLaren, and the band's stiffest competition, the Damned. The author, who attended a seemingly endless number of shows during this period, lovingly recounts the history, music and performances of many acts, including the Stranglers, the Adverts, the Maniacs, Rikki and the Last Days of Earth and many more. While punk enthusiasts may note a few omissions�there's relatively little on the Clash, almost nothing on Wire�this is a personal history, and the highlighted acts are specific to Thompson's life and tastes. Throughout the narrative, he deftly interweaves his own experiences, from life on the dole to violent race riots, to ground readers in the depressed cultural soil from which punk's rank flowers grew. Reggae and American punk also make appearances via rich descriptions of concerts by the Ramones and Iggy Pop, as well as a frightening narrative of the Mighty Diamonds' failure at England'sfamed Reading festival..The wealth of detail becomes somewhat tiresome, but fans of the genre will relish this chronicle from an insider's perspective.